Known as “America’s Seed Fund (TM),” the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program, or SBIR and STTR respectively, are federal grants overseen by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) that help researchers at small businesses continue working towards commercialization of their innovations. These highly competitive grants are often thought of as the bridge over the “valley of death”, or the period between the end of federally funded research and early stage investment from Angel or Seed investors.
At a recent Fundamental For Startups Friday talk, Jeanette Ennis, CoMotion’s Associate Director of Innovation Investments, provided an overview of the SBIR and STTR grant programs as well as tips on successful navigation of the application process. Dr. Ennis shared why one would seek out these grants over venture capital, described the three basic phases of the programs and explained the differences between the two. For example, SBIR allows, but does not require, the involvement of a non-profit research institution, while STTR requires the involvement of a non-profit research institution.