TEDCO's SBIR STTR Proposal Lab

For Maryland life science and technology businesses with a compelling innovation, TEDCO and Team leverage decades of experience in writing, reviewing, and winning SBIR/STTR and other federal grants and contracts to position you for up to $275,000 of non-dilutive Phase I funding from the National Science Foundation. Our team is comprised of experts at OST Global Solutions and the Maryland Small Business Development Center, with subject matter expert proposal reviewers culled from TEDCO’s Network Advisors

We handpick up to 25 companies to join the SBA FAST* SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab, with applications opening in early October. Please be aware that competition is fierce, and admission is granted to the first qualifying applicants.

For the past five years, TEDCO and Team have been supporting Maryland's small businesses in crafting and submitting proposals to the NSF for Phase I awards of up to $275,000. Importantly, SBIR funding is nondilutive and takes no equity in your company, ensuring you maintain full control over your team and your project.

Running from January through June, the Proposal Lab welcomes startups from various technology sectors, including additive manufacturing, energy, medical devices, nanotechnology, semiconductors, and more.

Statistics tell a compelling story. Our SBIR Proposal Lab graduates consistently outperform national averages, boasting an impressive 40% success rate for Maryland companies seeking their inaugural Phase I awards. According to the National Women's Business Council, Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) received 13.3% of SBIR and 12.9% of STTR Phase I awards from 2013 to 2018. Remarkably, our women-owned Lab participants have achieved an outstanding 58% success rate on their initial award attempts. Graduates have used what they learned in our lab to receive SBIR and STTR Phase I and II funding from NSF, NIH, NASA, the Air Force, and USDA.

*Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program 

Additional Resources:

SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab Informational Webinar Presentation

What is the SBA FAST SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are the Nation’s largest source of government non-dilutive early-stage/high-risk funding for startups and small businesses. Collectively, they are America’s Seed Fund. 

The SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab combines guidance from SBIR tutorials, best-in-industry proposal training, business development and technical mentorship, expert proposal reviews, and hands-on skills application throughout the program.

The Lab’s goal is to improve proposal quality, submissions, and win rate while building long-term capacity to win government and commercial bids. The lab is funded to support 20 women-owned, small disadvantaged, and rural-based small businesses, but any eligible Maryland early-stage technology and life sciences small business can and should apply.

During the Lab, you will complete your NSF Phase I proposal while taking part in a series of training workshops conducted virtually from the Training Center at OST Global Solutions’ offices in Rockville, Maryland. Reviewers will conduct two substantive proposal color team reviews (Pink Team, Red Team) to give you actionable feedback. To increase Lab participants’ win probability, TEDCO will include information captured through research and meetings with government SBIR/STTR program managers focusing on what’s important to them, what wins, and what are the most effective preparation steps for the Lab participants.

The SBA FAST SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab will culminate in the cohort’s proposal submissions projected for the end of June, matching the summer NSF proposal deadline (Phase I proposals).

Cost: Because the lab is partially funded by a FAST grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), TEDCO, and OST Global Solutions. The fee is payable upon acceptance into the program and is non-refundable after the end of the admissions period.

Small Business Administration Logo

SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab Workshop Topics, Reviews, and Dates

Workshop 1: SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab Kickoff, Outline Content, and Business Model (January 10, 2024)

  • Cohort Introductions.
  • Project Pitch and Proposal Status Check (review progress on early preparation efforts).
  • Primer on the NSF SBIR/STTR Program.
  • Overview of the SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab program.
  • How to win an NSF grant
  • Outline walk-through and content requirements.
  • Business Model Development
  • Time management.
  • Proposal Virtual Portals.
  • Expected deliverables and assignments prior to next workshop.

Workshop 2: Compliance, Brainstorming, Speed-Writing Process (February 7, 2024)

  • Proposal Status Check.
  • Foundations of writing faster and better.
  • The psychology of writing.
  • The correct writing process.
  • Group brainstorming on section content.
  • Individual brainstorming on section content.
  • Speed writing proposal sections.
  • Using tools to help write better and faster.
  • Getting Ready for the Pink Team ‘Pens Down’.

Pink Team Review (February 25, 2024) 
Pink Team is a feedback mechanism on participant’s performance and proposal quality to date. The standard for Pink Team is that the proposal draft is 60% NSF-ready and is compliant.

Workshop 3: Project Plan, Commercialization, and TEDCO Market Research Kiosks (March 20, 2024)

  • Proposal Status Check
  • Commercial opportunity section requirements
  • Project planning
  • Developing timelines and Gantt charts
  • Commercial Opportunity section drafting

Workshop 4: Budget Proposal and Graphics (April 17, 2024)

  • Proposal Status Check.
  • NSF Budget walk-through (hands-on).
  • Proposal graphics and visuals, and principles of the design.
  • Preparation for the Red Team ‘Pens Down’.

Workshop 5: Editing and Desktop Publishing (DTP) (May 8, 2024)

  • Proposal status discussion.
  • Proposal editing.
  • Desktop publishing.
  • Assignments review.
  • Upcoming deliverable dates.

Red Team Review (May 12, 2024)

Red Team review provides feedback to participants on proposal quality. The standard is that the proposal is 90% NSF-ready; within 10% of the page count; and compliant and compelling.

Workshop 6: Proposal Preparation for Submission and Submission (June 12, 2024)

  • Proposal Status Check.
  • Proposal wall reviews.
  • Loading proposals in the portal.
  • Hitting “submit”.
  • Submission Confirmation planning and process.

Our full-day workshops will combine just-in-time training with hands-on work.


For more information about the SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab, contact Kim Mozingo (kmozingo@tedcomd.com).