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USDA SBIR Eligibility Requirements

Each applicant submitting an application must qualify as a small business concern for R/R&D purposes at the time of award.  In addition, the primary employment of the project director (PD) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed research.  Primary employment means that more than one-half of the PD’s time is spent in the employ of the small business.  Primary employment with the small business precludes the applicant as a full-time employee with another organization.  While the PD must work more than one-half of his/her time for the small business during the entire grant period, there is no minimal time requirement for what percentage of the PD’s time is spent working on the proposed research.

To be eligible to receive a USDA SBIR program award, a business concern must meet the following requirements:

(A) Ownership and control

  • An SBIR awardee must;
    • Be a concern which is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of the United States or permanent resident aliens in the United States; or
    • Be a concern which is at least 51% owned and controlled by another business concern that is itself at least 51% owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens of or permanent resident aliens in the United States; or
    • Be a joint venture in which each entity to the venture must meet the requirements set forth in either paragraphs (A)(1)(a) or (A)(1)(b) of this section.
  • If an employee stock option plan owns all or part of the concern, USDA considers each stock trustee and plan member to be an owner.
  • If a trust owns all or part of the concern, USDA considers each trustee and trust beneficiary to be an owner.

(B) Size

  • An SBIR awardee, together with its affiliates, must not have more than 500 employees. The small business concern must be the primary performer of the proposed research effort.  In Phase II, a minimum of one-half of the research or analytical effort, as determined by budget expenditures, must be performed by the proposing organization. 

Also, for Phase II, the R/R&D work must be performed in the United States.  On rare and unique circumstance, for example, a supply, material or project requirement not available in the United States, agencies may allow that particular portion of the R/R&D work to be performed in a country outside of the United States.  In addition, consultant services should be performed in the United States.  Approval, in writing, is necessary by the USDA for such specific conditions.

 

 

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