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America’s Seed Fund | Small Business Innovation Research​


  • Stimulate technological innovation.
  • Meet federal research and development needs.
  • Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development funding.

Program eligibility

Small, independent, for-profit U.S. firms who meet the size, ownership and control requirements of the program

Business retains control of

  • Company team
  • Technical vision
  • Business strategy


List of participating federal agencies.

Funding mechanism

Grant or contract, depending on the sponsoring agency.

More information

SBIR Program and/or the individual agency’s SBIR Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Initiate an ASU SBIR subcontract proposal

Contact your unit Research Advancement Administrator.

Financial support

Phase 1: Concept development

Six-month phase that allows the business to explore its product-market fit, determine technology’s feasibility design and test prototypes, identify relevant legal or regulatory issues and develop a plan to scale and market its technology. Funds awarded range between $100,000 – $150,000

Phase 2: Prototype development

Projects with commercial potential, continue research and development efforts initiated in Phase I. Awards are for two years and range between $750,000 – $1,000,000

Phase 3: Commercialization

Unfunded phase where small business pursues commercialization objectives resulting from Phase I and Phase II Research and Development activities. 

Note: Sponsoring agencies do have flexibility in their execution of the program. Therefore, it is critical to carefully review the specific sponsor’s funding opportunity announcement prior to applying.


  • Receive funding that does not need to be repaid.
  • Create a firm or offset the cost of research and development in an established small business.
  • Receive commercialization assistance at no charge.
  • Retain intellectual property rights.

Lead organization/principal investigator

The SBIR program requires that the applicant be the small business and that it be led by a scientist, engineer or another qualified technical person. A PhD or MD is not required. The individual must be employed at the small business at least 51% of the time throughout the award and must devote at least 10% to the specific project. 

An ASU investigator who meets the 51% or more requirements for employment by the small business may represent the firm as PI provided all ASU regulations regarding employment are observed.

An ASU investigator serving as PI for the small business may not also be a PI on any subawards to ASU under the awarded SBIR.

ASU participation as subawardee

During phase I, the small business can subcontract up to a total of 1/3 of the work to ASU and/or other entities.  In phase II, the percent of work that may be subcontracted increases to 1/2 of the budget. 

Additional resources

Research development blog: SBIR/STTR grants: helping you commercialize your ideasEntrepreneurship + Innovation: connecting and collaborating resource for entrepreneurs at all stages across ASU and throughout the Valley of the Sun.