Type of Firm
Ownership and Control
- For SBIR, the primary employment of the principal investigator must be with the small business, and the proposing firm must perform at least 2/3rds of the R&D work in Phase I and at least 1/2 in Phase II
- For STTR, the proposing firm must perform at least 40% of the work with the collaborating research institution performing no less than 30%.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Technology oversees the SBIR and STTR Programs. Through these two competitive programs, SBA ensures that the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government's R&D efforts. Participating Federal Agencies post solicitations throughout the year. Small businesses compete by submitting proposals to these agencies. A winner in the competitive solicitation process is awarded a grant.
The SBIR program provides funding to small, high-tech businesses to research, design, develop, and test new technology ideas related to specific needs defined in competitive solicitations floated by the federal agencies. The program stimulates technological innovation by funding new ideas that would not otherwise be funded, and helps introduce small business solutions into the market and to meet a wide range of Government research priorities from national defense and renewable energy systems to new medical or educational solutions.
Congress started the STTR program in 1992. The program funds cooperative R&D partnerships between a small business and a research institution such as a university, Federal R&D center, or a non-profit research institute. The STTR program is an effective vehicle for moving ideas from our nation's research institutions to the market, where they can benefit both private sector and military customers. The SBIR and STTR programs follow a similar solicitation and award process.
The Company Registry maintains SBC information, tracking ownership and affiliation requirements for all companies applying to the SBIR or STTR program. All applicants to the program are required to complete their registration at SBA’s Company Registry prior to submitting an application. The SBC will report and/or update ownership information to SBA prior to each SBIR or STTR application submission. The SBC will also be able to view all of the ownership and affiliation requirements of the program on the Company Registry site. Completed registrations will receive a unique SBC Control ID and a pdf file to be used for submissions at any of the 11 participating agencies in the SBIR or STTR programs.
Ownership data collected in the Company Registry will not be shared publicly.
Submit a Proposal
Agencies post solicitations describing the technical areas and seek proposals from small businesses. Each agency has its own proposal submission guidelines. A few agencies follow an annual solicitation proposal cycle, while others float solicitations as the need arises. Agencies post solicitations on their sites as well as grants.gov. In general, an SBIR Phase I proposal submission package has the following components:
- Business Plan
- Executive summary
- Cost Proposal
- Technical Proposal
- Check out the currently open solicitations
- Find and apply for federal grants
- Check out upcoming events and workshops
- Take a look at past award winners
- Review the SBIR Policy Directive and the STTR Policy Directive for submission guidelines
- Search technology areas and identify opportunities where your firm is a good fit
Hint: grants.gov is a good place to start looking for SBIR/STTR program opportunities. Just type "SBIR" in the basic search, and off you go!
Here's a list of resources and links to the agency SBIR/STTR programs to get you started.
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Defense
- Department of Education
- Department of Energy
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of Transportation
- Environmental Protection Agency
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- National Science Foundation