We first posted on this topic in 2016 (https://www.ebhoward.com/planning-for-sbir/), and still find that in 2021 many clients are unaware of the importance of registrations when applying to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Many of our clients arrive at our door with the impression that one should focus on proposal content first, which is not the way to go. Since submission is impossible until required registrations are complete, registering is the ideal place to start your SBIR journey. This post is meant to help all future applicants to SBIR understand what the required registrations are and how and when to apply for each.
- You will need your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and DUNS number to start. All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM, SBA Company registry, and eRA Commons registrations (see more detail below regarding these). The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations as well as on the grant application.
- The System for Award Management (SAM), Access www.sam.gov. You will also need the authorizing official of your organization and an EIN. Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code. Be advised that this can take upwards of two weeks to be approved and verified.
- Small Business Association (SBA) Registration – All SBIR funding agencies will ask for Small Business status authentication. https://www.sba.gov/user/register
- SBIR.gov – Company registration is meant for small businesses to register and gain access to the SBIR.gov system. Completed registrations will receive a unique SBC Control ID to be used for submissions at any of the 11 participating agencies in the SBIR or STTR programs. https://www.sbir.gov/registration
- Grants.gov – Each agency has their own application portals and platforms. Most use grants.gov. Check with the agency that you intend to apply under to be sure about their application submission process. If your agency is using grants.gov (e.g. NIH) then you will need to know that this is a two-step process. Before you can submit both of these steps have to be authenticated by grants.gov. Do not wait to have this validated.
- Step 1: Register as the organization – #SBIR Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html
- Step 2: Register as the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) – Complete your Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) profile and create your username and password. You’ll need to use your organization’s DUNS Number. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html
- eRA Commons – If you are working with NIH, then this will be mandatory. Again, check with the agency that you intend to apply to be sure about their application submission process. #SBIR Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application. Before you can submit both of these steps for eRA Commons have to be authenticated. Do not wait to have these accounts validated.
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