In order to be eligible for a SBIR award, businesses must:
- Be American-owned and independently operated
- Be for-profit
- Employ the principal researcher of the technology being developed
- Have 500 or less employees
The SBIR program occurs in three stages. First, federal money is awarded to the company for research into the merit of the technology. Second, additional money is awarded for the development of the technology. The third step is commercializing the new technology, which the company must fund without any federal awards.
The SBIR program is coordinated by the Small Business Administration.
Compare with STTR.