What is the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)?
The SBIR and STTR programs fund a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet Federal research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact. SBIR Phase I grants are limited to $100,000 and duration of 8 months and are open to any small business concern that meets the SBIR eligibility requirements. SBIR Phase II grants are limited to $600,000 and duration of 24 months and are only open to previous Phase I awardees. SBIR program funds are allocated in proportion to the number of proposals received over 10 broad topic areas.
The objectives of the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) are to:
- stimulate technological innovations in the private sector;
- strengthen the role of small businesses in meeting Federal research and development needs;
- increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from USDA-supported research and development efforts; and
- foster and encourage participation by women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged small business firms in technological innovations.
The original charter of the SBIR program was to address four goals:
- Stimulate technological innovation
- Use small business to meet Federal R/R&D needs
- Foster and encourage participation by the socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses and those that are 51 percent owned and controlled by women, in technological innovation
- Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity, and economic growth
Since the SBIR program started in 1982, the charter has expanded to:
- Require evaluation of commercial potential in Phase I and Phase II applications, and
- Is viewed as seed capital for early stage R&D with commercial potential
- The awards are comparable in size to angel investments in the private sector
- and indicate the acceptance of greater risk in support of agency missions