Can Your Technology Clear the Innovation Hurdle?
By Austin Dean, BBCetc Principal Consultant

Product innovation is widely cited as a key component of any successful SBIR/STTR proposal. In fact, the term is sandwiched into the program's name "Small Business Innovation Research". Peruse any of the 11 federal agency websites, and you will find product innovation listed as essential review criteria. Hint: this is important!

The problem with "innovation" is that the term is ill defined and highly subjective based on who you ask and the websites you read. Don't attempt to Google your way to enlightenment, the path is a dark rabbit hole filled with INC. magazine quotes and flow charts that ultimately leave you pondering, "How can I tell if my product is innovative?"

Thankfully, gives us clues on what they look for in an innovative product or service:

"The emphasis on innovation implies that you are proposing a novel approach to pressing problems or needs identified by an agency. The approach proposed should be unproven and involve an element of technical risk. You must clearly identify the innovation in your proposal. In order to demonstrate an innovation, you must show an understanding of the current state of the art. You must review the literature and contrast your approach with that of conventional wisdom."

Based on this statement we can break down their definition of innovation into three categories: relevancy, approach, and state of the art. Read on
Five Tips for Preparing Your SBIR/STTR Budget
A proper budget can be an effective tool in driving the project from start to finish. Here's our advice for getting it right:

1. Develop your budget EARLY! And early doesn't mean six days before the deadline instead of one day before the deadline. Early means many weeks before the deadline. If you don't plan early you'll have last minute problems. Why? Because your budget must:
  • Not exceed the agency specified limits
  • Meet the specific mechanism (e.g., SBIR or STTR) requirements
  • Support the work you are proposing as confirmed in your concise and articulate budget justification
2. Make sure the direct costs component of your budget is consistent with the work proposed. No one will be impressed if you try to complete 2x the work for the budget proposed. Instead they will assume you don't understand the costs associated with the work and that you can't properly manage the project. Read on

Neat Tech
Based in Lawrence, KS, UAVradars is creating a miniature collision-avoidance radar system for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) also known as drones. This a critical technology that will enable drones to safely share the same air space with general aviation. With this capability, drones can then be used to perform tasks such as package delivery and agriculture monitoring autonomously and beyond line of sight operations. UAVradars' NASA SBIR funding is critical from both a financial stand point as well as a validation stand point highlighting both the need and credibility of the technology.

Recently BBCetc' Sr. Principal Consultant, Andrea Johanson, PhD, had an email exchange with a client describing how we work and our value add. We thought it was a good description and wanted to share it.

...I want to give you a little background on why we do things the way we do. BBC has been working with companies submitting NIH SBIR grants for almost 3 decades, and I personally have been at BBC for 11+ years. In a typical year I work with upward of 100 companies to submit SBIR/STTR proposals to the NIH. Many of our clients share their reviews with us, so we get a quite unique window into how the reviewers rate the proposals, what they are looking for, and what they like and don't like.

Our outlines and templates have been developed over many years based on the solicitations themselves, the NIH review criteria, what we have seen in hundreds of Summary Statements, and from a great deal of interaction with the NIH SBIR Program staff. Several of us at BBC have been invited by the NIH to present at NIH National and Regional conferences. I say this not to blow our own trumpet, but to explain that our approach is not coming out of left field. We do things the way we do because it works...and because we have seen hundreds of companies from all over the US be successful, and be awarded tens of millions of dollars of funding using this approach. Read on

More Funding Opportunities

Posted/Due Date
Development of Novel and Emerging Technologies for Cryogenic or Long-term Preservation and Revival of Drosophila and Zebrafish Genetic Stocks (R41/R4
2Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Posted: 1/31/18
Open: 3/5/18
Due: Standard due dates

Methods Development in Natural Products Chemistry (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Posted: 1/30/18
Open: 3/5/18
Due: Standard due dates

Assistive Technology for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias and Their Caregivers (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Optional)
Posted: 1/26/18
Open: 3/10/18
Due: 4/10/18, 1/8/19, 1/8/20

Complex Technologies and Therapeutics Development for Mental Health Research and Practice (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Optional) 
Posted: 1/12/18
Open: 3/5/18
Due: Standard due dates

  training on tap
SBIR/STTR Program Essentials: DOE and DOD
Feb 20 - Dallas, TX

Commercialization Planning for SBIR/STTR-Stage Cos.
Feb 22 - Ann Arbor, MI

Intensive SBIR/STTR Workshop: NIH Focus
Feb 28 - Seattle, WA

Webinar: SBIR/STTR Granting vs Contracting Agencies: Determining the Best Fit for Your Technology
Feb 28, 1-2pm

Webinar: Formatting and Readability Tips for SBIR/STTR Proposals
March 1, 1-2pm

Webinar: How to Protect Your SBIR/STTR Technology's Data Rights
Mar 7, 1-2pm

SBIR/STTR 101: Intro and Overview
Mar 8 - Ypsilanti, MI
Mar 23 - E. Lansing, MI

SBIR/STTR Overview: NIH, NSF, DOD Focus
Mar 22 - Kalamazoo, MI

  nih seminar  
The next NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration is coming to Washington DC May 2-4. Registration is underway now and seminars typically sell out! Learn about the NIH grants process and polices directly from 70 NIH & HHS program, grants management, review and policy staff. Register
View the YouTube video for thoughts from previous attendees.
Standard close dates: Apr. 5, Sept. 5 and Jan. 5

Dept. of Energy
Closes Feb. 26  

Dept. of Transportation (DOT)
Opens Jan. 17; closes Mar. 20

Nat'l. Aeronautics and Space Admin. (NASA)
Opens Jan. 11; closes Mar.9

Dept. of Commerce-Nat'l. Institute of Standars and Technology
Closes Apr. 4

  who we are
BBCetc is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping technology-based entrepreneurs win federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and use it strategically to propel growth.  
  • Commercialization planning
  • Research grant assistance
  • SBIR/STTR training and proposal development assistance
  • Grants/contracts management
  • Tech-based economic development programs
Contact us:  / 734.930.9741

Copyright ©  BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting LLC