1. WHAT IS TECHNICAL AND BUSINESS ASSISTANCE (TABA)?
Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) provides an opportunity to assist small businesses participating in the SBIR and STTR programs with commercializing its technology.
The assistance is guided by Section 9 (b) of the SBIR/STTR Policy Directive, and it enables federal agencies to help small businesses by funding vendors to support commercializing their innovations or by providing additional funding directly to small businesses so they can contract their own vendors and consultants for commercialization purposes.
The purpose of technical and business assistance is to assist SBIR/STTR Awardees in:
- Making better technical decisions on SBIR/STTR projects;
- Solving technical problems that arise during SBIR/STTR projects;
- Minimizing technical risks associated with SBIR/STTR projects; and
- Commercializing the SBIR/STTR product or process, including intellectual property protections.
Participants can use their TABA funding for, or receive in-kind through their funding agencies, a variety of services (including, but not limited to):
- Assistance with product sales, intellectual property protections, market research, market validation, and development of regulatory plans and manufacturing plans.
2. HOW MUCH FUNDING CAN SMALL BUSINESSES RECEIVE THROUGH TABA?
The following funding amounts are allowed by law:
Phase 1 - Up to $6,500
Up to $6,500 of SBIR/STTR funds for each Phase I award, which shall be in addition to the amount of the award.
Phase 2 – Up to $50,000
Agencies may provide up to $50,000 of SBIR/STTR funds per project for Phase II awards. Please note, that unlike the Phase I amounts, agencies have discretion in determining if the funding provided for TABA support for Phase II awards will be included as part of the recipient’s award or be in addition to the amount of the recipient’s award. The agencies’ solicitation notices should describe how they are handling this decision.
3. HOW CAN SMALL BUSINESSES APPLY FOR TABA?
The processes governing TABA applications, decisions, and funding vary by agency, so small businesses should review agency solicitations and program sites to determine the agency’s approach. Please note, not all agencies utilize or provide TABA.
While reviewing agency solicitations keep a look out for the following items:
- Timing – make sure you know if you need to request TABA within your proposal, during the award, or at some other period as defined by the solicitation.
- Amounts – what are the maximum amounts allowed by the agency and are these provided in addition or from within your award amount.
- Approvals – what information does the agency require to approve your company selected vendor?
TABA could be a valuable resource for small businesses participating in the SBIR and STTR programs. Please make sure to review agency solicitations to understand their implementation (or lack thereof) of TABA and to understand if you could benefit from the services allowed through TABA.