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America's Seed Fund Update for July 2021

Post Date:
July 15, 2021
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July 2021

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National SBIR Week starts Monday July 19! Connect with Funding Agencies!

Join SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman for welcome remarks on July 19. The 2021 National SBIR Week is a virtual outreach effort connecting entrepreneurs working on advanced technologies and the organizations that support them to the country’s largest source of early stage funding – the SBIR/STTR programs. Also known as America’s Seed Fund, the SBIR/STTR programs provide over $4 billion in funding to small businesses each year in a wide variety of technology areas.

National SBIR Week will provide attendees with an opportunity to hear directly from the participating federal agency program managers that administer over 7,000 new awards annually and to meet virtually one-on-one with program decision makers. If you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, researcher, or small technology firm, don’t miss this opportunity! Register for the free, online event.

Hear about Partnerships at the MBDA InVision Tour on July 21

SBIR Week will feature complementary events from organizations involved in supporting entrepreneurs across the country including the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC). The MBDA InVision Tour empowers minority entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to the marketplace. Tune in Wednesday July 21 to catch a variety of speakers and presentations dedicated to spearheading inclusive innovation. Register for the InVision Tour!

Dept of Energy Offers SBIR/STTR Phase I Assistance for First-Time Applicants

The DOE offers a free Phase 0 application assistance program to a limited number of first-time DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I applicants. The Phase 0 program was created to increase participation by Women-owned and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged small businesses, and small businesses from under-represented states. Watch the informational webinar or take this online survey to determine your Phase 0 eligibility. Admittance is first-come-first-serve for qualified applicants.

Universities are Key Partners in Many SBIR Successes

On June 23, GO Lab, Inc. president Joshua Henry testified before the House Committee on Small Business about the value of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Dr. Henry’s comments were strongly in favor of the program, which enabled his company to work with the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center to improve the cost and performance of GO Lab’s wood fiber insulation product. Far from being unique, corporate-university partnerships around intellectual property (IP), talent and funding are important elements of many SBIR success stories. Read about successful partnerships and resources for small business to engage with universities.

SBIR News & Updates

NASA Announces Agreement to Increase Partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions

NASA’s SBIR/ STTR program signed a cooperative agreement with the MSI STEM Research and Development Consortium (MSRDC) to develop a virtual collaboration platform to encourage research partnerships between MSIs and small businesses. This platform is intended to increase participation of Minority-Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in the STTR program. More information is available here.

Can Your SBIR/STTR Technology Support Homeland Security?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program released Other Agency Technology Solutions (OATS) Requests for Information (RFIs):

Join DHS on July 20, 2021, from 12:30 – 1:00 p.m. ET for a Deconstructing SBIR webinar to hear from three DHS Component representatives about the needs in the RFI topic areas for which information is being sought. OATS RFI submissions must leverage previous SBIR or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I, Phase II or Phase III awards from a Federal Agency. Register for the webinar.

NOAA Launches @NOAAinnovate on Twitter

Earlier this month, NOAA's Technology Partnerships Office unveiled their new Twitter account, which features updates about NOAA small business innovation research, public-private partnerships, and technology transfer. Follow NOAA TPO @NOAAinnovate to stay updated on NOAA’s research-to-commercialization activities.

NOAA SBIR Program employee selected to receive a Women of Color in STEM award

NOAA's Commercialization Specialist, Tiffany House, was selected to receive a Women of Color Technology Rising Star award for 2021. This award recognizes early- and mid-career professionals who are helping to shape technology for the future. Tiffany has worked hard to make the SBIR community more diverse and inclusive, and she will be recognized at the virtual Women of Color STEM Conference this October. Read more here.

House Committee Holds Hearing on SBA’s Innovation Initiatives

The House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access held a hearing on July 14 titled “Innovation as a Catalyst for New Jobs: SBA’s Innovation Initiatives.” The witness panel for this hearing will include E. LaVerne Epp, Executive Chair, KU Innovation Park; Benjamin Robert Johnson, Chairman, Innovation Advocacy Council; Dr. Gabriel R. Burks, Vice President and Head of Research and Development, FrostDefense Envirotech Inc.; and Jeffrey Maguire, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Clearly Clean Products, LLC. Read testimony or watch the recorded hearing.  

GAO Study Finds Agencies Implementing SBA Requirements for Preventing Fraud

The 11 agencies participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs largely implemented the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 10 minimum requirements for preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in the programs. Most agencies fully implemented at least eight of the 10 requirements and partially implemented the others; one agency, NASA, fully implemented all 10. The study also contains a list of recommendations for those agencies that did not fully implement all 10 of the minimum requirements. 

Recently Opened SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities

Dept. of Energy (DOE)

FY2022 SBIR/STTR – Phase I Release 1

Support for first-time applicants through the Phase 0 Assistance Program – check your eligibility.

Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Dept. of Defense (DoD)

Army SBIR 2021.4

  • A214-038 Logistics Enterprise Enhancement Platform (LEEP). Closes 7/21/2021.
  • A214-039 Holistic Wind Correction for Aviation Targeting. Closes 8/24/2021.


  • HR01121S00007-17 The Biological Materials and Strategic Formulations Challenge Program. Closes 7/20/2021.
  • HR01121S00007-18 Thermal Shock Tolerant Aperture. Closes 8/10/2021.
  • HR01121S00007-19 Context Management for Effective Transitions (COMET). Closes 8/10/2021.

Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) intends to release its 2021 – 2022 SBIR Phase I solicitation in late-July or early August with a close date approximately 2 months later.

Events & Education

2021 National SBIR Week | July 19 – July 23 | More information and registration

Check out the community events leading up to and during National SBIR Week! Below are a few highlights:

MBDA InVision Tour: Technology Transfer & Small Business Innovation Research #SBIRWeek | July 21 1 p.m. ET | Hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) | Register today!

Project Enginuity National SBIR Accelerator applications open July 19, close August 8. Designed to accelerate and empower Black, Latinx and women innovators, Project Enginuity seeks to enroll 60 participants from across the country for a one-week virtual cohort in Fall 2021.

Look for upcoming events at

R&D Spotlight

Provide Feedback on Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Climate Technology by July 30

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is looking for input on enabling an inclusive and just entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem in climate and energy technologies. DOE seeks to understand barriers and actions needed to make its funding opportunities and innovation and entrepreneurship activities more inclusive, just, and equitable, in line with the Administration’s climate and Justice40 goals. Respond by July 30.

Inventors and entrepreneurs: Save the date – Invention-Con 2021 is coming Aug. 18-20

Inventors, makers and entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) free online Invention-Con 2021: Capitalizing on your intellectual property, coming Aug. 18-20. This is your chance to learn how different types of intellectual property (IP), such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights, are critical to your business strategy. Take this opportunity to hear from business and government experts about turning ideas into innovations, protecting your work, and accessing valuable resources that can help you succeed in the marketplace. Get educated and inspired by keynote speakers Gitanjali Rao, inventor and TIME magazine’s 2020 Kid of the Year, and Serene Almomen, CEO of Senseware—who will share their personal stories of using science and technology to bring their innovations to life. Register early for the free event and for questions or assistance, please contact

Provide Input to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) about Patent Eligibility by Sep. 7

USPTO is seeking public comment on the impact of patent eligibility jurisprudence. Public comments will inform a report to senators on how patent eligibility impacts innovation in critical industries like quantum computing, AI, and precision medicine. Comments are due by September 7, 2021.

National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Establishes HBCU Innovation Network

NSIN is partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create a dedicated HBCU Innovation Network (HIN). This first-of-its-kind collaborative network between HBCUs and the Department of Defense (DoD) will create opportunities for customers to engage with each other to solve DoD programs and generate additional innovation opportunities for students and faculty. 

NSIN will host the inaugural HBCU Showcase Day on September 30. The showcase will provide opportunities for participating HBCUs to demonstrate capabilities to the event sponsors, the Central Florida Tech Grove and the National Center for Stimulation. 

Highlights for Ecosystem Builders

Represent Innovation on SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities – Nominations Due By July 20

SBA is reconvening the Council on Underserved Communities (CUC) to help support the SBA’s prioritization of equity across its programs and initiatives. The Council will consist of 20 diverse stakeholders from every region of the country tasked with advising the SBA on strengthening and improving its strategies to help underserved communities. Nominate yourself or a peer by Tuesday July 20.

Help your region celebrate 2021 National SBIR Week and Register Your Event

Next week’s2021 National SBIR Week is a virtual, collaborative outreach effort connecting entrepreneurs working on advanced technologies and the organizations that support them to the SBIR/STTR programs. Ecosystem builders are encouraged to hold their own events during the week — there is still time for you to highlight local success stories and services available to help companies access the federal programs. Learn more about the 2021 National SBIR Week and submit your event to

House Committee Backs Increased Funding for FAST, Accelerators, and Clusters The House Committee on Appropriations advanced its first fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding bills. The  financial services bill includes $10 million for each of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s three main innovation programs: Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST), Growth Accelerators Fund Competition, and Regional Innovation Clusters.

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:

First Flight Ventures in North Carolina operates a cohort-based SBIR technical assistance program that combines group education with personalized coaching.

The Ohio Aerospace Institute provides guidance and proposal reviews, and can even subsidize grant writer costs, for companies seeking SBIR awards. 

Find local assistance near you at:

SBIR Success - Universities Growing Their Innovation Ecosystems Recognized with Tibbetts Awards

Arrowhead Center

The 2015 creation of NM FAST has allowed New Mexico to fill a critical need throughout the state for SBIR/STTR support and assistance, placing a particular programmatic emphasis on serving first-time applicants and under- served populations. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by the state’s small businesses, NM FAST also created the Arrowhead Center SBIR/STTR Accelerator (ACSA), a program that provides concentrated assistance from registration to submission, helping small businesses navigate challenges before they become barriers to submission.

Michigan State University Foundation

MSU Foundation is part of the MSU Innovation Center that focuses on technology commercialization and economic development. Its venture development organization, Spartan Innovations (SI), has increased the number of startup companies winning SBIR/ STTR awards from 1 in FY 2016 to 8 in FY 2019. MSU Foundation’s pre-seed fund portfolio companies raised $19 million in non-dilutive funding - including SBIR/STTR funding. They are a 2020 Tibbetts Award winner, manage an endowment built from decades of licensing revenue, and provide over $10 million in research funding to MSU annually. 

OK Catalyst

OK Catalyst is focused on reversing Oklahoma’s historically poor performance in the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) arena through leveraging SBIR/STTR as an economic development tool to launch and grow a new generation of Oklahoma startups. Since 2018, OK Catalyst has guided 13 companies to win $8.5 million in SBIR/STTR awards – with 100% of participating companies being first-time awardees.

Get inspired by SBIR/STTR 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

Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

  • Planned release for 2021 – 2022 SBIR Phase I solicitation in late-July or early August with a close date approximately 2 months later.

Dept. of Defense (DoD) – All open topics

Army SBIR 2021.4

  • A214-038 Logistics Enterprise Enhancement Platform (LEEP). Closes 7/21/2021.
  • A214-039 Holistic Wind Correction for Aviation Targeting. Closes 8/24/2021.


  • HR01121S00007-17 The Biological Materials and Strategic Formulations Challenge Program. Closes 7/20/2021.
  • HR01121S00007-18 Thermal Shock Tolerant Aperture. Closes 8/10/2021.
  • HR01121S00007-19 Context Management for Effective Transitions (COMET). Closes 8/10/2021.

Dept. of Energy (DOE)

FY2022 SBIR/STTR – Phase I Release 1

Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Targeted funding opportunities from HHS on specific topics with various upcoming due dates can be found here.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • NSF SBIR and STTR Phase I. Project Pitches are always accepted. Remaining submission window close dates: 9/2/2021, and 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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