NC SBIR/STTR Awards 2012-20 in Review

A recent analysis of SBIR/STTR awards made to North Carolina small businesses over the past nine years demonstrated a number of interesting findings. In this period, 939 Phase I SBIR / STTR awards were made, followed by 452 Phase II awards. The 48% transition rate from Phase I to Phase II is above the national average. Total award dollars equated to over $718M made to 389 unique companies. The average number of awards made to these companies was 3.6.

SBIR/STTR Award Data for NC Companies, 2012-20

Award Category Data
Phase I Awards 939
Phase II Awards 452
Total # of Awards 1,391
Phase I to Phase II Conversion Rate 48.14%
Total Award Dollars $718M
Total # of Unique Awardees 389

Of the 10 federal agencies, represented, Department of Health and Human Services (NIH) accounted for 64.9% awards, followed by Department of Defense (DoD) with 22.7%, National Science Foundation (NSF) with 6.5%, and Department of Energy (DOE) with 3.1%. The remaining six agencies represented less than 1% each. This data shows the key areas of research that NC small businesses tend to conduct, but also leaves the door open to the possibility that more emphasis needs to be placed on some of the less well represented agencies.

Agency SBIR/STTR Award Breakdown for NC, 2012-20

Agency Total Awards % of Awards
Department of Health and Human Services $466,313,087 64.9%
Department of Defense $162,971,773 22.7%
National Science Foundation $47,057,346 6.5%
Department of Energy $22,483,814 3.1%
Department of Education $6,722,669 0.9%
Department of Homeland Security $4,428,903 0.6%
Department of Agriculture $3,529,474 0.5%
National Aeronautics and Space Administration $2,878,382 0.4%
Department of Commerce $1,723,865 0.2%
Environmental Protection Agency $599,485 0.1%
TOTAL $718,708,798
pie chart data

The SBTDC’s Technology Commercialization team counsels and educates pre-venture and existing small businesses across the state to assist with SBIR/STTR strategies and proposal reviews, as well as business development and commercialization planning initiatives. Over the nine year period, SBTDC counselors worked with 248 out of the 389 unique SBIR/STTR awardees, demonstrating that the SBTDC continues its commitment to serving high impact clients. The SBTDC’s clients were awarded $634.4M or 88% of all awards received in NC.

At the SBTDC, we take a holistic approach towards serving our clients. We see businesses as a whole and supplement our counseling efforts with hands-on rotational business internship opportunities with graduate students. It is common to have long-standing, multi-year relationships with our clients.

SBTDC Clients Award Activity, 2012-20

Award Category Data
# of unique awardees that are SBTDC clients 248
% of unique awardees that are SBTDC clients 64%
Total award dollars provided to SBTDC clients $634M
% of award dollars received by SBTDC clients 88%

The SBTDC counsels companies that apply to all federal agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR programs. Over the nine year period, the percent of unique awardees by agencies that counselors worked with are noted below.

SBTDC Assistance by Agency Awards, 2012-20

Agency % of Clients
Environmental Protection Agency 100%
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 80%
Department of Agriculture 79%
Department of Defense 74%
Department of Education 67%
Department of Transportation 67%
Department of Health and Human Services 66%
National Science Foundation 61%
Department of Commerce 60%
Department of Homeland Security 50%
Department of Energy 48%

Finally, the total awards by year over the period shows an 81% increase in SBIR/STTR funding in NC from 2012 to 2020.

Total SBIR/STTR Awards by Year to NC Companies, 2012-20

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