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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The goal of NGA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs is to improve geospatial intelligence capabilities and tradecraft through advanced research or research and development (R/R&D) solutions offered by small innovative companies. DoD's SBIR/STTR programs fund early-stage R/R&D projects at small technology companies—projects that serve a DoD need and have the potential for commercialization in private sector and/or military markets. 

As part of its SBIR/STTR programs, the DoD issues a SBIR/STTR solicitation three times a year, describing its R/R&D needs and inviting R/R&D proposals from small business concerns (SBCs) and non-profit research institutions. SBCs and research institutions apply first for a six-month to nine-month Phase I award of up to $256,580* to test the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of a particular concept. If Phase I proves successful, the SBC or research institution may be invited to apply for a two-year Phase II award of up to $1,710,531* to further develop the concept, usually to the prototype stage.   Agencies have the discretion to issue awards for less than maximum dollar amount. For more information regarding a specific agency’s award guidelines, please visit their solicitation.  Proposals are judged competitively on the basis of scientific, technical, and commercial merit. Following completion of Phase II, SBCs and research institutions are expected to obtain funding from the private sector and/or non-SBIR/STTR government sources (in "Phase III") to develop the concept into a product for sale in private sector and/or military markets.

Phase 1

  • Project Feasibility: 6-9 months - Up to $256K*    

Phase 2

  • Project Development to prototype: 2 Years - Up to $1.7M*    

Phase 3   

  • Commercialization in militaryand/or private sector using non-SBIR/STTR funds

*The Small Business Administration (SBA) reviews the thresholds annually for the effects of inflation and posts those adjustments on, per the SBA’s SBIR and STTR Program Policy Directive.  

The SBIR/STTR programs strengthen the role of innovative SBCs and non-profit research institutions in Federally-funded R/R&D. The SBIR/STTR programs are intended to:

  1. Stimulate technological innovation.
  2. Use small business to meet Federal R/R&D needs.
  3. Foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged SBCs, and by women-owned SBCs, in technological innovation.
  4. Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federally funded R/R&D.
  5. Stimulate a partnership of ideas and technologies between innovative SBCs and non-profit Research Institutions (STTR only).

Qualifications for the SBIR/STTR Programs

  1. U.S. small business of 500 or fewer employees.
  2. During SBIR Phase 1, a minimum of 2/3 effort must be performed by proposing small business.
  3. During SBIR Phase 2, a minimum of 1/2 effort must be performed by proposing small business.
  4. During STTR Phase 1 or 2, a minimum of 40% of the research must be performed by proposing small business.
  5. Principal Investigator must spend 1/2 of time employed by the small business or, for STTR, research institution.
  6. Work must be performed in the United States.

If you are interested in the NGA SBIR/STTR Program please contact the NGA SBIR/STTR Program Manager or review our topics here.

Additional Pages

Associated Document(s)