Over the past two years, Supplierty News has kept track of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  The SBIR program was designed to help US small businesses conduct research and development while also supporting STEM innovation in efforts to further the US economy.  The program was created to select qualified businesses in three phases.  An example includes the Department of Energy, a participating organization in the SBIR:

  • Phase I – The startup phase makes awards of up to $150,000. The award goes to startups who have shown “technical feasibility for innovation.”
  • Phase II – $1 million in awards are granted for a minimal of two years. Research and development is performed during this time with an evaluation for commercialization potential.
  • Phase III – During the final phase, the company is expected to move from the lab into the marketplace. “The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-SBIR federal agency funding which has no time limit or dollar amount

With the first two phases now completed, the General Services Administration announced in July that the organization would “manage and grant awards under the third phase of the Small Business Innovation Research program”.  Currently, 13 agencies participate in the SBIR program:

  1. The Small Business Administration
  2. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  3. The Department of Commerce
  4. The Department of Defense
  5. The Department of Education
  6. The Department of Energy
  7. The Department of Health and Human Services
  8. The Department of Homeland Security
  9. The Department of Transportation
  10. The Environmental Protection Agency
  11. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  12. The National Science Foundation
  13. The National Institute for Standards and Technology

The reason for the change is to compensate for a lack of resources for some departments.

According to Mark Lee, Federal Acquisition Service assistant commissioner in the Office of Policy and Compliance, “Many of those agencies lack a dedicated contracting shop to support these three SBIR contracts, so having an assisted acquisition to reform these contracts on behalf of those agencies sets off a dedicated support area, really after the shared service offering across government.”