Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Supporting Entrepreneurs From Diverse Backgrounds

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs target early-stage research and development and encompass a broad range of research topics and types. NIA supports women-owned and minority-owned small businesses, socially and economically disadvantaged companies, and research entrepreneurs from a variety of underrepresented groups in biomedical research. These innovators share a common drive to commercialize treatments and technologies that address aging and age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Programs and Resources

Diversity Supplement Funding

These administrative supplements are designed to increase the diversity of the research workforce by recruiting and supporting students, postdoctoral scholars, and eligible investigators from groups that are underrepresented in health-related research or in the SBIR and STTR programs. Support is limited to work within the scope of the original project.

NIH Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)

This 10-week coaching program aims to assist small businesses in preparing a Phase I application for the SBIR and STTR programs. Through AAP, companies can receive a needs assessment, mentoring, assistance with required registrations, application preparation support, and draft application review. Support is limited to small businesses and entrepreneurs who have never received a small business grant award from NIH or last received an award prior to 2010.

Applicant Self-Certifications

The SBIR and STTR programs encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses and women-owned small businesses. During the application process, companies can voluntarily self-certify that they meet the requirements for either designation. NIH uses this information to improve outreach to potential applicants and advance efforts to increase the diversity of the biomedical research enterprise.

Women-owned small businesses must:
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women (who must beU.S. citizens).
  • Be small in their primary industry, per the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards for that industry.
  • Self-certify by registering in the System for Award Management.
Socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses must:
  • Be 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged persons (who must be U.S. citizens). The disadvantaged person or persons must be both socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged as defined by SBA.
  • Be small, according to SBA size standards.
  • Self-certify by registering in the System for Award Management.

NIA Thought Leadership

Improving Diversity in Biotech by Leveraging SBIR/STTR Opportunities

NIH and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) co-hosted this webinar on September 14, 2021. Speakers highlighted small business research programs at three NIH Institutes and Centers, including NIA, and discussed NIH’s efforts to improve the diversity of the research workforce. Access the recording from BIO.

Ready to apply?

Return to the NIA Small Business Main Page.