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SBIR/STTR Programs

About SBIR/STTR programs

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.

More than 7,000 awards totaling $4 billion are distributed annually by 11 participating federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and NASA. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at

The Florida High Tech Corridor helps Florida’s small businesses tap into SBIR/STTR awards. Companies that are successful in securing SBIR/STTR awards and are engaged in research partnerships with UCF or USF may be eligible for matching funds from The Corridor’s Matching Grants Research Program.


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FL FAST: Florida’s First Centralized SBIR/STTR Support System for Entrepreneurs

Powered by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program, The Corridor’s “FL FAST” initiative is Florida’s first centralized support system for companies pursuing SBIR/STTR awards.

FL FAST serves small businesses statewide with an emphasis on women-owned, rural-based, and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses pursuing research and innovation activities in The Corridor’s 23-county region and beyond. Services include in-person and virtual workshops, and one-on-one assistance to meet business needs in key areas, such as topical award identification, budget preparation, proposal review, support letters and research partnerships. FL FAST also serves as an important resource for entrepreneurial support organizations, sharing resources, events, solicitations, legislative actions and other information relevant to driving SBIR/STTR outcomes.

To access training materials, webinars and other resources, please visit the Corridor's SBIR/STTR Resource Page. 

To register for upcoming webinars, training cohorts, or request direct support, please visit the Corridor's FL FAST page.

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The National Science Foundation runs a large SBIR/STTR program that covers a wide variety of topics. This is often a good starting point for companies interested in participating in this funding program for the first time. The NSF requires interested companies to submit a short project pitch before applying. Agency staff vet these pitches and will invite appropriate projects to apply for a Phase I award. Companies then have one year to submit a full proposal. You can learn more about the NSF Project Pitch process on their website and through the reference video below from The Corridor.

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SBIR/STTR Agency Specific Application Support Programs

Several federal agencies provide support and programming to assist first time applicants as they submit an SBIR/STTR proposal. Below is a summary of these programs. 

Assistance Programs:


National Institutes of Health (NIH) Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)

A free, guided 10-week program designed to help first time applicants. One of the main goals of the AAP is to increase participation in the SBIR and STTR programs by businesses that are owned or controlled by individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical sciences. Therefore, NIH is particularly interested in applications from socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses (SDB), women-owned small business (WOSB), and small businesses located in under-represented states.  

The AAP provides 10 weeks of coaching and customized assistance at no cost to participants. Selected small businesses can receive:  

  • Needs assessment/small business mentoring 
  • Assistance with required registrations 
  • Phase I application preparation support 
  • Application review 

More Information:

National Institute on Aging (NIA) Start-Up Challenge

The NIA has a strong commitment to fostering diversity in aging research-inspired entrepreneurship and in encouraging participation of underrepresented groups in the NIA SBIR/STTR programs. To support this commitment, NIA is hosting the Start-Up Challenge and Accelerator to stimulate innovation and foster diversity in aging research and development by providing cash prizes and non-cash prizes, such as strategic resources provided through an accelerator program, that will help participants overcome barriers to participating in life science entrepreneurship. The Challenge also aims to enhance equity in the NIA SBIR/STTR programs as a means of furthering the congressional goal of the SBIR/STTR programs to foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, and by women-owned small businesses, in technological innovation.  This Challenge invites submissions from researchers and entrepreneurs with a demonstrated need for entrepreneurial training and resources, who have innovative ideas for science-driven technologies and products that have the potential to increase the diversity of NIA-funded small business research and development. 

More Information:

Department of Energy Phase 0 Small Business Application Assistance

The U.S. DOE offers its Phase 0 services to a limited number of first-time DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I participants.  This support, provided by Dawnbreaker is designed to assist eligible small businesses navigate the complexities of the SBIR/STTR proposal process.  During each Phase I Release (normally July/October), DOE sponsors a full menu of services to a limited number of pre-approved small businesses. 

Selected small businesses can receive:  

  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Review
  • Registration Support
  • Phase I proposal preparation support
  • Market research
  • Phase I proposal review

More Information: 

Air Force APEX Program

Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Technology Transfer (STTR) process navigation services involve team matchmaking and consulting.  

  • Team matchmaking entails locating and connecting potential collaborators within the APEX network. 
  • Consulting entails supporting entrepreneurial and academic researchers with the best support possible during their pursuit of Department of the Air Force SBIR/STTR funding, from pre-proposal to post-award. 

APEX is funded by the Department of the Air Force to provide SBIR/STTR process navigation services at no cost to qualifying small businesses and academia nationwide. 

More Information: 

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Small Business Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)

The NIAID Small Business AAP will offer support for companies planning to apply for a NIAID Phase I, Phase II/IIB, Fast Track, or Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research STTR/ STTR Awards at no cost. NIAID encourages AAP participation from small businesses that are owned or operated by individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical sciences, such as women-owned small businesses, socially/economically disadvantaged small businesses, and companies located within Historically Under-utilized Business (HUB) Zones.

Participants in the NIAID AAP will work one-on-one with a Senior Consultant from Foresight Science & Technology, who will help you prepare your proposal with such services as Outlines and Checklist, Registration Guidance, Review and Feedback on Commercialization Plan, Research Strategy, Budget, and/or other Attachments.

More information:

Entrepreneurship and Grantsmanship Training Program for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Foresight Science & Technology is excited to be working alongside the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) in association with the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to provide training and resources for a new Innovator to Entrepreneur Program (ITEP). This program will benefit inventors developing technically sound, innovative products but having little to no experience in turning their inventions into a business and in business grantsmanship. ITEP will assist these aspiring entrepreneurs by providing them with cohort-based comprehensive training covering the key elements of company launch, business strategy development, IP protection, market research and customer discovery, startup financing and SBIR/STTR grantsmanship. This training will be provided at no cost to all participants.

More information:

NSF Resources

The NSF requires interested companies to submit a short project pitch before applying. Agency staff vet these pitches and will invite appropriate projects to apply for a Phase I award. The agency also hosts virtual office hours and recorded program overviews.

More Information: 

NASA Resources

NASA provides a detailed resource library organized by proposal Phases. Phase 0 (preapplication resources) include webinars and infographics on proposal submissions, common mistakes, tips, and budget guidance.

More Information: 

DoD Resources

The Department of Defense provides a broad range of resources for its branches SBIR/STTR program. Resources include job aids and proposal templates. 

More Information: 

National Institute on Aging (NIA) Resources

The NIA provides a range of small business applicant resources including: sample applications, tips for applicants, research priorities and more.  

More Information: 

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Sample Applications

Several NIAID investigators have graciously agreed to share their exceptional applications and summary statements as samples to help the research community. At the link you will find a list of applications, example forms, sharing plans, letters, emails, and more.  

See Sample Applications and More: 

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