North Carolina’s SBIR/STTR Award Data Trends

Aug 7, 2023

North Carolina’s small innovation-based companies reaped the benefits of the federal SBIR/STTR programs to the tune of $158M in 2022, a gain of 178% compared to ten years earlier. In total, 114 companies secured SBIR/STTR funding through a combination of over two hundred Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards in 2022. While the number of awarded companies and the number of awards trended higher in the period of 2013 to 2021, 2022 showed a decrease from the prior year.

In 2022, North Carolina ranked ninth in number of Phase 1 awards, Phase 2 awards, and total funding awarded. This ranking has consistently increased over the past two decades. NC received a total of 3.7% of the $4.3 distributed nationally.

Examining award trends by agency between 2019 and 2022 shows that mega-agencies HHS and DoD are the source of 89% of all SBIR/STTR awards in NC. This should come as no surprise given that these two agencies collectively fund over 80% of the total SBIR/STTR program budget across all eleven agencies. An interesting caveat is that annual funding from DoD has increased 118% vs. 11% at HHS over the same period.

The remaining 11% of SBIR/STTR awards made to NC businesses are funded by the 9 other participating agencies.

Business advisory support from organizations like the SBTDC, complementary funding through the NC Board of Science, Technology and Innovation’s One NC Small Business Program, university faculty support programs and other economic development partners in the innovation ecosystem, lay a strong foundational support network for small businesses as they seek out non-dilutive funding.

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