SBIR 2.0 - The new and improved SBIR
Washington, DC - The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program will undergo a series of improvements in the coming months to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall program. Together, these improvements will represent a new and improved SBIR, or as we are calling it, "SBIR 2.0".
SBIR 2.0 will make the program more entrepreneur-friendly to ensure entrepreneurs have the support they need to do what they do best - innovate and create jobs. By leveraging best practices among the 11 agencies who participate in SBIR and strengthening performance measurements to ensure effective operation government wide, SBIR 2.0 will produce better results for the program. SBIR 2.0 improvements will include:
Simplification and Streamlining
- Setting the target time-frame between selection of a proposal and award to an applicant at less than 60 days for all agencies. The program will work to standardizing contracts and share best practices to enable faster turnaround times.
- Building a "one-stop-shop" web portal with all solicitation topics available and searchable with current announcements and news that will allow entrepreneurs to find what they need in one place - instead of having to sift through 11 different agency sites for solicitations.
- Evaluating opportunities to clarify and simplify data rights for the Federal Government and entrepreneurs.
- Expanding bridge financing programs - with a focus on Phase II matching programs. Currently, matching funds from just 4 SBIR agencies contribute over $40M per year in SBIR monies, leading to over $100M per year in matching funds from other investment sources in Phase II companies. The program will encourage more SBIR agencies to leverage their SBIR funds to encourage third party investment. Additionally, the Department of Energy has announced $30M in new funding for Phase III with money not previously a part of the SBIR allocation.
- Expanding use of the SBIR program to facilitate technology transfer from federal labs. NIST initially piloted using the SBIR program to encourage commercialization of intramural research, and this innovative approach to technology transfer is now expanding. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Navy, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Transportation have committed to fund targeted innovations from Federal intramural labs to enhance their commercialization prospects through the SBIR program.
- Encouraging agencies to issue joint solicitations to work together to streamline topics for applicants and address areas of national priorities. NIH, DHS, DARPA, NSF and USDA are participating in a joint SBIR Phase I solicitation for robotics topics closing on December 20, 2010. The FOA features more than 50 topics to which small businesses can respond. These type of joint solicitations encourage agencies to work together to streamline topics for applicants and address national priorities.
Better Performance Management
- Implementing common performance metrics across the SBIR agencies to clearly define commercialization and innovation successes for agencies and individual companies.
- Sharing performance data publicly, consistent with the Administration's priorities on transparency and open government.
For additional background on SBIR 2.0, please see the Frequently Asked Questions.
The SBIR program is a highly competitive three-phase award system which provides qualified small businesses with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet the specific research and development needs of the Federal Government. The program is a set aside from the external research budgets of 11 participating agencies with external research budgets greater than $100 million per year.
In the current economic environment, in which start-up companies are having difficulty accessing capital, the SBIR program is more important than ever. Last year, the SBIR program distributed approximately $2.5 billion in funding to small businesses, while the entire venture capital industry only put $1.7 billion into early-stage investments. The program is specifically designed to fund research and development projects that private sector investors may deem too early or too risky.
The goals of the SBIR Program include fostering innovation, using small business to meet federal research and development needs, enhancing private-sector commercialization of innovation, and increasing women and minority participation in technology innovation. The program has provided early funding for technology companies such as Qualcomm, Symantec, and Genentech.