Author:  Smith, Tyrone     Published: 2/10/2024   Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

SBIR/STTR 11 Agencies, 1 Vision: Seed the Future

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide 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. One of the main goals and statutory requirements is foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.

Currently, less than 25% of total minority and women small business applicants are applying for SBIR and others funding opportunities with the Department of Energy. We want to increase the number of minority and women small business applicants in the SBIR program within the Department of Energy. Further, the applicants will use resources and webinars to understand SBIR to be competitive in the process. Department of Energy has program(s) that will walk you through the applicants process.

What does a SBIR firm look like?

  • Company must be for profit, U.S. owned/operated, and under 500 people
  • Work must be done in the U.S.
  • Focus is on performing R&D – Not purchasing equipment, commercializing a technology that has already been developed, or one that has very low risk and only needs capital

The SBIR program has Three Phases:

Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II. SBIR/STTR Phase I awards are generally $50,000 – $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).

Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for 2 years.

Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. At some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

Our goal is for all applicants to apply and be competitive in the process. Also, share with other minority business and minority educational institutions. For further information please contact me Tyrone Smith



Tyrone W. Smith

Senior Operations Research Analyst

Minority Business and Workforce Division

Office of Energy Justice and Equity (EJE)

Department of Energy

Mobile: (240) 805-4362

Alternate Mobile: (202) 578-6275