Looking for funds to help support research and development for your small business? Do you have a good idea and are looking for financial support to turn the idea into reality? There is a great way to boost your small business with a grant program, yes – that means you do not have to pay it back.
Check out this two government sponsored program: the Small Business Innnovation Research (SBIR) Program.
The SBIR program is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore technology potential while providing the incentive of providing funds to research and then turn the concept into reality. SBIR funds the critical startup and development phases to serve a specific government need and then help the small business commercialize the concept into a product. And the small business maintains ownership of the product.
The SBIR program protects and enables it to compete equally with much larger companies. The program was enacted in 1982 and has helped thousands of small businesses to compete for federal research and development awards.
There are ten federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program:
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Defense
- Department of Education
- Department of Energy
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Transportation
- Environmental Protection Agency
- National Science Foundation
Government agencies typically announce one or two solicitations per year. Only small, for-profit, American-owned, and independently operated businesses will be considered. There are two phases, with an initial six-month Phase I award up to $100,000 to test the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of a new product concept.
If Phase I is successful, the company may be invited to apply for a two-year Phase II award up to $750,000 to bring the concept into reality to at least the prototype stage. Following completion of Phase II the small business is expected to obtain funding from private sector sources for the final Phase III when the product is offered for sale to private and government sectors.
When you are attending a business matchmaking event you will want to schedule an appointment with a representative from one of the above organizations and ask them about about upcoming SBIR opportunities.
Don’t think you have the stuff to write this type of proposal? Sometimes it makes sense to hire a special grant writer who has experience in writing SBIR applications. Do a Google search to locate local grant writers who can provide you with references from other small business owners with whom they have successfully worked for.