Published: Dec. 8, 2020
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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants make up one of the key ways that university spinouts and innovation firms fund early-development and commercialization of their technologies. To highlight the strategic use of this program Venture Partners has partnered with CU Boulder's Center for Translational Research to host a dynamic, week-long conference featuring experts across the Colorado and national innovation ecosystem from January 11-15, 2021. 


Day 1: Monday, Jan. 11 at 12 p.m.
Keynote from Ruth Shuman, head of NSF I-Corps & Getting Started with SBIR

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The SBIR program has been called the largest seed funding program in the world, but why/how do you leverage this resource?

Sally Hatcher, Senior Director of Venture Development at CU Boulder will kick off our session introducing the week and framing the commercialization conversation. 

Jacob Segil, Director at CU Boulder's Center for Translational Research, will walk through how to decide which SBIR gives you the best chance of getting funding. 

Clear up common misconceptions on SBIR/STTR funding. Why do an SBIR? What can you expect to actually get out of it? 
How to actually go after this money? Are there ways to make this easier?  Do you hire someone? Where do you go for help besides someone like Jacob?

Closing out our first day will be a keynote from Ruth Shuman. 

Ruth is currently serving as Program Director for the I-Corps Program. She was the former Program Director for the Biological Technologies (BT) topic area in the SBIR/STTR Program. Before coming to NSF, she was the founder, president, and CEO of a successful venture-backed life science company, Gentra Systems, Inc., that developed, manufactured, and sold products for genetic testing and research to clinical and research laboratories worldwide.

Day 2: Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 12 p.m.
You are Writing an SBIR Proposal

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Hear from a master of the proposal talk about long-term strategy and specifics in writing a successful grant.

Jana Watson-Capps, an expert in the structured writing, budget, and detail of SBIR proposals will share her insights. The right structure leads to higher funding rates, more efficient use of time, and better outcomes from an awarded proposal.
Understand organizing the proposal and commercialization plan

Topics include:

  • How do you get better at winning?
  • How do you structure the proposal?
  • Making innovation points

Day 3: Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 12 p.m.
SBIR Week: SBIR/STTR Agency Details (NSF, NIH, NASA)​

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Hear from a panel of three National SBIR Program Managers (NSF, NASA, NIH) on working with specific agencies, followed by a breakout room discussion with the specific area you are interested in.

What questions would you ask an SBIR Program Manager?

This is a discussion around the unwritten best practices and hidden tips to navigating a successful SBIR grant.

Day 4: Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m.
Leveraging Your SBIR Money

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Make sure the different types of money are used well. Fed/State dollars & direct/indirect costs.

Featuring Richtr Financial Studio, which specializes in leveraging strategic financial services and virtual CFO, especially in deep-tech industries.

What are the best uses of different types of capital for your business?

Day 5: Friday, Jan. 15 at 12 p.m.
Execute on Your SBIR & Go To Market!

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Kick things off with a quick guide on post-award management including topics like JIT documentation, tracking grant efforts, tracking grant funds, reporting requirements, and strategy for follow-on awards (Phase 2, etc.).

How do you perform the activities of the grant so that it's helpful to you in - long term?

Hear from founders that have taken a company from SBIR through the valley of death into funding and product. We'll discuss methods to reach the market using demos, partnerships, and case studies. The guests present their experiences turning an SBIR/STTR award into a commercial product including the trials and tribulations of meeting grant requirements while running their companies. We discuss the hard parts of non-dilutive funding as well as the benefits.