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SBIR-STTR FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for USTAR’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC)

    WHAT ARE THE SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS?

    Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and contracts fund research and development (R&D) projects from small business concerns. They are very similar in most respects and together bring over $2.5 billion annually to help small businesses minimize risk so innovative technology can move closer to commercialization.  This 30-plus year congressionally mandated program requires federal agencies with extramural research budgets greater than $100 million to participate in the SBIR program and those spending over $1 billion to participate in the STTR program.  Currently, 11 federal agencies participate in SBIR and 5 of those also participate in STTR.  In addition to paying for a company’s R&D, a tremendous benefit of this program is that these funds are non-equity position dollars.  There is no loss of technology ownership, no loss of intellectual property and no payback of funds.

    HOW MUCH FUNDING IS AVAILABLE AND WHAT CAN IT BE USED FOR?

    Approximately $2.5 billion is available among the 11 federal agencies to fund small business research and development through the SBIR and STTR programs. This non-dilutive funding is offered in competitive phases:

    • Phase I averages $150,000 for a 6 month project to prove the feasibility and technical merit of your idea or technology.
    • Phase II averages $1 million for a 24 month project and is meant to expand the Phase I results and evaluate commercial potential.
    • Phase III takes place as the technology moves from the laboratory to the market place. While SBIR-STTR funds do not support this phase, some agencies offer sole source contracts or follow-on non-SBIR funded R&D to help the small business commercialize the product.

    SBIR-STTR funds can be used for the following:

    • Salaries and fringe benefits
    • Overhead costs
    • Materials and supplies
    • Consultants or subcontractors

    SBIR-STTR Funds cannot be used for:

    • Lawyers and patents
    • Marketing
    • Brick and mortar
    • Creating a lab

    However, a reasonable fee or profit (up to 7%) can be included in the budget and these funds can be used at the discretion of the small business.

    WHAT DOES THE COMPANY GIVE UP TO GET THESE FUNDS?

    Nothing.  There is no loss of technology ownership, no loss of intellectual property and no payback of funds.  There is a clause in the award language, authorizing the government to license the technology in a national emergency. This has been exercised just once in over 30 years and thousands of awards.

    WHAT AGENCIES PARTICIPATE?

    Agencies are mandated by Congress to participate in the SBIR program when their extramural research budget is greater than $100 million and in the STTR program when it is over $1 billion. Currently 11 agencies participate in the SBIR program and of those, 5 also participate in the STTR program (indicated in bold). For links and guidance by SBIR and STTR funding agencies please click here.

    • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • 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

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR SBIR-STTR FUNDING?

    Small businesses with innovative technology that need research and development dollars and meet the following criteria:

    • American-owned
    • 51% ownership by individuals
    • For-profit
    • 500 or fewer employees

    HOW DO I APPLY FOR SBIR-STTR FUNDING?

    The process to apply requires time and patience. The 11 federal agencies who participate in the SBIR-STTR program have varied requirements for their application process and USTAR’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC) understands each of them.

    A very basic outline is just below, but you may want to attend the free SBIR 101 presentation offered by the SSAC twice a month. It’s a great first step to learning all about the program and our help.  A schedule of these presentations is found on the Events tab. If the dates and times don’t work for you, just call our office to schedule a time to talk – we are here to help.  We also have great videos and information on the website.

    Here is a very basic outline of How to Apply for Funding:

    1. Contact the SSAC and let them get acquainted with your company and the project you are thinking about. They will help assess your technology, how well you fit the program, and any gaps you may have.
    2. While you are working with the SSAC, there is a registration process that takes 3-6 weeks. You can start on that today – https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html
    3. While you are registering and talking with the SSAC, you will need to search for an agency and topic that meets the needs of your technology and aligns with your business strategy.
    4. Read the solicitation through and through.
    5. Draft/outline a plan for your Phase I, with an eye to Phase II and work with the SSAC.
    6. Contact the person in charge of the selected agency and topic with a directed email and ask for a phone call to discuss your plan, with the SSAC.
    7. Begin writing.
    8. Work with collaborators to assure research is correct and writing is sound.
    9. Budgets, ancillary documents.
    10. Begin finalizing documents.

    It’s a lot …and there is more. This is a very brief overview. But don’t worry – there is also a great deal of help.  Explore this website a bit – great videos and information; come to a SBIR 101 presentation to learn a bit more about the process and tools to move along the application pathway or contact the SSAC to schedule a consultation.

    WHAT IS THE SBIR-STTR ASSISTANCE CENTER (SSAC)?

    USTAR’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC) is a state-wide resource for Utah small businesses and entrepreneurs searching for a mechanism to fund research and development of their technology.  Established in June 2008 by USTAR’s Governing Authority, the SSAC has a better than 25% win rate with a national average between 14 and 17%.

    We help Utah companies with any and all aspects of the SBIR-STTR process. If you are just thinking about applying or have a well-established grant process, we can help you learn and improve.

    WHAT SERVICES DOES THE SSAC OFFER?

    The SSAC offers a full-range of services to small businesses interested in SBIR and STTR funding to include:

    • Consultations
    • Training, workshops and seminars
    • Proposal guidance and evaluation
    • Editing and writing
    • Submission assistance
    • Solicitation Search Service – the SSAC will match key words against the 20-26 solicitations that come out each year to identify matches and topics of interest. Individual emails are sent to search service clients letting them know the solicitation has been released including topics of interest for their immediate attention.
    • Connections to business resources

    HOW MUCH DO THE SERVICES COST?

    Consultations, editing and writing, and guidance are available at no cost to Utah businesses.

    A few services include a fee:

    • Solicitation Search Service – $75 annually
      • Companies receive a timely email with each solicitation as it becomes available, letting them know if there is a topic that matches their technology or business model. There are 20-26 solicitations annually. This service assures companies will know about them all and will have the opportunity to respond quickly.
    • Workshops and seminars
      • Some workshops and seminars will have a nominal charge

    DOES THE SSAC ASSIST ON OTHER GRANTS?

    We don’t. The grant process is intricate, sometimes even complicated. Getting to know the in’s and out’s of grants takes time, and we just can’t effectively do it.  We stay focused on this billion dollar program that is directed to small business, and it’s working.

    HOW DO I LEARN MORE?

    The SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC) offers three great options to learn more:

    1. SSAC offers a free SBIR 101 twice a month. It’s a great first step to learning all about the program and our help. There are snacks and free parking. A schedule of these presentations is found on the News & Events in the main navigation to the left.
    2. Our video library has great resources to explore the SBIR-STTR process, quickly and easily providing you basic information on our work and the federal program. You can see our videos under the 110 Seconds to SSAC SUCCESS in the navigation at the top of the page.
    3. Free consultations. Just call our office to schedule a time to talk – we are here to help.

    We welcome your questions and look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

    SBIR-STTR Assistance Center
    Salt Lake Community College – Miller Campus
    9690 South 300 West Suite 214
    Sandy Utah 84070
    utahsbir-sttrcenter@utah.gov
    801.957.5238

    Director – Mary Cardon
    801.957.5249
    mcardon@utah.gov

    Associate Director – Linda Cabrales
    801.957.5239
    lcabrales@utah.gov

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