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SBIR Grants: Step 2 – Find a Solicitation

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The US Federal Government runs a program titled “Small Business Innovation Research” that gives grants to support R&D efforts of small, US companies.

This is the second post in a series of how-tos to help a company apply for an SBIR Grant.

  1. How to determine eligibility and register for an SBIR small business grant
  2. Find a Solicitation (this post)

Finding a Solicitation

In order to maximize your likelihood of receiving an award, I recommend identifying solicitations closely related to your core business.  If you manufacture medical device parts, and would like some money to R&D a new device, look at the medical solicitations.

On the other hand, if you manufacture metal widgets, I would not recommend applying for a software development grant.

One of the three primary criteria to evaluate the applications is how well key personnel’s qualifications relate to the solicitation.

 

First, search for a topic.  The DoD SBIR program operates their official Topic Search site at http://www.dodsbir.net/Topics/Default.asp, but it can be difficult to use.  I recommend the free (and extremely useful) SBIRSource.com, a privately run site that has better search and ties in more information than the official site offers.

 

Spend some time thinking through your envisioned solution.  Try to keep in mind the evaluation criteria:

  1. Scientific and Technical Merit (is it possible? Will it solve the problem as posted?)
  2. Key Personnel’s Qualifications (can your company complete the solution?)
  3. Commercialization Potential (can this be turned into a product to sell to other military and scientific groups?)

The third point is the most vague, but also the most crucial.  If you intelligently select a topic, you should be able to score well on points 1 and 2.  Commercialization potential is vague, but all it really means is this: is the solution generalizable so that it solves other groups problems?

That requirement exists because this program wants to avoid an over-specific solution to the problem limited to the sponsor.  After the Phase I (Proof of Concept) stage, the follow on SBIR grant phases push awardees towards solving problems that you can use to build your company.

That requires an understanding of the potential market.  It is also where you can focus on your vision — how you propose to solve this problem, and other problems like it.

 

Please feel free to contact me ( leleu@industrialinterface.com with any questions and comments.

SBIR Grants: Step 1 – Eligibility and Registration

  •  

The US Federal Government runs a program titled “Small Business Innovation Research” that gives grants to support R&D efforts of small, US companies.

This is the second post in a series of how-tos to help a company apply for an SBIR Grant.

  1. How to and register for an SBIR small business grant (this post)
  2. How to Find a Solicitation

I have created a worksheet to help you through this process.  I suggest printing the worksheet before proceeding to the SBIR Registration site.

Download Registration Worksheet 

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

These grants are intended for US companies with less than 500 employees.  For more details, please see the full list of SBIR Grant Eligibility Requirements.

Step 2: Register with the SBIR program

First, you need to register with the SBIR system.  I created a worksheet to help you make sure you have all the necessary information.  All registrations are free.

Some information is not required unless you are awarded a grant.  I recommend completing only the required information until you have submitted your grant application.

You can visit the SBIR Registration Page to look up your current status.  This is also where you will register your company.  You only need to complete this process once, regardless of the number of applications you submit.

Required Information

Before Submitting an Application:

  • Company name, address, city, state, zip
  • Federal Tax ID (if not yet incorporated, your SSN can be used temporarily)
  • Your SBA SBC ID. This is a number that verifies your company’s status as a small business (based on the eligibility requirements above), and can be obtained at http://www.sbir.gov/firm_user_register
  • History of your company’s SBIR grants (see worksheet for details)

After Application Submission, but Before Grant:

 

I have created a worksheet with the minimum info required to register.

Download Registration Worksheet 

 

Once you have the necessary contact information, registration numbers, and other codes, you should proceed to the SBIR Registration site to fill out the application.

SBIR Eligibility Requirements

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The US Federal Government runs a program titled “Small Business Innovation Research” that gives grants to support R&D efforts of small, US companies.

 

The grants are available to all US companies who meet the following requirements:

  • Fewer than 500 employees
  • For profit, US owned and operated small business
  • The designated project lead must spend at least half their time employed by the small business
  • Subcontractors and consultants may be used, but at least 2/3 of the work must be done by company employees
  • All work must be done in the United States