We Help By: Securing Grants


After more than two decades of existence, the SBIR Program has established itself as one of the most effective technology programs in the federal government. SBIR/STTR programs are highly competitive and encourage small businesses to explore their technological potential. SBIR/STTR funding is available from 11 participating agencies throughout the United States and focus on various technological areas.




How We Help

Support of SBIR / STTR programs remains critical to attracting federal dollars to the State and funding early-stage technology ventures. Current assistance includes the following three components:

  • We cannot provide any commitment letters indicating financial support. However, we can provide a letter explaining that SBIR/STTR awards are integral elements of the continuum of funding of which the 21 Fund itself is a part. We can say that we expect your Phase I and phase II projects to position you for a future direct 21 Fund award. Such letter on the IEDC letterhead will be useful to the business reviewers, since it indicates an intention by your State to continue your commercialization trajectory beyond phase II.
  • In addition, the 21 Fund provides pre-submission technical review of late drafts of SBIR / STTR proposals at no cost to the applicants.
  • For Indiana companies in receipt of federal SBIR / STTR Phase I awards, we provide a Foresight Technology Assessment, which is useful for development of the Phase II business plan.

To request any of above-mentioned assistance, please use Elevate Ventures' Apply Page, select Advice, and upload the documents according to the following guidelines.

Assistance Type Upload under "Additional Documents" Type under "Additional Thoughts or Comments"
Application support letter Filled out template Support letter
Pre-submission technical review Proposal draft and agency solicitation Pre-submission technical review
Foresight Technology Assessment Winning proposal and agency award letter Foresight Technology Assessment


Download our SBIR/STTR Handbook



SBIR Qualifications

Small businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria to participate in the SBIR program. They are as follows:

  • Organized for-profit US business independently operated
  • Principal Investigator must be 51% employed by business
  • Company size limited to 500 employees or less, including affiliates
  • PI's employment must be with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the project period
  • Subsidiaries are NOT eligible for STTR program



Participating Federal Agencies

Agency SBIR/STTR
Department of Defense SBIR/STTR
Department of Health and Human Services SBIR/STTR
NASA SBIR/STTR
Department of Energy SBIR/STTR
National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR
Department Homeland Security SBIR
Department of Agriculture SBIR
Department of Commerce SBIR
Department of Education SBIR
Environment Protection Agency SBIR
Department of Transportation SBIR
About SBIR / STTR

Congress created the SBIR Program in 1982 with the following goals:


  • Stimulate Technological Innovation
  • Increase Private Sector Commercialization of Federal R&D
  • Increase Small Business Participation in Federally Funded R&D
  • Foster Participation by Minority and Disadvantaged Firms in Technology Innovation


The program is the largest source of early stage technology financing in the United States and targets the entrepreneurial sector because that is where innovation thrives. The program is driven by solicitations that publish topics addressing the technological needs of the participating agency. After the submission of proposals, the agencies will make awards based on the evaluation of the submission against a set of key criteria points. Those small businesses that receive awards will then begin a three phased program.


  • PHASE I: The Startup Phase. Awards are up to $100K for approximately 6 months supporting and reporting on the feasibility of the idea or technology.
  • PHASE II: Prototype Phase. Awards are up to $750K for approximately 24 months, expanding upon the Phase I findings. During this time the true R&D work is performed and the evaluation of commercialization potential is addressed. Only Phase I awardees can be invited to participate.
  • PHASE III: Commercialization Phase. Non-SBIR funded transition. This is the phase that moves the technology/product from the lab to the marketplace.

Each agency is able to set policy and administer their program individually. These differences are one of the critical pieces of the process to understand. They range from highly specific topics from the contracting agencies to less specific topics from the granting agencies. The chart below will provide a quick glance into the differences and provide important information on each agencies specific process. Always remember to check with the agencies.