Using TABA funds to support commercialization

Although the SBIR/STTR program is best known for supporting Research & Development, most SBIR/STTR funding agencies also provide funding for Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) to help companies successfully commercialize their products. The SBIR and STTR Policy Directive states that “The purpose of this technical assistance is to assist SBIR awardees in (A) making better technical decisions on SBIR projects; (B) solving technical problems that arise during SBIR projects; (C) minimizing technical risks associated with SBIR projects and (D) commercializing the SBIR product or process.”  Here, we provide information about how you may be able to take advantage of TABA to support your technology commercialization.

How does it work?

TABA provides supplemental funding to SBIR/STTR awardees to hire one or more subcontractors to support the company’s commercialization efforts. It is important to always verify the TABA rules for each agency, and most agencies will require you to request support through TABA at the time of application. 

How can I use TABA funds?

TABA assistance allows SBIR/STTR applicants to allocate funding to one or more third-party service providers that will assist with commercialization efforts.  Funds can be used for the following activities:

  • Identification and development of customers for the SBIR/STTR-funded technology 
  • Advice on financing strategy and fundraising from the private sector 
  • Establishment of strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders 
  • Evaluation and protection of intellectual property 
  • Evaluation and establishment of regulatory and reimbursement strategy 
  • Other activities that will accelerate or strengthen the commercialization case for the underlying technology.

How much is available?

The available funding for each of the 9 agencies who participate in TABA is provided below:

Agency Phase I Phase II
DOE $6,500 $50,000
DOD $6,500 $50,000
DOT $5,000 $13,000
DHS $6,500 $50,000
NASA N/A $10,000
NSF N/A $50,000
NIST $6,500 $6,500
NIH $6,500 $50,000
USDA $6,500 $50,000

Each agency has specific instructions on how to apply for and allowable uses of the TABA funding, and you can reach out to a Program Officer if you have questions about the process.

How do I identify a TABA vendor?

You may have existing relationships with support organizations that you can include in your request for TABA funding, such as IP attorneys, regulatory specialists, and business advisors.  These organizations can provide letters of support and budget estimates to include in your TABA request.  For example,  Eva Garland Consulting commonly provides letters of support for applicants to use TABA funds for grant accounting and financial services, or for Scientific Consulting on their product development strategy.

Take advantage of TABA for your business

It is always a good idea to take advantage of extra resources, such as TABA, that are offered to SBIR/STTR awardees. These funds can provide much-needed financial assistance to help commercialize your product, and make your SBIR/STTR dollars go farther.