America’s Seed Fund – SBIR/STTR

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Product or Service Name:
America’s Seed Fund – SBIR/STTR
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Product or Service Description:
Did you know over $4 billion in federal research and development (R&D) funding each year supports innovative entrepreneurs building out high-risk, next generation technologies? America’s Seed Fund has become an important resource for a wide range of startups, researchers, and innovators working on big ideas but lacking access to capital.

Background- America’s Seed Fund, better known to some as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, has been around for almost 40 years. The programs span 11 federal agencies with significant external R&D budgets, a percentage of which provides early stage funding to roughly 5,000 small businesses a year.

The two programs are coordinated by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), who is charged with helping small businesses start and grow. SBA’s Office of Innovation and Technology sets the guiding policy across the SBIR/STTR agencies, provides training and outreach, and most notably, funds and supports organizations within the innovation ecosystem to build the SBIR/STTR pipeline. Potential applicants benefit from specialized assistance and mentoring, and we work with a variety of entities to ensure access regardless of geography.

How Does it Work – SBIR/STTR funding is designed to explore new, innovative ideas, not products currently ready to go to market. The programs provide rather broad opportunities for small businesses to access capital when they are not a fit for investment or financing due to the early nature of their technologies. The two programs have the same base structure and goals with a fundamental difference in eligibility, as the STTR program requires a specific level of participation from a nonprofit research institution. Both programs allow small businesses to compete for cash awards in a wide range of technology areas: from space exploration to biomedical products, advanced robotics to ag-tech, energy to artificial intelligence, national security, and more. Some of the big names (that started out small in the program) include Qualcomm, Symantec, 23&Me, iRobot, and Ilumina.

Why are we reaching out to WBCs
– Goal of the programs to increase participation from women and minority entrepreneurs
– Women’s Study: https://www.nwbc.gov/2020/08/12/womens-inclusion-in-small-business-innovation-research-small-business-technology-transfer-programs/

What can SBA provide?
– Training and funding for SBIR support organizations: www.sbir.gov/support-organizations
Organization Name:
U.S. Small Business Administration
Point of Contact:
technology@sba.gov

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