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Eligibility

Quickly check your eligibility status to find out if you can apply for SBIR funding.

SBIR is designed to support small U.S. businesses doing innovative research. Several rules—including size limits, ownership structure, the role of the principal investigator and partnerships with other organizations—determine whether a particular company is eligible.

PLEASE NOTE: The 2011 Reauthorization Act made several key changes to the SBIR Program relating to eligibility, the SBIR award process, and SBIR Program administration. If you have pre-2011 SBIR experience, it may not apply now. Generally speaking, however, the new rules have broadened eligibilities.

To check if your business is NOW eligible for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR funding, ask yourself:

  • Is your organization (the one proposing a project) a for-profit company with 500 or fewer employees (i.e. a small business)?
  • Do you own 50% or more of your company?
  • If you do not yet have a company, would you be able to establish a for-profit company (sole proprietor, LLC etc.), obtain a DUNs number and a SAMS account before the final application deadline?

If you answered YES to the questions above, then SBIR is for you.

  • If you plan to apply for an STTR award? –SEE STTR NOTE below

STTR NOTE: Unless you have a strong connection to a research university or national laboratory and a clear understanding of the STTR program, we recommend that you focus on applying for SBIR. The SBIR and STTR are sister programs with many similarities, but one important difference: STTR supports small businesses that plan to work closely with a university with a minimum of 40% of the effort by the small business and 30% of the effort by the institution. Because STTR funding is around 15% of the total, there are far fewer STTR awards