It's hard to believe that we are doing this again (and as many of you recall, we recently wrote on the push in Washington to make the SBIR/STTR Programs permanent), but the programs are once again up for reauthorization, and it's time for all contractors to get involved in the effort to keep these vital programs alive (before they are set to expire in 2017)!Read More
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The annual National SBIR/STTR Conference is schedule for June 16 thru 18 in the Washington DC area (National Harbor, MD). I think it is worth talking about here in the blog. this venue is an excellent chance for small businesses to learn more about the program and to enhance their chances for success in winning awards from the various agencies that participate.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 re-authorized the SBIR & STTR programs but also made some changes to the programs. The SBA published a preliminary Policy Directive on August 6th, 2012 and requested additional comments from Small Businesses. These comments were collected through October 5th, 2012. The Policy directive was updated based on these comments and authorized on December 26, 2013 and made effective on January 8, 2014. These directives now define how the laws passed in the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 will be implemented. What do these changes mean to small business? I wanted to summarize the changes here. ReliAscent will be releasing some Whitepapers on some of the more involved changes.
Funding a small start-up business is one of the most difficult hurdles a new business owner faces. At this point the financing options are limited. Usually either the 4 F's (Founder, Family, Friends & Fools) or SBIR/STTR money is the only way to fund a very early development effort. Since there is a limit on the amount of funding available from the 4 F's, the SBIR program was designed to help American companies get their technology funded in early stages. As a result, more and more small businesses are taking advantage of this non-dilutive source of funding. The cost of doing business with the Federal Government, however, is real, significant and many times non-compliance with regulations can spell disaster for a small business. Heck, it can be problematic for large companies too. So what is the small business owner to do?
ReliAscent recently attended, exhibited and presented at the National SBIR/STTR conference in Portland, OR. One of the most valuable things for small businesses was the One-on-One sessions with SBIR Federal Agency Managers and the Speed Networking with the same individuals. For those of you that weren't able to attend, you should strongly consider attending this conference next year; just for this opportunity. You can discuss the agency needs, how it aligns with your capabilities, the specifics of how to best find partners and how to apply for these grants and awards.
Recently Laurie Wilson and I gave a presentation at the local NDIA meeting about the SBIR/STTR program. I got to thinking that there are probably a lot of people out there that don't know the full story of the programs. I thought it might be worthwhile to go over the history of the program here briefly. In a future blog, we may go into more details but this is a quick overview.