The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship recently held a hearing focusing on the role small businesses will play in NASA’s renewed focus on going back to the Moon and then on to Mars.
We have recently touched on the growing impact space exploration is having on small businesses, and vice versa, but this dedicated hearing prompts a closer look at the opportunities small businesses will have for working on space exploration.
Beyond set-aside procurements, the government bolsters small businesses by encouraging their participation in federally-funded research. Two key programs exist: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Ultimately, the government hopes that participating small businesses will commercialize technologies developed with federal research dollars. While the two programs are similar, a key feature distinguishes them: the STTR Program requires a small business to partner with a qualified research institution.
SBA has issued regulations and directives that govern these two programs. Here are five things you should know about the SBIR/STTR Programs.