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America's Seed Fund Update for May 2021

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May 13, 2021
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May 2021

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Free Assistance for NIH SBIR/STTR Applications – Request by May 20  

The NIH Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) is aimed at helping small businesses apply for Phase I SBIR/STTR funding. Selected small businesses can participate in the program at no cost. Through AAP, companies can receive needs assessment/small business mentoring; Phase I application preparation support; and application review. The application portal closes May 20.  

MBDA InVision Tour: How Satellite Technology and New Infrastructure Can Build Smart Cities – May 19-20 

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) are hosting the How Satellite Technology and New Infrastructure Can Build Smart Cities event. Join the MBDA InVision Tour on May 19 and 20 to learn how you can shape the cities of tomorrow. May 20 technology breakout sessions feature SBIR Program Managers from DOT, DOE, NIH, NSF, and NASA.

Join 8th Annual ED Games Expo from Anywhere June 1 - 5 

The ED Games Expo, the Department of Education's annual public showcase and celebration of game-changing innovations in education technology, will be an all-virtual event this year. Attendees will have the opportunity to demo learning games and technologies and interact with developers virtually.  All of the education technologies at the ED Games Expo are developed with support of more than 30 programs in the Federal government, including the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs at the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Agriculture. Visit the new ED Games Expo 2021 page. | June 1-5, 2021 

Free Assistance for Air Force SBIR/STTR Proposals – Request by June 17 

The Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX), sponsored by the Air Force Research Lab, will accept proposals to participate in their DAF 21.2B SBIR/STTR Cohort from May 19-June 17. Entrepreneurs and research teams in the cohort will receive access to program briefings and pre- and post-award consulting services. Additional details are available from APEX, which is already accepting pre-registration for the cohort. 

SBA Celebrates and Supports AAPI-owned Small Businesses 

The White House issued a proclamation to recognize the history and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders across the Nation. To commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, SBA highlights resources, funding, and training available to all AAPI-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs.   

Save the DateNational SBIR Week is coming July 19 – 23! 

SBIR News & Updates

SBIR Entire Awards Database Available for Download now allows users to download its entire awards database through a single file. This file is updated monthly and can be used to support your evaluation, analysis, and general understanding of SBIR and STTR awards. The file may be accessed from the Data Resources page, under the awards section. You have the option of downloading a smaller file which contains all award data without abstracts, or the larger file which includes award abstracts. This information is also accessible via note in the Award Data page. 

NSF SBIR program doubles program representation over last decade

According to a memo by Third Way, the National Science Foundation saw women-owned businesses awarded nearly twice the rate of SBIR Phase I dollars in FY 2019 as in FY 2009, while socially- and economically-disadvantaged businesses increased from about 4 percent to 11 percent. The analysis is offered to support recommendations to improve representation in innovation programs at the Department of Energy. 

Majority of participating agencies non-compliant with SBIR spending requirements 

The most recent SBIR annual report by SBA concludes that a majority of participating federal agencies did not comply with the mandated minimum spending requirements for the SBIR/STTR programs. The SBA’s 2018 Annual Report provides a robust analysis of the award data for that year.  

House Small Business Committee Holds Hearing on SBIR/STTR 

The House Committee on Small Business will hold a hearing titled: “Overview of the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs” at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, May 13, with witnesses Dr. Joyce Tung of 23andMe, Ms. Pat Keady of Aerosol Devices Inc., Ms. Rebecca Todd of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, and Mr. Jere Glover of Small Business Technology Council. A livestream of the hearing will be available.  

Recently Opened SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities 

Dept. of Defense (DoD) SBIR 2021.2/ STTR 2021.B solicitations are currently in pre-release, and opens 5/19/2021. During pre-release, questions may be directed to technical points of contact topic authors. 

Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) 

Events & Education

8th Annual ED Games Expo (all virtual) | June 1-6 | More information  

MBDA InVision Tour: How Satellite Technology and New Infrastructure Can Build Smart CitiesMay 19 - May 20 / 1 - 3:30 p.m.(ET) | Register

University of Tennessee SBIR/STTR Programs Summit Attend this event to learn tips for working with universities in a research context under the SBIR/STTR Program. I May 24,     10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET) | More information 

Intro to the SBIR/STTR Program Learn about the requirements for program participation, methods for assessing qualifying technologies and research projects, and how to get started. | May 26 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (ET) | More information 

Creating Your SBIR/STTR Cost Proposal | May 27 9:30 a.m. to May 28 12:45 p.m. (ET) | More information 

ICYMI: 2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference Materials & Sessions Available through May 30 I Register for free to access the Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations materials on the application process, SBIR/STTR basics, and more. 

Overcoming Structural Barriers for Women in Entrepreneurship: A Workshop (Multi-Day Event) | June 21-22, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (ET) | More information 

Look for upcoming events at

R&D Spotlight

June 21-22 Overcoming Structural Barriers for Women in Entrepreneurship: A Virtual Workshop  

Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a dynamic virtual workshop on June 21-22, 2021, to explore the current structural barriers driving the underrepresentation of women entrepreneurs across science, technology, engineering, and medical industries and strategies to overcome these barriers. The two-day workshop will bring together experts and leaders to identify promising practices for advancing aspiring and current women entrepreneurs and provide insights on how stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem can address various structural barriers facing women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. Register and learn more about the event

Share Your Thoughts by July 6 on Methods and Leading Practices for Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through Government 

The Office of Management and Budget posted a broad RFI seeking opportunities and ideas for assisting agencies in conducting equity assessments in a variety of areas, including procurement as part of the implementation of Executive Order #13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The RFI will stay open for 60 days and seeks ideas from all stakeholders, including public, private, advocacy, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors, including State, local, Tribal, and territorial areas. Comments may be submitted by July 6 via the Federal Rulemaking Portal at​.  

Nominations Due July 30 for National Medal of Technology and Innovation  

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the 2021 National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI). The NMTI is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement and is presented to recipients by the President of the United States at a White House ceremony. Detailed information about the nomination guidelines, a preview of the nomination questions, and a link to the nomination form is available on the NMTI webpage. NMTI staff will hold a webinar to answer questions about the award and the nomination process on June 2 at noon ET. For more information and to register, please visit the event page on the USPTO website.

Useful Stats: Doctorate recipient labor force and R&D activities by field, 2015-2019 

Doctorate recipients play an essential role in developing the knowledge base leveraged in creating new technologies and companies in the innovation economy. SBIR/STTR-related programs such as diversity supplements grants, as well as I-Corps and other innovation-based experiential learning programs for graduate students can impact the career decisions of these young innovators. Understanding the employment trends of this vital group can help in crafting and deploying programs and policies to strengthen local innovation economies. Recent SSTI analysis shows that the overall employment outlook for doctorate degree recipients has improved from 2015 to 2019, while the research activities conducted by these highly trained and educated individuals has started to shift away from basic and applied research activities towards activities focused on design and development.

Highlights for Ecosystem Builders

Watch for information about the next Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program!  

Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) Workshop: Rural Apprenticeship Programs  - May 13 Representatives from USDA Rural Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Rural Water Association will participate in a panel discussion on how to develop and manage an apprenticeship program. 

Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) Workshop: Entrepreneurship and Workforce Training Opportunities for Tribal Communities - May 19  Representatives from USDA Rural Development and the National Center for American Enterprise Development will share resources and funding opportunities that can help create entrepreneurship and workforce training programs for tribal members 

STEM Apprenticeship Grants to Support Women  The U.S. Department of Labor announced a new funding opportunity of $3.5 million for up to 10 grants to increase and retain the number of women in quality Registered Apprenticeship Programs and nontraditional occupations such as those in the manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and healthcare industries. The grants will support community-based organizations to provide technical assistance to employers and labor unions to encourage employment of women via apprenticeships and other skills training programs.  Applications are due June 4, 2021

Racial Equity in STEM Education  The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) seeks to support bold, ground-breaking, and potentially transformative projects addressing systemic racism in STEM. Proposals should be led by, or developed and led in authentic partnership with, individuals and communities most impacted by the inequities caused by systemic racism. Proposals should advance racial equity in STEM education and workforce development through research and practice.  Contexts may include, but are not limited to: preK-12, two- and four-year undergraduate, and graduate institutions; municipal organizations; STEM workplaces; and informal STEM contexts, such as museums, community organizations, and media. Full proposals are due July 13 and October 12, 2021 and March 22, 2022.   

Check out more resources for SBIR Support Organizations at

Local Assistance - Meet FAST

The Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program funded 24 organizations this year, building the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through outreach, technical assistance, and financial support. Meet two of the FAST awardees:

The Montana Innovation Partnership provides tech-focused companies with a mix of free and fee-based services to assist with IP needs and SBIR/STTR proposals; micro-grants are available to assist some businesses with costs. 

Nebraska Business Development Center assists entrepreneurs of all types to launch and grow their businesses, whether through SBIR/STTR, government contracting, private financing or exports.   

Find local assistance near you at:

SBIR Success - Future Engineers Platform

Future Engineers  is an online, multi-challenge platform for administering educational contests and challenges in or outside of K–12 classrooms. Since its public launch in 2018 the Future Engineers platform has been used to organize 18 student challenges with more than 50,000 student participants, educators, and judges spanning all 50 states. It received a Phase I Institute of Education Sciences’ SBIR Award of $55,481 in 2016, a Phase II Award of $899,988 in 2017 and in 2019, NASA awarded Future Engineers a five-year, Phase III SBIR contract for Challenge Execution and Platform Development. Learn more about the platform and hear more from Founder/CEO Deanne Bell during the ED Games Expo, June 1-6. 

Get inspired by more SBIR company stories at and learn about all the 2020 Tibbetts Award winners at

SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities

Find more funding opportunities and specific topic areas at These are listed alphabetically by agency.

Dept. of Commerce (DOC) 

National Institute of Standards and Technology FY2021 Phase II.  Due 6/7/2021 

Dept. of Defense (DoD) – All open topics 

SBIR 21.2/STTR 21.B currently in pre-release. Opens 5/19/2021. Due 6/17/2021. 

Air Force 2021.4 

Army 2021.4  

Air Force SBIR X21.2/STTR X21.B opens 5/19/2021. Due 6/17/2021. 

DARPA BAA HR001121S0007 -08, 09Topics Open. Due 6/8/2021. 

  • Enduring Spatially-Continuous Sound Velocity Profiler 
  • Third Party Verification of COTS Compliance with Requirements 

Dept. of Energy (DOE) 

Reducing Emissions of Methane Every Day of the Year (REMEDY).  Concept papers are due 5/21/2021.   Full Application Submission Deadline: TBD   

Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) 

Begin planning now for September – Learn about the NIH Applicant Assistance Program – portal closes 5/20/21. 

New targeted funding announcements: 

Additional targeted funding opportunities from HHS on specific topics with various upcoming due dates can be found here

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF SBIR and STTR Phase I. Project Pitches are always accepted. Remaining submission window close dates: 6/3/2021, 9/2/2021, and 12/2/2021.

About America's Seed Fund Update

Our goal is to provide a range of information that will be valuable to the SBIR/STTR programs’ various stakeholders, and future issues will include features on program data, impacts and policies, and more. If you have suggestions, let us know at

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About SBA Office of Innovation and Technology

The U.S. Small Business Administration serves as the coordinating agency for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs - also known as America's Seed Fund. SBA also manages the related Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program and Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Learn more at 

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