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USDA SBIR Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive a USDA SBIR program award, all awardees are required to certify at the time of award that the awardee firm meets the size, ownership, and control requirements of the programs. USDA's SBIR Program follows eligibility requirements found in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) “Guide to SBIR/STIR Program Eligibility.”

The SBA “Guide to SBIR/STIR Program Eligibility” is intended to help small businesses (1) understand the programs’ eligibility requirements, (2) determine if they will be eligible at the time of award, and (3) accurately complete the necessary certification.  This guide explains the ownership and control requirements and provides illustrative examples.  It also explains the 500 employee size limit and how a firm’s affiliates are determined when measuring its size. 

Each applicant submitting an application must qualify as a small business concern for research and development (R&D) purposes at the time of award. In addition, the primary employment of the project director (PD) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed research. Primary employment means that more than one-half of the PD’s time is spent in the employ of the small business. Primary employment with the small business precludes the applicant as a full-time employee with another organization. While the PD must work more than one-half of his/her time for the small business during the entire grant period, there is no minimal time requirement for what percentage of the PD’s time is spent working on the proposed research.

Also, the R&D work must be performed in the United States.  On rare and unique circumstance, for example, a supply, material or project requirement not available in the United States, agencies may allow that particular portion of the R&D work to be performed in a country outside of the United States.  In addition, consultant services should be performed in the United States.  Approval, in writing, is necessary by the USDA for such specific conditions.

For complete details on eligibility requirements, visit SBA's "Guide to SBIR/STIR Program Eligibility"

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