The NSW Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) program is a $24 million initiative of the NSW Government that provides competitive grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and commercialise innovative solutions to well-defined problems for NSW Government agencies.
The 2021 SBIR program will provide up to $12 million in grants to NSW SMEs to solve the five NSW Government challenges listed below.
A further $12 million will be made available for the 2022 round.
The establishment of the SBIR program was recommended as a Priority Action of the Turning ideas into jobs: Accelerating research & development in NSW Action Plan. The program is modelled on similar successful Australian and international examples.
The SBIR program is designed to:
- Leverage the capacity of NSW SMEs and R&D to solve important problems for the NSW Government
- Drive jobs and industry growth and support the development of innovative products and services in NSW.
The benefits of the SBIR program for NSW SMEs include:
- Up to $1.1 million in grant funding to develop and commercialise a new technology or service
- Working with the NSW Government to pilot and test solutions
- Potential NSW Government contracts for successful solutions
- Retaining intellectual property rights and the right to commercialise and sell solutions in domestic and global markets.
The SBIR program is managed by R&D NSW within Investment NSW, with the support of other NSW Government agencies.
The SBIR program has three phases:
Phase 1 – Feasibility study: An SME submits a proposal to solve one of the five SBIR program challenges. The proposals are assessed, with each successful applicant receiving a grant of up to $100,000 to conduct a feasibility study over a period of three months.
Phase 2 – Proof of concept: Successful feasibility study grantees are invited to apply for the proof-of-concept phase. Applications are assessed and each successful proof-of-concept grantee will receive up to $1,000,000 to develop a proof of concept over a period of up to 15 months.
Phase 3 – Procurement: NSW Government agencies will consider purchasing successful solutions.
Not all SME applications will proceed through all phases.