Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

SBIR Companies: Leverage TABA Funding to Maximize Value

If you haven’t seen the July issue of Technology Transfer Tactics we’re particularly excited to point you to it; the issue contains an in-depth article with valuable information about an often-overlooked resource for companies with Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) contracts – and information about how they can tap into it.  

The resource I’m referring to is Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) – a supplemental funding opportunity designed to help small businesses strategically shape their commercialization roadmap without pulling resources and focus away from critical R&D activities. Currently only about 11 percent of SBIR/STTR companies request TABA, largely because they simply don’t know that it is available to them – which is why I was more than happy to contribute some thoughts to Tech Transfer Tactics’s great TABA spotlight to spread the word. Below are a few highlights, and you can read the full article here 

TABA is a straightforward concept – but rules vary 

TABA provides funding of up to $6,500 for Phase I contracts and up to $50,000 for Phase II, but specific rules and funding amounts can (and do) vary depending on the government agency your SBIR/STTR contract is with. Not all agencies offer the full amount, but the good news is that the funds are additional to what a company would otherwise receive as part of their SBIR/STTR grant.  

TABA can help you fulfill expectations – and win more contracts

In recent years government agencies have become stricter about how much detail they want to see in SBIR/STTR companies’ commercialization plans. There’s good reason for this: they want to increase the likelihood of successful commercialization. While this can make SBIR/STTR proposals more time consuming and complex, a TABA vendor can help you map out a strategic plan and submit all of the information you need for compelling subsequent contracts. In short, a TABA vendor can provide key commercialization insight while also alleviating a significant burden and making your future (including Phase II) contract proposals stronger. (We’ll explore these benefits further in an upcoming post – stay tuned.) 

Selecting a TABA vendor may depend on the contract agency 

Some government agencies have preferred TABA vendors that SBIR companies are required to contract with, while others (NASA and Department of Defense, for example) allow companies to select their own vendor to work with. If you do have the option to choose your own vendor, we recommend that you start looking as soon as you know you’ll be submitting an SBIR/STTR proposal because you will need to name your TABA vendor as part of the process.  

You must request TABA as part of your proposal – not after

Once you’ve received an SBIR/STTR grant, it’s too late to request a TABA supplement. Fortunately, though, you can request TABA support as part of a Phase II proposal – even if you didn’t request it in your Phase I application. Again, allow plenty of time to seek out a qualified TABA vendor to make sure they provide the services and support that will best meet your needs.   

TABA vendors provide different levels of support for Phase I and Phase II

TABA support for Phase I SBIR/STTR contracts tends to focus on foundational commercialization tasks such as market and customer identification, and defining the competitive landscape. In Phase II, TABA vendors can help small businesses initiate and build strategic partnerships, apply for patents and handle legal considerations surrounding IP protection, and more. This implementation support helps propel businesses successfully toward pilot programs, product testing, and successfully introducing products to the marketplace – exactly what the SBIR/STTR program is designed to do.   

Look to Fuentek for TABA Support 

Fuentek welcomes small businesses to include our company as your qualified TABA vendor in your SBIR/STTR proposals. Learn more about our TABA services and feel free to contact us to discuss your plans and any questions you may have.