If you have formed a small company and are looking for a way to grow the business and have exhausted your capital sources, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is worth taking a look at as a way to fund continued development.
It is a highly competitive program that encourages US based small businesses to engage in research and development projects that may have the potential for commercialization.
The SBIR Program is structured in three phases:
Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed effort and to determine the quality of performance of your company prior to providing further federal support in Phase II. SBIR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 and the contract period is usually less than 6 months.
Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the effort initiated in Phase I. The award and the amount thereof is based upon the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000and the contract period is usually 2 years.
Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the previous activities. The SBIR program does not fund Phase III. However one of the participating agencies may contract with your company for production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.
SBIR Program Eligibility
Only US small businesses are eligible to participate in the SBIR program. Business must meet all of the following criteria at the time of Phase I and II awards:
Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States;
At least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States, or
At least 51 percent owned and controlled by another for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States; and;
No more than 500 employees, including affiliates.
Currently, eleven Federal agencies participate in the program:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce – National Institute of Standards and Technology
Department of Commerce – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
The Web site is: http://www.sbir.gov
Hamblett and Kerrigan, PA is well positioned to help your company navigate the process and negotiate with the respective government agencies. We have successfully represented many recipients of Phase I and Phase II awards and have the required expertize if the area of government contracting.
Paul D. Creme is an attorney with Hamblett & Kerrigan PA. His practice is focused on business and corporate law. Of particular interest are the areas of software and emerging technologies. You can reach Attorney Creme at [email protected].