SBIR and STTR Program Resources


UH and HTDC Innovate Hawaii are partnering to identify and engage next-gen entrepreneurs and startups to evolve into SBIR companies, providing federal SBIR/STTR funding opportunities, and growing the SBIR pipeline enhancing the productivity and technological performance of Hawai‘i’s manufacturing industry.

Upcoming Events

SBIR/STTR application season is coming up!  UH + HTDC are offering several exciting workshops, mixers and information sessions on SBIR/STTR opportunities, SBIR/STTR 101, commercialization strategies, and intellectual property basics.

About SBIR and STTR

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are federal programs to fund small businesses in support of performing and commercializing high-risk Research and Development Activities (R&D).

SBIR is intended for small businesses and STTR is a collaborative research and development effort between a research institution and a small business. An STTR allows for the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) to be primarily employed by the research institution, and requires:

  • an agreement regarding intellectual property ownership between the small business and research institution and
  • That at least 30% of the R&D be carried out by the research institution and 40% by the small business.

In 2017 the SBIR Program committed $2.7 billion towards 12 participating Federal Agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Education (ED) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). See a full list of participating agencies on the the SBIR website.

Phase I funds are typically between $50,000-$250,000 with a performance period of 9-18 months (depending on the funding agency), and Phase II may fund programs over $1 million dollars for multiple years.

Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to further funding. Phase I awards are generally $50,000 – $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).Phase II is to continue R&D efforts initiated in Phase I and is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for 2 years.

Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R&D activities. The SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III, however at some agencies Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

Federally registered small businesses which

  • Are organized for profit;
  • Are at least 50% owned and controlled by US citizens or legal permanent residents or
  • Are owned by other business concerns which are at least 50% owned and controlled by US citizens or legal permanent residents
  • Have no more than 500 employees

Research Institutions which

  • Are located in the US
  • Are one of the following:
    • Nonprofit college or university
    • Nonprofit Research Organization
    • Federally Funded Research & Development Center (FFRDC)

For more information on eligibility requirements download the compliance guide.

  1. Register for an account at This will be used to login to
  2. Register with the System of Award Management (SAM). SAM lets your small business do work with the Federal Government, check your status, or look up information about another entity.
  3. Request a DUNS number at
  4. Find your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code.
  5. Register for an account on

Search the SBIR/STTR website for open solicitations & respond to one (or more) that fits your small business. Open solicitations can be found at

Hawaii small businesses can purchase a CoGS from the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs through the Hawaii Business Express website.


Proposals should go beyond plans to commercialize or find other uses for existing technologies – it should develop their own fundamentally new and/or high risk ideas. These technologies need not be fully refined; a formulation of a technology or application as premature as Technology Readiness Level 2 (TLR 2) is sufficient for consideration. However, some preliminary data demonstrating the feasibility from either a commercial or technological standpoint, or both are highly encouraged.

Proposals should not only be about performing technology development and its implications, it needs to balance this against the market research and/or commercialization component. Each Federal agency has their own guidelines, review the sponsoring agency’s guidelines before starting your proposal.

Plan for your submission – review the windows for each agency at

For more information, see the Technology Readiness Assessment Guide by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Additional Resources

About HTDC Innovate Hawaii

Attached to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), HTDC is a dynamic state agency with a mission to fortify and diversify Hawaii’s economy through growing and assisting local technology startups. The HTDC Innovate Hawaii Program (Innovate Hawaii) was established to provide expertise and services tailored support the state’s small and medium-sized manufacturers and pre-manufacturers in R&D to enhance their productivity, growth, and technical performance through programs and services across the islands. The program provides assistance with manufacturing systems and methods, strategic planning and implementation, business development, process analysis, and technology commercialization. Information on HTDC’s SBIR/STTR support programs can be found at