Small Business Resources: Applicants
The following resources may be helpful to small business considering SBIR and STTR funding.
Tips for Applying for Small Business Funding
Small business representatives may benefit from additional guidance when they embark on the application process for SBIR and STTR programs. Here are some tips that can help streamline the process:
- Understand SBIR/STTR programs: Familiarize yourself with the SBIR and STTR program eligibility criteria, find valuable information about the program structure, and view recent webinars to learn more about the selection process and review criteria.
- NIH SBIR & STTR Website: This website provides a wealth of information and resources for the SBIR and STTR programs at NIH.
- Clear all administrative requirements: Register your small business with SAM.gov (including your Unique Entity Identifier or UEI), Grants.gov, SBA Company Registry, and NIH eRA Commons as soon as possible. Principal investigators also must individually register with NIH eRA Commons. If you are eligible to certify as a women-owned small business, consider getting certified. Certification information is used for federal tracking purposes only to help NCATS and other NIH institutes and centers gain a better understanding of applicant demographics.
- Check out these tutorials & FAQs:
- Identify SBIR/STTR funding opportunities: Review our open SBIR and STTR grant and contract funding opportunities and topics of interest. Companies that focus on multiple priority areas or on topics not listed are strongly encouraged to contact NCATS-SBIRSTTR@mail.nih.gov to ensure the technology is relevant and of priority to NCATS.
- Understand which topics increase budgets: NIH SBA-Approved SBIR/STTR Topic Budget Waivers
- Submit on time: Applications can take up to three months to complete and submit. Reduce last-minute stress by planning ahead.
- Check out these resources on how to submit an application:
For more information, review the NIH SBIR Application Process Infographic.
Applicant Assistance Program
A free, guided 10-week program designed to help first-time applicants.
Did you know that there is support available for small businesses that have not previously received funding? The NIH SBIR and STTR programs strive to bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds and skill sets to solve complex problems. However, NIH recognizes that new applicants may need help navigating the grant application process. The Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) provides support and guidance to first-time small business 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, women-owned small business and small businesses located in underrepresented 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
Sample SBIR/STTR Applications from NIH
If you are new to writing grant applications, sometimes seeing how someone else has presented their idea can help as you are developing your own application. With the gracious permission of successful investigators, some institutes have provided samples of funded applications, summary statements, sharing plans, leadership plans and more.
When referencing these resources, it is important to remember:
- These applications were developed using the application forms and instructions that were in effect at the time of their submission. Forms and instructions change regularly. Read and carefully follow the instructions in the notice of funding opportunity to which you are responding and the current application instructions carefully.
- The best way to present your science may differ substantially from the approach taken by those who wrote the example applications. Seek feedback on your draft application from mentors and others.
- Samples are not available for all grant programs. Many programs have common elements, and the available samples can still provide helpful information.
- Email the NCATS-SBIRSTTR@mail.nih.gov for advice and to determine if your proposed technology fits the NCATS mission.