SBIR and STTR funding is intended for R&D funding, but if your SBIR award is to have its maximum impact on your company’s development, the technology/product must be converted into a revenue-generator. Contradiction? Not at all.
As it happens, your funding agency has the same goal and, as a result, several agencies (e.g., DOD, HHS, DOE, NSF) have started Commercialization Assistance Programs (CAPs) over the past several years [for Army, Navy, and Air Force the term is Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP)]. Depending on the agency, CAPs are available to both Phase I and Phase II awardees and provide services by independent consultants in defined subject areas. Typically, slots are limited so be certain to consult your SBIR/STTR program manager about the agency’s application procedures and deadlines to insure your participation.
The latest reauthorization of the SBIR/STTR programs has added a new option. Applicants can now request an additional $5,000 per year to pay for commercialization assistance by the consultant of their choice. This budget item is above and beyond the maximum budget limits. For example, a Phase II proposal that requests the maximum budget to execute its technical plan, can add an extra $10,000 for commercialization assistance over the two-year project. This expense must be described in the Budget Justification and supported by a letter of commitment from the consultant that will provide the assistance. Carefully review your specific Funding Opportunity Announcement to be certain this option is available in your situation. BBCetc is also available to help with your commercialization needs.
Michael Kurek is a Partner, BBCetc Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting