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America's Seed Fund Update for April 2021

Post Date:
April 16, 2021
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April 2021

Don't Miss...
Register for the 2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference (April 26-30)
This year’s free, virtual Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations conference takes place April 26-30. Participants will learn how to apply for the over $1.2 billion of seed funding to support early-stage biomedical research and grow their small business. If you are new to the NIH small business (SBIR/STTR) programs, are a diverse life science entrepreneur or biomed researcher looking for seed funding, or are a stakeholder in a minority-owned or woman-owned small business – please plan to join. See the full agenda and register.
NIH Applicant Assistance Program
The NIH Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) is aimed at helping small businesses apply for Phase I SBIR/STTR funding. Selected small businesses can participate in the program at no cost. Through AAP, companies can receive needs assessment/small business mentoring; Phase I application preparation support; and application review. The application portal opens April 26. Register for the webinar held on May 4, 12:30 – 2 p.m. ET.
Join the Missile Defense Agency SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit (April 28-29)
The SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit is a 2-day event designed to connect Large and Small Businesses, Universities and Research Institutions to discuss MDA’s Science and Technology areas of interest and how it relates to MDA’s Strategic Vision. In addition to technical sessions, attendees will have the ability to interact with MDA senior leadership and technical experts in one-on-one sessions. See the full agenda and register.
President’s Discretionary Funding Request Includes Call to Strengthen the Innovation Ecosystem
President Biden’s discretionary funding request for Fiscal Year 2022 includes proposals to provide funding to ensure entrepreneurs have access to the tools, networks, and services they need to bring cutting edge innovation to the market, and increase SBA’s capacity to scale the SBIR/STTR programs. The proposed funding would enable SBA to expand the geographic and demographic reach of the innovation programs, enhance outreach and training efforts, support the development of innovation hubs across the Nation, and help ensure America’s small businesses stay at the cutting edge of innovation.
World IP Day Celebrates Small Businesses Taking Big Ideas to Market
Celebrate how intellectual property rights encourage innovation and creativity with USPTO this April 26 with a free event highlighting resources available to assist with IP needs.  

SBIR News & Updates
NIH Phase II Awardees Eligible for TABA Needs Assessment
NIH’s comprehensive Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Program can help small businesses identify and address their most pressing product development needs. The TABA Program supports companies developing all types of technologies, e.g., clinical products such as devices, drugs, biologics, and therapeutics, as well as software, educational, and multi-media behavioral science products. NIH has opened eligibility for a Needs Assessment report to companies with an active Phase II SBIR/STTR grant or contract. Companies that have held an active Phase I SBIR/STTR grant or contract within the past two years remain eligible to receive a report. The report will also suggest the highest priority steps you can take to improve the commercial potential of your product or service. Learn more here.
NOAA Awards $8 Million in Grants
NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program recently awarded approximately $8 million in grants to 20 Phase II small business applicants. Information on the funded projects, including abstracts of successful proposals and comments on anticipated results, can be found here. Grant research topic areas included Aquaculture, Recreational and Commercial Fisheries, Weather Service Improvement and Evolution, Flood Inundation, Next-Generation Observation and Modelling Systems, and Next-Generation NOAA Platforms. Visit the SBIR Program’s website for more information about current and upcoming SBIR opportunities at NOAA.
NASA Provides $45M Boost to US Small Businesses
Small businesses are vital to NASA’s mission, helping expand humanity’s presence in space and improve life on Earth. NASA announced the selection of 365 U.S. small business proposals for initial funding from the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, a total investment of more than $45 million.
EPA Announces Nearly $2.5 Million in Funding to Small Businesses to Develop Environmental Technologies
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $2,499,229 in awards to 24 U.S. small businesses to develop innovative technologies that help support EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. Proposals include methods to reduce virus transmission on frequently touched surfaces; a mobile, rapid freeze-drying system to prevent food waste; and a system to produce recycled plastic lumber products from locally collected plastic ocean waste.
Small business develops innovative wastewater treatment system with SBIR help dTEC Systems LLC, an EPA SBIR small business out of Washington, recently completed their Phase II EPA SBIR project. dTEC’s SBIR work was focused on reducing nutrient pollution in freshwater bodies such as streams, rivers and lakes. Excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in water can cause environmental, human health and economic impacts such as the growth of harmful algal blooms. dTEC used EPA SBIR funding to develop an innovative wastewater treatment system to maximize phosphorus and nitrogen removal that is both cost-effective and energy efficient. EPA SBIR funding was instrumental for dTEC to optimize the process and allowed them to demonstrate the technology at full-scale at Peshastin and Cashmere Wastewater Treatment Plants in Washington. dTEC is now focused on expanding to other municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities. 
Recently Opened SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities

Events & Education
Tech Warrior Tactical OPS Event geared toward tactical technologies with possible military applications, including technologies that could benefit the warfighter | April 19-23 | Register
ASBTDC Intro to the SBIR/STTR Program | April 21, 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. | Register
NASA HBCU/MSI Spring Technology Infusion Virtual Road Tour provides an open platform for HBCU and MSI representatives to learn about NASA’s Minority Serving Institutions Sustainability Initiative, Agency acquisition opportunities, product service lines and Vendor Database, SBIR/STTR opportunities, as well as the agency’s science research opportunities, grants, fellowships and contracts. | April 21 | Register
2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference: Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations | April 26-30 |Register
Missile Defense Agency – SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit | April 28-29 | Register
NIH Applicant Assistance Program Outreach Webinar | May 4, 12:30 – 2 p.m. ET | Register
Look for upcoming events at

R&D Spotlight
USPTO Accepting Applications for special Patents for Humanity COVID-19 Category
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched a special category of its Patents for Humanity Program for inventions that address the COVID-19 pandemic. This new award category will provide business incentives for patent applicants, holders, and licensees whose inventions track, prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19.
Small Businesses Encouraged to Comment on Proposed Rule
On Jan. 29, 2021, the Department of Commerce published an interim final rulemaking on the implementation of Executive Order 13873, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.” The rule would allow the Secretary of Commerce to prohibit certain information and communications technology and services transactions to address national security threats. The interim final rule became effective on March 22, 2021. Commerce sought to implement a licensing process by May 19, 2021, for any entities, including small businesses, seeking pre-approval. However, Commerce seeks additional public input on several aspects of a potential voluntary licensing or pre-clearance process. Written comments on the proposed rule are due April 28, 2021. Read the notice and submit comments.
Higher Ed R&D activity in states, cities, and rural areas
The R&D performed at colleges and universities is an important driver for the innovation economy — generating the knowledge that catalyzes innovative new technologies developed by high-growth startups, training STEM talent, and supporting economic development. Using data updated for 2019 from the National Science Foundation, several recent SSTI analyses explore higher education R&D (HERD) trends, examining the activity of HERD personnel in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, and finding that the economies of smaller metropolitan areas are more reliant on HERD spending than larger metros.

Highlights for Ecosystem Builders
SBA Funding Opportunities for Ecosystem Builders

  • Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. Due June 3.
    • Funding to organizations to execute state/regional programs that increase the number of SBIR/STTR proposals from women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and small businesses in underrepresented areas - typically rural states. Informational webinar on April 22. 
  • Regional Innovation Clusters. Due May 6.
    • Public-private partnerships that align federal resources – including SBA’s entrepreneurial development network, lending and investing partners, business development programs and SBIR/STTR – with existing state and local resources, regional strengths, and economic growth opportunities in communities both within the region and beyond.
  • Community Navigator Pilot Program. Projected release for Notice of Funding Opportunity by April 30.
    • Strengthening outreach to underserved businesses through $100 million investment to establish Community Navigator Programs for individuals with disabilities and/or in minority, immigrant, rural, and other underserved communities across the country.

Watch for information about the next Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, expected in May!
Innovation and new opportunity front and center in the American Jobs Plan
The recently-released American Jobs Plan provides goals, highlights and proposals, covering research and development, clean energy and technology-based economic development. Read more about key aspects included in the plan in SSTI’s story.
FAST reauthorization bill introduced in the Senate
A bipartisan group of Senators, led by bill sponsor Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, reintroduced the FAST FIX Act, which would reauthorize the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership  program. The legislation would help states with low numbers of SBIR/STTR awards compete in the program and would require a lower level of matching funds from awardees in these states. Read the bill's full text..
Check out more resources for SBIR Support Organizations at

Local Assistance - Meet FAST
The Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program funded 24 organizations this year, building the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through outreach, technical assistance, and financial support. Meet two of the FAST awardees:
Minnesota Technology Association runs the Minnesota SBIR/STTR Accelerator to assist companies in accessing SBIR funding. Learn more.
Innovate Mississippi, with support from the University of Southern Mississippi, provides outreach, technical assistance and financial support services to potential SBIR/STTR companies. Learn more.
Find local assistance near you at:

SBIR Success - Tibbetts Awardees Winning for the Environment
ASAT, Inc.: Developing the Integrated Stove, Achieving Sustainable Energy Use
ASAT, Inc., is a 2020 Tibbetts Award Winner and has utilized both Phase I and Phase II awards in the development of its cook stoves, which guarantee close to zero emission biomass residential heating, resulting in protected health and sustainable energy use. SBIR funding awarded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed ASAT to complete the R&D behind the stove as well as succeed in securing international sales. Read ASAT’s story.
More Tibbetts Awardees Winning with Environmental Products
SBIR funding has been instrumental in a number of companies as they moved forward with their product development. As we celebrate Earth Day this April 22, we bring you a few of the 2020 Tibbetts awardees whose efforts have an environmental component:

  • 2B Technologies has been finding ways to make high quality and user-friendly air quality monitoring systems since 2000.
  • Porifera’s SBIR-funded proprietary membrane reduces the environmental impact of food and beverage distribution and helps turn wastewater into clean water for reuse in any industry.
  • Referentia’s technology is helping to protect the national power grid, including situational awareness of renewable energy generation.
  • Ubiquitous Energy credits the NSF SBIR program in helping to advance the state of its technology as it approaches full-scale commercialization of its transparent solar technology.

Get inspired by more SBIR company stories at and learn about all the 2020 Tibbetts Award winners at

SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities
Find more funding opportunities and specific topic areas at These are listed alphabetically by agency.
Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)
SBIR Phase II. Due 5/3/2021.
Dept. of Commerce (DOC)
National Institute of Standards and Technology FY2021 Phase II.  Due 6/7/2021.
Dept. of Defense (DoD) All open topics
SBIR 21.2/ STTR 21.B  pre-release scheduled for 4/21/2021
Army 2021.4

DARPA BAA HR001121S0007. Topics Open. Due 4/20/2021.

  • Prototype Optical Frequency Standard
  • Semantic Model, Annotation and Reasoning Technologies (SMART)
  • Smart Model Repository (SMR)
  • Extreme Photon Imaging Capability-Long Wave Infrared (EPIC-LWIR)
  • Portable Personal Air Mobility System.

Space Development Agency (SDA) SBIR/STTR BAA HQ085021S0001

  • SBIR or STTR: Target Recognition and Acquisition in Complex Environments (TRACE). Due 4/27/2021.

Dept. of Energy (DOE)
FY2021 Phase II Release 2. Applications due 4/20/2021.
Reducing Emissions of Methane Every Day of the Year SBIR/STTR (REMEDY) Methane Emissions Abatement Program.  Concept papers are due 5/21/2021.
Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Begin planning now for the next standard due date on September 5 – Learn about the NIH Applicant Assistance Program – portal opens 4/26/21 and closes 5/20/21
New targeted funding announcements:

Additional targeted funding opportunities from HHS on specific topics with various upcoming due dates can be found here.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
NSF SBIR and STTR Phase I. Project Pitches are always accepted. Remaining submission window close dates: 6/3/2021, 9/2/2021, 12/2/2021

About America's Seed Fund Update
Our goal is to provide a range of information that will be valuable to the SBIR/STTR programs’ various stakeholders, and future issues will include features on program data, impacts and policies, and more. If you have suggestions, let us know at
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About SBA Office of Innovation and Technology
The U.S. Small Business Administration serves as the coordinating agency for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs - also known as America's Seed Fund. SBA also manages the related Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program and Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Learn more at 

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