Tips for Small Business Applicants
What Does a Successful Submission Look Like?
- Offers Innovative solutions to a significant unmet clinical need
- Provides solutions that have significant commercial potential
- Corresponds to one of NIA’s research priorities
- Leverages the expertise of the company/founder
- Seeks funding to produce feasibility data (Phase I) or conduct product-focused development activities (Phase II)
Review our sample applications to see examples of successful submissions.
Who Should Apply for Small Business Funding?
NIA wants to help you move forward on treatments and solutions, particularly for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and AD-related dementias (ADRD). We strongly encourage proposals from applicants who:
- Are too early in product development to obtain private investment.
- Represent an established small business seeking to pursue new product development.
- Have never considered or participated in NIA’s small business programs.
- Have not previously considered AD/ADRD drug development.
- Represent women-owned and/or socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses.
- Meet the program eligibility criteria.
Tips for Applying to NIA Small Business Programs
Strong proposals take time to develop.
Complete Required Registrations.
Sign up for DUNS, SAM.gov, Grants.gov, eRACommons, and SBA Registry as soon as possible to avoid delays. It can take 4-6 weeks to complete all registrations.
Refine Your Vision.
Talk to others including program staff, technical experts, customers and current and former SBIR/STTR grantees to clarify your product idea.
Build the Right Team.
Select a Principal Investigator with the right expertise and fill in gaps with other partners with the right experience.
Draft a Clear Application.
Explain up front the unmet need and how your idea meets it and provide the evidence to back that up. Share your Specific Aims page with NIA staff for feedback. Be sure to follow the application carefully and provide each component. Before submission, your team should read the application as if they were peer reviewers.
- SBIR/STTR Application Process Infographic
View an interactive flowchart showing each step of the application process.
- NIH Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)
Apply for a free 10-week coaching program that provides customized assistance for each step and section of the SBIR or STTR application.
- NIA Small Business Spotlight: BioSensics
Learn how NIA funding is enabling innovation at BioSensics, a small business developing tools that support independence for older adults.
- More Small Business Stories from NIH
Visit the NIH SBIR/STTR website and select “Aging” under the Funding Institute filter to see more stories of success from NIA-supported companies.
- SBIR/STTR Application Guide (PDF, 4.43M)
Download the full NIH manual to guide you through the application process.
- SBIR/STTR Local Resources
Access resources in your community that can help guide you through the application process.
- Annotated Form Set for NIH SBIR Grant Applications (PDF, 4.05M)
Get guidance on filling out the application forms for SBIR and STTR applications.
- NIH RePORTER
Use the database of NIH-supported research to see what has already been funded.
Ready to apply?
Return to the NIA Small Business Main Page.