Pursuing SBIR/STTR funding is a strategic business decision that requires an assessment of the firm’s research resources and capabilities, research partnerships, academic and/or industry, coupled with its product development and commercialization plan.  This Self-Assessment is intended to help you determine your eligibility and readiness for the programs.

Is your small business eligible? 

  • Does your business meet the SBIR/STTR eligibility requirements? To review these requirements, visit https://www.sbir.gov/applicant.
  • In general, the following questions are necessary to make a tentative decision.
  • Is your business organized as a for-profit entity?
  • Is your principal place of business located in the United States?
  • Is the majority (more than 50%) of your firms’ equity (e.g. stock) is directly owned and controlled by one of the following?
    • One or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident alien of the U.S.
    • Other for-profit small business concerns (each of which is directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident alien of the U.S.)
    • A combination of (1) and (2).
    • Multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these, so long as no one such firm owns or controls more than 50% of the equity.
    • None of the above.
  • Does your business have less than 500 employees, including affiliates?

Commercialization Opportunity and Strategy

  • Where do you intend to market your product?
  • What is the potential size of the customer market? Approximately how many people will benefit from this product?
  • What kind of relationships have you developed with potential customers?
  • Who are the potential competitors in the market? Who are potential partners?
  • What steps have you taken towards intellectual property protection?

Technology and Market Need

  • How does the proposed technology address an existing need in the field of interest?
  • Has the need for the technology or application of technology been identified and quantified? (Measuring the need for the technology requires research of current scientific resources.)
  • Have you identified end-users of your technology solution?

Deep Tech Innovation

  • Is the technology state-of-the-art?
  • How does it compare to existing or alternate technologies?
  • Has the technological innovation been reviewed by outside sources and experts to evaluate its scientific and commercial potential?

Scientific and Technical Team  

  • What are the credentials of the lead researcher (Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD)) in the company?
  • Do you need staff with expertise in the technological field of interest to perform the proposed work effort beyond the PI/PD?
  • What particular skill set or level of expertise can each staff member contribute to the project?
  • Does your PI/PD meet the statutory employment requirements of the SBIR/STTR programs?
  • Does the PI/PD have peer-reviewed publications? (It is not necessary; however, it is quite helpful.)
  • What is the background and expertise of the PI/PD?
  • Do you have a scientific advisory board?

Research Approach

  • What are the technical questions that must be answered to demonstrate technical feasibility?
  • What are the technical objectives or specific aims of the proposed research effort?
  • Have you outlined an action plan with task-specific due dates and personnel in charge of each task?
  • Have alternative technologies or methods for using the proposed technology been identified?

Research and Development Resources and Capabilities

  • What are the scientific and technical capabilities of the company and the team?
  • What research and development capabilities to successfully execute a federal research effort?
  • Is the proposed research be performed in the United States?

Scientific and Technical Literature Review and Analysis

  • Have you conducted a thorough review of scientific literature related to the proposed project?
  • Have you reviewed sample SBIR/STTR proposals? (Google search for SBIR/STTR proposals)
  • Have you reviewed the specific SBIR/STTR program criteria for each federal agency of interest?
  • Have you investigated previous SBIR/STTR awards given to companies that have conducted similar research in the past? (Searching through previous award winners can reveal specific areas of interest for each federal agency. Go to SBIR.gov Award Database)

Facilities, Equipment, and Expertise

  • Does the firm have internal facilities, equipment, and expertise to carry out the proposed research and development effort?
  • Does the firm have access to external facilities, equipment, and expertise to carry out the proposed research and development effort?
  • Does the firm need strategic partnerships with other companies, federal laboratories, universities, etc. to support the proposed project?

Financing Strategy

  • Are there plans to access other funding from angel groups, venture capitalists, or other financing sources to support the commercialization plan?

Revenue Model

  • Does the company have a well thought out business model to demonstrate a reasonable revenue model?