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SBIR Proposal Preparation. John P. Ujvari Small Business and Technology Development Center SBIR Program Workshop

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sbir proposal preparation

SBIR Proposal Preparation

John P. Ujvari

Small Business and Technology

Development Center

SBIR Program Workshop

The SBTDC is a business development service of the University of North Carolina system operated in partnership with the NC Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

personal overview
Personal Overview
  • Technology and SBIR Program Specialist at NC – SBTDC, Chapel Hill
  • MBA, Wake Forest University
  • BS, University of Virginia
  • Small Business consulting
presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Part 1 - Getting Ready to Write
  • Part 2 - Solicitation selection
  • Part 3 - Writing Process
  • Part 4 – Review Process
sbir or sttr right for you
SBIR or STTR RightFor You?
  • Does it fit your business plan?
  • Is the timeline realistic for your firm?
  • Is the timeline realistic for your technology and its market?
  • Do you have the needed resources?
points to ponder
Points to Ponder
  • Proposal prep. Is an investment
  • Program is highly competitive
  • Must be committed to long-term R&D program
points to ponder1
Points to Ponder
  • SBIR/STTR is not for end-stage commercialization
  • Must have desire to bring product to market
  • Does not provide sole support for a firm
applicant profile
Applicant Profile

Which Proposer is Best Candidate?

proposer 1
Proposer 1
  • One-track mind
  • Consumed by his/her idea
  • Wants money from anywhere
proposer 2
Proposer 2
  • Proposer looking for a way to make a living
  • Claims to be able to do anything
  • Resume resembles rummage sale of technical/marketing activities
proposer 3
Proposer 3
  • Proposer has been a previous academic grant winner, or has conducted/managed corporate R&D in large firm
  • Now interested in government-sponsored R&D
  • Never written an SBIR proposal
  • Never run a small business
proposer 4
Proposer 4
  • Proposer is a researcher with entrepreneurial skills and a good idea
  • Sees SBIR as a long-term product development effort
  • Understands the small business game and nature of the challenge
  • Willing and able to expend resources needed to be competitive
key strengths
Key Strengths
  • Proposer’s credibility (technical and business) is essential
  • Inventions are a dime a dozen – proposer must know what to do with the idea – must be an entrepreneur
  • Willing to be a team player
  • Proposer 4 WINS!
  • Agency websites
  • Dialog with Program Manager
  • Speak with previous winners
proposal preparation
Proposal Preparation
  • Is a process--not just writing task
  • No magic formulas for success
  • Teamwork is important
  • No guaranteed-to-win strategies
do your homework
Do Your Homework
  • Communicate with federal SBIR persons
  • Search the literature
    • Your own field of expertise
    • Alternative technical areas
    • Key application areas
    • Potential market opportunities
    • The patent situation
sell sell sell
Sell, sell, sell
  • Determine how to differentiate your approach from similar tech
  • ID competing tech and present +/-’s fairly
  • Assess how well prepared you are to demonstrate feasibility in Phase I
  • ID weaknesses in personnel or facilities and find ways to shore up weaknesses
  • Seek a variety of input early on
know your audience
Know Your Audience
  • Know the agency’s mission/goal
  • Find out what has previously been funded
  • View the agency as a customer – not just as a source of $
know your audience1
Know Your Audience
  • Understand agency’s review process
  • Assume reviewers are:
    • skeptical,
    • in a hurry,
    • and less knowledgeable than you,
    • but that they understand the field in general
the 10 components
The 10 Components

1. Cover sheet

2. Abstract/project summary (important section–write last!)

3. Description of the problem or opportunity (a hook)

4. Background and technical approach (state-of-the –art)

5. Technical objectives (what you want to determine)

6. Work Plan (how you will get there - milestones)

7. Related Research (what has been done before)

8. Commercial applications (who will you sell to)

9. Key personnel (the team)

10. Budget (justification for $$)

reviewing and editing
Reviewing and Editing
  • Read for content without stopping to edit
  • Edit for grammar, punctuation, and consistency
  • Use several stages of peer review (scientific and business)
reviewing and editing cont
Reviewing and Editing (cont.)
  • Use one or more outside technical reviewer(s)
  • Use a spell-checker, but don’t depend on it
  • Allow enough time at end for a thorough detailed checklist procedure
strong competition
Strong Competition
  • Up to 40% of P1 Proposals have been eliminated upon initial screening
  • Must Have a Solid Proposal Package that Meets All Agency Requirements

Follow the rules!!!!

  • Done electronically for most agencies now
  • Proposals are not read on a rolling-basis
part 4 agency review
Part 4:Agency Review

…. It’s out of your hands now

agency review
Agency Review
  • Significance
  • Approach
  • Innovation
  • Investigators
  • Environment
  • Safeguards for animal and human subjects (if applicable)
  • Appropriateness of the budget
the upside
The upside
  • Free review of company and ideas
  • May lead to government contracts
  • Recognition, verification and visibility
  • Tremendous $$$ leveraging tool
  • Establishes credibility for other SBIR/STTR, potential Phase III partners, VCs
  • $ 1.3 Billion – with very few strings attached
Questions ?

John P. Ujvari

SBIR Program Specialist

Phone: 919-962-8297