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SBIR-STTR FAQs

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

    WHAT IS THE USTAR SBIR CENTER?

    The USTAR SBIR Center is a state-wide resource for Utah small businesses and entrepreneurs searching for a mechanism to fund research and development of their technology. We provide services and resources to help Utah companies apply for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and contracts.

    Established in June 2008, the SBIR Center has a more than 25 percent win rate, considerably higher than the national average between 14 and 17 percent. We help Utah companies with 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 ARE THE SBIR AND STTR PROGRAMS?

    Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and contracts fund small businesses’ research and development (R&D) projects. Together, they provide $2.5 billion annually to help small businesses minimize risk so innovative technology can move closer to commercialization.

    Currently, 11 federal agencies participate in SBIR and five of those also participate in STTR, both of which are congressionally-mandated programs. The funds not only pay for a company’s R&D, but also 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 six-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 percent) 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. However, 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, five 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.

    The USTAR SBIR Center serves as a resource to help prepare and guide Utah companies through the application process for both programs. Additionally, USTAR offers a free, monthly SBIR 101 presentation at the SBIR Center. It’s a great first step to learning all about the program and resources offered through USTAR. A schedule of these presentations may be found here.

    If the dates and times don’t work for you, just call the USTAR SBIR Center office to schedule a time to meet. Additional videos and information is also available here:

    Below is a basic outline of how to apply for SBIR or STTR funding:

    1. Contact the USTAR SBIR Center 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 USTAR SBIR Center, there is a registration process that takes three to six weeks. You can start on that today – https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html
    3. While you are registering and talking with the USTAR SBIR Center, 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 USTAR SBIR Center.
    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 USTAR SBIR Center.
    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 workshop to learn a bit more about the process and tools to move along the application pathway; or contact the USTAR SBIR Center to schedule a consultation.

    WHAT SERVICES DOES the USTAR SBIR Center OFFER?

    The USTAR SBIR Center 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 SBIR Center 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 USTAR SBIR CENTER ASSIST ON OTHER GRANTS?

    We don’t. The grant process is intricate, sometimes even complicated. Getting to know the ins and outs 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 USTAR SBIR Center offers three great options to learn more:

    1. The SBIR Center offers a free, monthly SBIR-STTR 101 workshop. 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 SBIR 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
    Email: utahsbir-sttrcenter@utah.gov
    Phone: 801.957.5238

    Director – Mary Cardon
    Phone: 801.957.5249
    Email: mcardon@utah.gov

    Program Manager – April Young Bennet
    Phone: 801.957.5239
    Email: aybennett@utah.gov

Contact Us
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