The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is sponsored by eleven federal agencies, including the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Defense (DoD). These organizations are obligated to contribute 2.5 percent of their annual R&D budget to fund entrepreneurs and small businesses performing research. This means that about $2.5 billion/year in grants (with no obligation to repay and no dilution of equity) are available to fund small businesses under this program. SBIR funds can be used for just about any industry: life science, physical sciences, information technology, or even education technology. A sister program known as Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) allows for R&D to be performed in partnership with a University or non-profit research institution. SBIR/STTR grants may exceed $1 million, and are typically provided over two distinct phases:

  • Phase I award: typically provides about $150,000 for feasibility studies and proof-of-concept experimentation.
  • Phase II awards: If Phase I proves successful, the company may be invited to apply for a Phase II award providing upwards of $1 million over multiple years. Phase II expands upon the initial Phase I results and further develops the concept, usually to the prototype stage. Only Phase I awardees are eligible to participate.

The NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and other organizations host workshops that cover all aspects of SBIR and STTR proposal preparation. For more information about the NYCEDCs workshops, visit: For more information on the SBIR and STTR programs, visit To sign up for alerts for SBIR/STTR solicitations that relate to your field, go to