A Guide to SBIR Boot Camps for Aspiring Innovators

  • May 16, 2024

Embarking on the journey of innovation with an SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) or STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) award is an exhilarating prospect. To enhance the chances of success, participating in an SBIR boot camp can be a transformative experience. These boot camps are designed to provide entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and knowledge to refine their business models, conduct effective market research, and prepare compelling proposals. Here, we spotlight key boot camps from NASA, NSF, and NIH, each offering unique resources tailored to the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses.

NASA I-Corps Boot Camp

NASA’s I-Corps Boot Camp is part of the broader SBIR/STTR initiative, focusing on transforming technologies into viable market opportunities through intensive entrepreneurial training. The program encourages participants to develop business model hypotheses and test these through rigorous customer development interviews. This immersive training culminates in a deeper understanding of market needs and strategic commercialization pathways​ (NASA)​.

NSF Beat-the-Odds Boot Camp

The National Science Foundation (NSF) offers the “Beat-the-Odds Boot Camp,” targeting Phase I SBIR awardees. This boot camp is structured around customer discovery and business model validation, leveraging the successful NSF I-Corps curriculum. Participants engage in a series of virtual workshops, interviews, and mentoring sessions spread over two months, aimed at honing their entrepreneurial skills and enhancing their project’s market fit​ (Seed Fund)​.

NIH Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosts the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, specifically designed for life science investigators and nascent companies. This boot camp focuses on customer discovery in a life science context, helping participants develop robust business and commercialization strategies before they apply for SBIR/STTR funding. The program includes webinars, team-based seminars, and extensive one-on-one coaching, ensuring a comprehensive educational experience​ (SEED)​.

Maximizing Your Experience with Professional Guidance

While these boot camps offer substantial benefits, maximizing their potential often requires a nuanced approach to proposal preparation and project presentation.

E.B. Howard Consulting provides expert consulting services that complement the training received from programs like these. Our services include:

  • Program and Project Evaluation for Post-Award Reporting: We will assist you in fulfilling post-award reporting requirements, ensuring that you meet all obligations and maximize the benefits of your grant. We understand the importance of accountability and transparency in grant management.
  • Grant Writing: We will work closely with you to understand your project, objectives, and vision and then create a customized grant proposal that maximizes your chances of success.
  • Funding Opportunity Identification: We have an experienced team that excels at researching and identifying funding opportunities that align with your project’s goals and objectives. This involves scouring government agencies, private foundations, and industry-specific programs to find grants and competitions that match your unique needs.

Participating in an SBIR boot camp can significantly influence the trajectory of your project. These programs equip you with the tools needed to succeed in the competitive federal research and development funding arena. Coupled with professional guidance from our seasoned consultants, you can enhance your readiness to transform innovative ideas into commercial successes. Engage with us today to learn how we can help elevate your project to new heights.

Ready To Take the Next Step?

We assist our clients in locating, applying for, and evaluating the outcomes of non-dilutive grant funding. We believe non-dilutive funding is a crucial tool for mitigating investment risks, and we are dedicated to guiding our clients through the entire process—from identifying the most suitable opportunities to submitting and managing grant applications.