The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide more than $2 billion annually in R&D grants and contracts to qualified small businesses (U.S. owned, independently operated, for-profit entities of fewer than 500 employees).
Eleven federal agencies are required by law to provide these funds by setting aside 2.5% of their annual extra-mural R&D budgets for use exclusively by U.S. small businesses for new product R&D. Hence, these programs provide a unique source of start-up and seed capital for small businesses to develop new innovative product concepts. There are few strings attached to these funds; there is no repayment requirement, no equity sacrifice, and most intellectual property rights remain with the small business.
These two programs are comprised of three phases. Phase I, the feasibility phase, and Phase II, the prototype phase provide up to $100,000 and $750,000 respectively. Phase III, the commercialization phase is not funded by the federal agencies - other sources of capital are expected to carry the prototyped innovation into the marketplace. However, some agencies have augmented Phase II programs such as NSF Phase IIB, DOD Phase II Plus/Enhancement, and NIH Type 2 Competing Continuation Phase II. Go to each agencies proposal solicitation for complete details.
The eleven agencies have differing requirements for program participation and it is very important to understand and comply with these individual requirements. Each agency publishes a proposal solicitation at least annually - these solicitations can be viewed on their individual websites accessible through this link, Participating Federal Agencies. Wading through the information found on these websites can be a formidable task - but well worth it for those who are determined to succeed. And the mission of the WSSI is to assist you in this task.