SBIR Road Tour Returns to Little Rock, Presents Opportunity for Arkansas Science and Technology Entrepreneurs

February 13th, 2018 by Rebecca Todd

SBIR Road Tour graphicThe 2018 National SBIR Road Tour will return to Little Rock on April 18. This half-day event will bring leaders of the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer competitive funding programs to our state to meet with science and technology entrepreneurs.

The Road Tour visited Arkansas for the first time in 2016. The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is honored to again host the event at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The hallmark of the Road Tour is the opportunity for entrepreneurs to engage SBIR/STTR leaders face-to-face.

During one-on-one sessions, you will have the rare chance to share your research ideas with SBIR/STTR program managers and learn how your ideas align with the federal agencies’ areas of interest and missions. This direct agency-level feedback is invaluable for crafting winning proposals.

Who should attend?

• Entrepreneurial university researchers interested in commercialization
• Members of industry who are in the early to intermediate stages of research and development of new products or services
• Leaders of companies that have previously won SBIR/STTR awards and are interested in exploring new funding opportunities

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Who’s a candidate for SBIR/STTR funding?

SBIR/STTR provides $2.5 billion annually in federal funding for research by small companies. Each agency within SBIR and STTR has particular research topic areas of interest. Qualified proposals must respond to at least one of the research topic areas in order to be considered for award.

To find out if your research focus has historically been of interest to any SBIR/STTR agencies, a best practice is to conduct keyword searches for closed topics and prior awards via SBIR.gov. You should check back regularly to see if new awards have been made in your field of interest. Details about how to conduct these searches and why can be found here.

Your project idea may be relevant for multiple agencies. The best way to find out what agency to target first is to meet with them in person at the SBIR Road Tour.

My company has won federal awards before. What can this event offer me?

Congratulations on your past success. If you plan to continue to apply for federal awards, why not take advantage of any resources that could help increase your chances of winning? SBIR/STTR is highly competitive, and the application process is also time-consuming and requires a great deal of planning.

Meeting program managers in person has several benefits for previous awardees. This is an opportunity for companies to solidify existing relationships with their funding agencies by sharing research progress and milestone achievements towards new technology development.

SBIR/STTR program managers love to hear success stories and share them at venues such as the National SBIR/STTR Conference. Large prime contractors and investors attend these conferences and may hear your company’s success story. Such exposure is invaluable for many new technology companies.

Since many of the agencies have more than one program manager, the Road Tour is also an opportunity to meet new representatives in person and grow your professional relationships.

Companies with strong success records in SBIR/STTR still face challenges when preparing proposals to develop new or complementary products/services. Through face-to-face conversations with agency program managers, you can gain valuable insights about how to most effectively present plans to use SBIR/STTR funding to develop complementary technology.