Last week, I was one of the panelists for TechPoint’s monthly New Economy New Rules breakfast event on the topic of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) — two federal programs that should be of great interest to entrepreneurs seeking startup funding.

From the official SBIR/STTR government website:

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

As a long time consultant who helps startups and other companies do business with the government through my company Parmelee Consulting Group, Inc., I can tell you that these programs are light-years ahead of previous cumbersome processes. That’s not to say that they are easy. It still takes a lot of time and effort to secure a government grant or contract to fund your tech startup, but it’s definitely worth it in my opinion. In fact, the success rate for companies seeking SBIR/STTR contracts and grants are much higher than the average success rate for startups seeking venture capital.

Here are two charts I created to help explain these programs:

  1. Structure of Program and Definition of Acronyms (download pdf_icon)
  2. Decision-making Flow Chart To See If You Qualify (download pdf_icon)

If you have questions about these charts or about the SBIR/STTR programs, please ask them in the comments section below and I will answer them.

Also, be sure to check out the blog post from TechPoint about this event with the full video and more information about SBIR/STTR — Insights into startup funding through SBIR & STTR federal programs.

Structure of Program and Definition of Acronyms


Decision-making Flow Chart To See If You Qualify

SBIR_STTRdecisionChart SBIR_STTRdecisionChart2 SBIR_STTRdecisionChart3