SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research)

The SBIR-instrument provides you with an opportunity to work, with practical guidance, towards a better world: the world of tomorrow. The SBIR-method, in which the Government is a launching customer, is proven to be very successful. The Government actively challenges companies, especially innovative SMEs and start-ups, to develop innovative solutions for a variety of social issues. The SBIR-instrument is an innovation-competition, consisting of multiple phases. Within each phase, companies with the best offer are selected and compete reciprocally to proceed to the next phase of the competition.

Carina Meertens

Carina Meertens

SBIR Expert

Feel free to contact me for more information about the SBIR.

Phasing of the SBIR: How does it work?

A contracting authority (for example: ministries, executive agencies and local authorities), identifies a specific challenge and provide a budget for the call. Interested companies submit a first project proposal (a feasibility study) and a corresponding quotation.

Phase 1: Companies with the highest-scoring offers will invited to participate in the first part of the competition to test the ideas for feasibility – with financial compensation. The feasibility study will be executed within an agreed term and for a set tender quotation. The contracting authority decides which projects will be  commissioned for phase 2.

Phase 2: During phase 2, all ideas from phase 1 that are proven to be feasible, will compete again. Entrepreneurs will start an R&D-trajectory and deliver the final result within an agreed term and for a newly set tender quotation.

Phase 3: After successful completion of phase 2, the company will initiate the implementation phase and initiate preparation to bring the innovation on the market. The government does not finance this phase, but will actively monitor the progress and bring the innovation to the attention of relevant other companies.

General timetable

The time framing for SBIR calls variate. Therefore, only a a general rule of thumb can be given:

  • Phase 1 completed within 3 – 6 months after receiving an invite to participate;
  • Phase 2 competed within 1 – 2 years after receiving an invite to participate.

What are the benefits of the SBIR?

  • The company receives both financing and the opportunity to further develop the idea with enough room for own-interpretation;
    • Tender-principle: the company works for a set tender quotation instead of a fixed percentage as with a subsidy trajectory.
  • The intellectual property of the innovation remains with the company;
  • Phasing from feasibility study until commercialization;
  • A government agency as potential first launching customer;
  • Short time-to-market period.

What is the financial effect of the SBIR on your company?

Each SBIR call has its own budget, which means that the exact details differ per call. The total budget is split into a maximum amount for a tender in each phase. The amount of projects to be awarded for each phase, depended on the price and quality of the best-rated tenders per phase. This is comparable to a tender system. Because the SBIR is a pre-commercial purchase of innovations, companies work in each phase according to a set quotation after being invited to participate in the competition.

Current SBIR schemes

Does your company have innovative ideas to create a bio-based and circular (river) bank protection? In that case STOWA invites you to join the competition to develop a vertical (river) bank protection solution, competing with current materials such as tropical hardwood from Asia and South-America, European hardwood and/or steel. Commissioned by ‘Rijkswaterstaat’ and various water authorities, a total budget of €300.00,- is provided for companies to develop a 100% bio-based and 100% circular (river) bank protection.

Maximum amount tender in phase 1: €20.000,-
Deadline bid request phase 1: 31th of January 2023
Duration phase 1: March 2023 – July 2023 | Duration phase 2: October 2023 – October 2024

Do you want to join the competition together with Innovencio?

Why you should include Innovencio in your SBIR submission:

  • We actively approach your company

Because we maintain close contacts with our customers and are well-informed about their activities and further developments, we can actively approach the company if we notice that their obtained company activities are in line with the SBIR call (or subsidy trajectories)

  • Extensive guidance during all phases up to the commercialization of your innovation

The SBIR is an innovation-competition, for which we will set-up the tender with you (including project and business plan) for the SBIR call in which you want to participate. In most cases, the process has multiple phases in which you must take certain steps for each phase. Innovencio will fulfill the role of your sparring partner and application writer, giving you the best possible chance of success

  • Extensive experience and in-depth knowledge

Due to the many years of experience, we know exactly how to formulate an application and tender proposal. Additionally, we know exactly what costs and activities can be included in the call. This will give your project the biggest chance of success


For more information, please contact our consultant Laura Boots.
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