Small Business Innovation Research Grants

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is sponsored by 11 federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense. These organizations are obligated to contribute 2.5 percent of their annual research and development budgets to fund entrepreneurs and small businesses performing research. This means that about $2.5 billion per year in grants, with no obligation to repay and no dilution of equity, is available to fund small businesses under this program.

SBIR funds can be used for just about any industry, including life sciences, physical sciences, information technology, or education technology. A sister program known as Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) allows for research and development to be performed in partnership with a university or non-profit research institution. To stay up to date on opportunities, sign up for alerts for SBIR/STTR solicitations that relate to your field.

SBIR/STTR grants may exceed $1 million, and are typically provided over two distinct phases:
• Phase I awards typically provide about $150,000 for feasibility studies and proof-of-concept experimentation.
• If Phase I proves successful, the company may be invited to apply for a Phase II award providing upwards of $1 million over multiple years. Phase II expands upon the initial Phase I results and further develops the concept, usually to the prototype stage. Only Phase I awardees are eligible to participate in Phase II.

The NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and other organizations host workshops that cover all aspects of SBIR and STTR proposal preparation.