Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Funding

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Funding

Federal agencies set aside a portion of their extramural research & development budget to be awarded as grants to small businesses. Thanks to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, innovators and entrepreneurs have opportunities to apply and receive anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million in capital to determine a technology’s feasibility and to develop a prototype. As long as they meet the terms of the funding, award recipients do not have to repay the government and they retain full ownership of their company. Qualified small businesses and entrepreneurs affiliated with IUIN incubators can receive free support, guidance, and training to help them search for federal agency solicitations and to prepare and submit proposals.

NOTE: SBIR assistance is now provided through the Illinois FAST Center and is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Federal and State Technology (FAST) program. We are currently working on a new website that will be more helpful for members and clients of the Illinois University Incubator Network. More details are available on the UIRP Illinois FAST Center webpage.

The Illinois FAST Center offers a variety of free support, services, and training that help startups with preparation of SBIR/STTR proposals and management of awards.

  • One-on-One Assistance. Teams can have proposals reviewed and receive feedback from expert SBIR consultants with a long track record of assisting clients in submitting successful applications. Teams can also receive strategic advice and counseling for questions concerning:
    • topic or agency selection
    • eligibility or company structure
    • technical aims
    • commercialization and customer discovery
    • post award management
  • SBIR 101 and Training Webinars or Workshops.
    • Monthly SBIR 101 webinars are offered on a variety of introductory topics such as General Overview of SBIR Program, Budget Development and Justification, Post Award Management, and agency specific topics such as NSF Pitch.
    • Webinars are also recorded and added to the Illinois FAST Center YouTube Library.
    • IUIN members throughout the state will often collaborate and host training workshops or webinars for specific topics or specific groups, such as accelerator programs, in order to accommodate their cohort’s needs.
  • SBIR/STTR Sprints. Sprints are 4-week training courses designed to walk participants through every aspect of the application process.
    • Each Sprint is targeted toward one agency and features agency-specific, focused material.
    • Teams apply to participate and those most ready to apply are invited to participate in the full course. Other are invited to audit the Sprint via webinars.
    • Homework is assigned to teams that relates to various sections of an SBIR application, such as specific aims, etc. Teams receive individual feedback from experienced consultants.
    • Networking is encouraged among teams.


  • Eligibility is open to innovation, technology, or research & development projects based in Illinois. Out-of-state requests are not eligible.
  • Requests for free one-on-one counseling must be submitted via an application link provided on the Illinois FAST Center webpage. Please do not contact the consultants directly for free SBIR assistance.
  • After your application is received, staff will communicate directly with you about the status of your request and/or connect you with one of the SBIR consultants.
  • Submission of an application does not guarantee services.

QUESTIONS: Contact Shelley Maves at

SBIR/STTR Technical Assistance programs are led by EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois Research Park. Funding support for these services is provided by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.