Federal SBIR/STTR Program Overview

The Federal government offers two programs, exclusively available to small companies:

  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
    • The SBIR program is a competitive grant program to encourage small business in their path to technology development and commercialization.
    • The SBIR program is intended to promote innovation by stimulating entrepreneurial research activities to meet the Nation's future scientific and high-tech needs.
  • Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
    • The STTR program expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena by promoting public/private sector partnership.
    • STTR awards provide a platform for the establishment of joint venture between small business and nonprofit research institutions.

Federal SBIR funding is intended to encourage a working relationship between small business and federal government agencies. This is accomplished by providing seed money to conduct research and development initiatives, encouraging the development of new and innovative technology or the use of an existing technology to a new application. SBIR funding is intended to facilitate the commercialization of innovative technologies and is best suited for companies with a committed R&D program/strategy and long term focus. The SBIR program is highly competitive. It targets the small business entrepreneurial sector because that is where most innovation and job growth occur, but there is inherent financial risk for small businesses to develop new technology. SBIR funding helps manage such risks and allows small businesses to compete with large businesses and encourages the commercialization of the technology, product or service, which in turn, stimulates the economy.