FY 20 and FY21 SBIR Phase I RFA

Funds may be awarded up to $100,000 for a Phase I project.

Proposed Phase I projects should prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept.

Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged


across all SBIR topic areas.

USDA SBIR's flexible research areas ensure innovative projects consistent with USDA's vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water.

USDA SBIR Program has awarded over 2000 research and development projects since 1983, allowing hundreds of small businesses to explore their technological potential, and providing an incentive to profit from the commercialization of innovative ideas.

Click below for more SBIR information.
Related Programs

Small Business Innovation Research

Department of Agriculture

Agency: Department of Agriculture

Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Estimated Funding: $25,000,000

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FYs 20 & 21 SBIR Phase I RFA

Additional Information of Eligibility:
Applicants for the SBIR program must meet all the requirements discussed in this RFA.

Applicants must qualify as a Small Business Concern (SBC) for R/R&D purposes at the time of selection (see definitions in section Part VIII) Failure to meet the eligibility criteria by the application deadline may result in exclusion from consideration or, preclude NIFA from making an award.

For those new to Federal financial assistance, NIFA’s Grants Overview provides highly recommended information about grants and other resources to help understand the Federal awards process.

A potential grantee that is a subsidiary must show that the parent company or parent companies are also a small business entity and the parent company or parent companies must provide documentation supporting their small business status (the documentation should be included in, Other Attachments, of the Research and Related (R&R) Other Project Information form as directed by Part IV of this RFA).

If the parent company or one of the parent companies is a nonprofit organization, then the subsidiary is not eligible to submit an SBIR application.

In addition, the primary employment of the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed research.

Eligible primary employment means that more than one-half (51%) of the PD’s/PI’s time is spent in the employ of the small business during the award period of performance.

Primary employment with the small business precludes the applicant as a full-time employee with another organization or academic institution.

While the PD/PI must work more than one-half (51%) of his/her time for the small business during the entire grant period, there is no time requirement for the PD’s/PI’s work on the proposed research.

Prior Federal Employees must provide documentation that post termination requirements from Federal Service has been completed at time of submission.


An SBIR awardee, combined 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 I, a minimum of two-thirds (2/3) of the research or analytical work, as determined by budget expenditures, must be performed by the proposing organization.

Work in the United States.

For Phase I, the R/R&D work must be performed in the United States.

On rare and unique circumstances, for example, a supply, material, or project requirement may not be available in the United States, agencies may allow that particular portion of the R/R&D work to be performed or obtained outside of the United States.

Upon award, the Phase I awardee may request an exception as described in the award terms and conditions and submit to USDA NIFA for approval.


Any company that has received at least 20 Phase I awards, regardless of the awarding agency, during the five-year period (FY 2015 through 2020) must have received a minimum of five Phase II awards (25% conversion rate), regardless of the awarding agency, over the same five-year period to be eligible to submit a Phase I application in response to this solicitation.

If a company has not received a SBIR award or has received less than 20 SBIR awards, this benchmark requirement does not apply.

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Social Entrepreneurship

Social Enterprise Launches Second Store to Give Youth Career Chance at Retail

Social Enterprise Launches Second Store to Give Youth Career Chance at Retail

Turly Humphreys, founder of Circle Sports, has just launched her second store in Dalston. Circle Sports is a social enterprise that has currently placed more than 60 young people in permanent employment.

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