SBIR & STTR Funding

SBIR and STTR grants are offered through eleven federal agencies to encourage small businesses engaging in research with commercialization potential. 

What is SBIR/STTR?

SBIR/STTR stands for "Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs."

The mission of the programs is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of SBIR/STTR programs are federally funded programs designed to move early-stage technologies towards commercialization. The mission of the programs is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy. Funding occurs in three phases:

  • Phase I tests the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed research and development efforts and determines the quality of performance of the small business before providing further federal support in Phase II. Phase I award is $50,000- $250,000 for a project timeline between 6 months (SBIR) and one year (STTR).
  • Phase II further develops the Phase I R&D efforts and leads to a “market-ready” prototype. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for 2 years.
  • Phase III is the market approach and commercialization of the developed innovation and small businesses are not funded by SBIR/STTR fund instead indirect funding might be available from sources other than SBIR/STTR programs.

SBIR/STTR Participating Agencies

Annually, SBIR/STTR programs provide more than $2.5 billion in investment dollars to small businesses across the country, funding innovations from areas such as health technologies, critical defense and force protection, border and port security, space exploration, food and agriculture, and environmental monitoring and resource reclamation. Each agency administers its own individual program within guidelines established by Congress. These agencies designate R&D topics in their solicitations and accept proposals from small businesses. Awards are made on a competitive basis after proposal evaluation.

Who is Eligible for an SBIR/STTR grant?

Only U.S. small businesses are eligible to participate in the SBIR/STTR programs.

  • Organized for-profit, with a place of business located in the U. S.
  • More than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the U. S., or by other small business concerns that are each more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the U. S.; and
  • No more than 500 employees, including affiliates.

What is the FAST program?

The Federal and State Technology (FAST) partnership program is how the Iowa Small Business Development Center provides assistance to small businesses, helping them navigate the SBIR and STTR submission process. FAST provides the resources, support, and expertise necessary to submit a project proposal. These services are provided through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); those funds are matched by Iowa State University.

FAST provides the resources, support, and expertise necessary to submit a project proposal.

Contact the SBDC for more information

For more information contact Mitchell Kearns, Technology and Commercialization Director 

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