The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) is a U.S. Government program that is authorized in excess of $100 million reserved for contracts or grants to small businesses. A fifth of the contracts are awarded to minority or women-owned businesses generally to firms with fewer than 25 people and a third to firms of fewer than 10.

The SBIR/STTR Programs are structured in three phases. Phase I (project feasibility) determines the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of the ideas submitted. Phase II (project development to prototype) is the major research and development effort, funding the prototyping and demonstration of the most promising Phase I projects. Phase III (commercialization) is the ultimate goal of each SBIR/STTR effort. Phase III work must be funded by sources outside the SBIR/STTR Program.

The requirements for SBIR:

  • Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees
  • Independently owned and operated for profit
  • Have its principal place of business in the U.S.
  • Be at least 51 percent owned by U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens
  • The primary employment of the principal investigator must be with the small business
  • A minimum of 2/3s of the research work must be performed by the proposing firm in Phase I and 1/2 in Phase II