Small Business Program Eligibility

Startup companies and small businesses must meet specific criteria to be eligible to apply for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program award funding. Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications to SBIR/STTR solicitations. A small business concern is defined as one that, at the time of the Phase I and Phase II award, meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;
  2. Is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there must be less than 50% participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;
  3. (i)SBIR and STTR.  Be a concern which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these; OR
    (ii) SBIR-only.  Be a concern which is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these.  No single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm may own more than 50% of the concern; OR
    (iii) SBIR and STTR. Be a joint venture in which each entity to the joint venture must meet the requirements set forth in paragraph 3(i) or 3(ii) of this section. A joint venture that includes one or more concerns that meet the requirements of paragraph (ii) of this section must comply with § 121.705(b) concerning registration and proposal requirements.
  4. Has, including its affiliates, fewer than 500 employees.

For the latest eligibility criteria, including multiple venture capital ownership, please see the Small Business Administration's Eligibility Guide for detailed information.

Small businesses that meet all of the above criteria are invited to begin the application process.