The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is proposing to ratchet up the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program award threshold amounts to offset the effect of inflation since the amounts were last set in 1992.

Current threshold amounts are $100,000 for Phase I awards and $750,000 for Phase II awards. The SBA can adjust the award amounts once every 5 years and is proposing to increase the award amounts to $150,000 and $1,000,000, respectively.

Why does the government want to give away money?

The purpose of the SBIR program is to stimulate innovation in the economy through federally-funded research and development (R/R&D).

Eleven federal departments participate in the SBIR program; five departments participate in the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program awarding $2 billion to small high-tech businesses.

According to the Federal Register, you can submit comments on the proposal here:

  1. On-line at: Federal Rulemaking Portal;
  2. Mail: Office of Technology, 409 Third Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416; or
  3. Hand Delivery/Courier: Edsel Brown, Assistant Director, Office of Technology, 409 Third Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416.

Comments must be received on or before September 15, 2008

Wanna play double or nothing?

In what is probably the most clever use of state funds, Kentucky is now the only state in the nation with a start-to-finish matching funds program for high-tech small businesses that receive federal SBIR and STTR awards.

Kentucky-based SBIR and STTR grant recipients can apply for matching funds of up to $100,000 to support Phase 1 exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology. Phase 2 federal awards, which support full-scale research and development, would be matched by the commonwealth up to $500,000 in each year of the award. Phase 0 and Phase 00 funds are available to assist with preparing proposals for Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants, respectively.

Guidelines for the Kentucky program are posted at ThinkKentucky.


Do you have to be a Phase I awardee in order to be considered for Phase II of a project?


What is the small business size standard for purposes of the SBIR Program?

A small business concern is one which, including its affiliates, has a number of employees not exceeding 500.

Can a firm go directly to a Phase II award without having to compete for Phase I?


Is a small US firm still eligible to compete for an SBIR award if it forms a 50-50 joint venture with a nonprofit or foreign firm?


Are foreign-based firms eligible for SBIR awards?

To be eligible, a small business concern has to be independently owned and operated principal place of business is located in the US at least 51 percent owned by US citizens or lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens.

Are nonprofit concerns eligible for SBIR awards?


May a portion of an SBIR award be subcontracted?

For Phase I, a minimum of two thirds of the research and/or analytical effort must be performed by the proposing firm, and for Phase II, a minimum of one-half of the research and/or analytical effort must be performed by the proposing firm.

Will innovations that have been patented or have patents pending be considered under SBIR?


Are data rights protected and for what length of time?

Data rights are protected by agencies for a period of not less than 4 years from delivery of the last deliverable.

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