Monday, July 25, 2016

New Resource for Small Businesses Seeking R&D Funding

The SBA (Small Business Administration) has released a new set of online tutorials to help small businesses navigate the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program. Small businesses can learn about the program through a combination of videos and text. Best of all, there is no registration, no fees and no restrictions on who can access the site.

Within the tutorials, there are ten courses comprised of more than fifty modules. The courses include:

  • SBIR/STTR program basics
  • Government agencies that use the program (including differences in implementations)
  • Agency solicitations
  • How to find R&D topics
  • Registration requirements
  • Preparing a responsive proposal (good topic for everyone, not just SBIR solicitations)
  • Finding partners
  • Accounting and finance (many companies find out too late their systems are not adequate)
  • SBIR data rights
  • Cybersecurity for small business
There are several modules under each course. The "Accounting and Finance" course, for example, includes the following four modules:
  1. FAQ regarding budgeting basics
  2. What are the requirements of an approved accounting system?
  3. What are indirect rates and how do I develop them?
  4. What are eligible and ineligible expenses?
While these modules tend to be somewhat basic, they are succinct descriptions and introductions to companies considering the opportunities afforded through the SBIR program. They at least set forth the Government's expectations of the business systems contractors will need before acceptance into the program. If you have innovative ideas from tinkering around in your garage but have no company or business infrastructure, you're probably not going to get too far. On the other hand,  the barriers to entry are not too high so that with a modicum of organizational structure, you might attract some Government funding for your R&D ideas.

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