SBIR Insider Update - February 4, 2019 - Life after shutdown
Dear SBIR Insider,
This issue will focus on SBIR/STTR program updates in response to the recent partial government shutdown. This includes the extension of closing dates for two agency SBIR solicitations, the upcoming openings of a few others and the "potential" for another shutdown that could take place as of February 16, 2019. The continued uncertainty of funding wreaks havoc not only with our programs, but the overall running of the country. But we'll keep our focus on SBIR/STTR.
All of our agency SBIR websites are now up and running again so please remember that in spite of what you read here, the agency websites are the final word. Also keep in mind that the legal SBIR/STTR solicitations/notices are also posted on FBO.gov (if it's contracts based – "FBO" is known as "Fed Biz Opps") or GRANTS.gov (if it's grants based). Also for your convenience we make a quick (1 click) SBIR agency website link directory available to you at SBIR.tv and our mirror sites at SBIRinsider.com or zynsys.com/tv You also have SBIR.gov but that requires a few more clicks (they have regulations to adhere to..)
Date Extended Open SBIR/STTR Solicitations
Extended to Feb 12, 2019 (12:00 pm ET) from Jan 23, 2019.
DHS uses FBO for their solicitation questions and answers. Their latest Q&A posts were from Feb 1, 2019 and can be found at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=8074c46b7e0fc693ea78c7c4b5ab647a&_cview=0
2. NOAA – https://techpartnerships.noaa.gov/SBIR
Extended to Feb 13, 2019 (12:00 pm ET) from Jan 8, 2019.
As a grants based program their solicitation is also on GRANTS.gov at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=310297 Their solicitation Q&As are located at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=310297 (Q&As closed Dec 5, 2018 but there is some valuable information there).
Open SBIR/STTR Solicitations
1. Dept. of Education – https://ies.ed.gov/sbir/index.asp
On Jan 31, 2019 Dept of Education (ED) opened their 2019 Phase I SBIR solicitation (see FBO at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=3c8a8d6a8a7ed17b166e9d6fdcac9622&_cview=0 ) which closes March 20, 2019 11:00 am ET. Don't overlook these smaller agencies because there are lots of opportunities! An ED phase I could span up to 8 months and up to $200k.
Opened Jan 8, 2019 and will close Feb 6, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET. Things have proceeded without incident from the shutdown.
3. NIH - https://sbir.nih.gov/
Like the DoD, NIH has been functioning without incident from the shutdown. Their solicitations have multiple receipt dates and the next one is April 5, 2019.
Coming Soon: SBIR/STTR Solicitations
1. NASA – https://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/
Possibly opening Feb 5, 2019.
Shortly after the furlough, on Jan 31, 2019 NASA posted (on FBO) a presolicitation announcement for their upcoming SBIR/STTR (see https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=3a59409f12c475d775051282dc133884&tab=core&_cview=0 )
The announcement states: The anticipated release date of the 2019 SBIR-STTR Solicitation is on or about February 5, 2019 with an anticipated offer due date of on or about March 29, 2019.
On January 14, 2019 NASA posted a draft of their "proposed" topics to give you an idea of what may be coming (posted on their website). Those are non-binding and may be modified/replaced as soon as the actual NASA solicitation is released (perhaps by the time you receive this email).
2. Department of Transportation – https://www.volpe.dot.gov/work-with-us/small-business-innovation-research
Ever heard the word "errata"? In this case it means your "Insider" messed up! We stated "DOT is not affected by the shutdown" but that was in error. Although DOT is not a large agency it is a complex one and only a portion was not effected. So suffice to say "DOT was affected by the shutdown" (at least in part).
On January 9, 2019 DOT posted (on their website) what they referred to as an "SBIR Solicitation Synopsis" although FBO (a much less flexible site) refers to it as a presolicitation. As I read it, it appears to be an announcement that they are going to make an announcement. Please be aware that, in spite of semantics, DOT (in their language) wants you to know a "pre-offer webinar will be announced prior to solicitation publication." Keep an eye out for that!
You can register on DOT's website to receive email alert updates, but in addition I always recommend monitoring the websites because email can be a "sometimes thing".
Tentative Feb 15, 2019 with a closing April 16, 2019.
NIST has been open to developing and trying new things (i.e. SBIR-TT), so it is possible we could see additional dimensions in their program. We see some agencies or their components (i.e. NIH) who do not hardwire all topics, but ask small businesses for suggestions on what can they do in SBIR/STTR to address the mission of their institutes. We are seeing these in other places as well, and not just SBIR. The Air Force Pitch Day, March 6-7 2019 in New York (see https://www.afsbirsttr.af.mil/AF-Pitch-Day/ ) is a good example of this.
Also it doesn't go unnoticed that NIST's tentative release date of Feb 15, is also the last day before another potential shutdown. However, even though NIST would be affected by another shutdown, their SBIR program is grants based and GRANTS.gov remains open so their solicitation and submission portal would remain up and running. If a shutdown could go past NIST's closing date of April 16, we'd have more to worry about than just SBIR.
SAM Help and Assistance (Paid & Free)
If you are a new, or very small business, you are probably confused about how to register or renew your company in the System for Award Management (SAM) database. This is a requirement not only for SBIR, but for doing business with the federal government.
Warning: There are charlatans out there sending you emails purporting to be from the government, and even using phony .GOV email addresses! They say "do not reply" to this email BUT "click on this link" to resolve your problem. This is usually how Malware gets planted on your system (taking you to a dirty web page) BUT in this case they just want to charge you (a hefty price) to guide you through the SAM process.
I have no problem with 3rd party pay services for helping our small businesses, and those are available from a variety of excellent providers. This can be for something relatively simple such as the SAM registration, to complex services such as technical assistance; helping you write a proposal; setting up your government approved accounting; and even helping build a commercialization plan.
We will have more on this for you including the world of discretionary technical assistance (sometimes referred to as DTA but even now the name is changing).
For now we are just going to concentrate on the SAM. SAM is more of an annoyance than something that requires stratospheric knowledge. Nevertheless, if you need help, you shouldn't deal with someone who is disguising themselves as government entities trying to charge you money. SAM is free but it will drive you nuts!
Many of our states have SBIR outreach and assistance entities, and the SBA has Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and the DoD has Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACS). These are great people and organizations providing services free or at low rates. You can check out the PTACs SAM services at http://www.aptac-us.org/sam-registration/ NOTE: Unfortunately the PTAC site is not yet secure (it has no certificate). As of this writing it was clean but your browser may tell you otherwise. Always be careful about entering unsecured sites, and never override your browser when it tells you the certificate is invalid!
Thanks to all who provided comments and feedback, it is appreciated and often helps us pass information to our readers.
Thanks for reading and I hope there was something here of use to you.
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