Research (SBIR) Program

SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small business to explore their technological potential, and provides incentive for them to profit from commercializing their innovations.

Though innovators often thrive in the entrepreneurial sector, the risk and expense of conducting serious research and development (R&D) efforts are often beyond the means of small businesses. By reserving a percentage of federal R&D funds for small business, SBIR protects small businesses and enables them to compete on the same level as larger businesses.

Each year, 10 federal departments and agencies are required by SBIR to reserve a portion of their R&D funds for award to small businesses. These agencies designate R&D topics, and accept proposals on these topics. After the proposals are submitted, agencies make SBIR awards based on small business qualification, degree of innovation, technical merit, and future market potential.

SBIR funds the critical startup and development stages of technologies, products, and services. It encourages their commercialization which, in turn, stimulates our economy.

Small business must meet certain eligibility criteria to participate in the SBIR program:

  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For-profit
  • Principal researcher employed by the business
  • Company size limited to 500 employees

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) plays an important role as the coordinator of this program. It directs the agencies’ implementation of SBIR, reviews their progress, and reports annually to Congress on program operation. SBA collects solicitation information from all participating agencies and publishes it quarterly in a Pre-Solicitation Announcement.

For more information on the SBIR program,contact:

US Small Business Administration Office of Technology
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416
Telephone: 202-205-6450
Web site: