We often hear, and say ourselves, that SBIR/STTR funding is “free” money. While the funds are non-dilutive, requiring no repayment, we should clarify that SBIR/STTR awards are certainly not a “gift”. When a grant has been awarded the recipient company is making a promise to use the money as proposed, maintain eligibility, follow reporting guidelines and demonstrate progress.
Your task now is management of the funds awarded, and your most “expensive’ costs will be time and effort needed to do that. Learning what is needed to be compliant with government regulations and directing your business in an organized manner, in addition to continuing work on your technology, will show good stewardship of tax dollars.
Management of an award requires developing and following policies and procedures, establishing an accounting system that adheres to federal requirements, and setting up procurement policies, payroll, employee standards and other internal controls that are necessary for success. Time and effort!
The work involved in preparing a winning SBIR/STTR proposal is definitely worth the effort, but it is just the beginning. Here are some tips that may lighten the post-award load:
- Do what you know, but get help with the areas with which you are less familiar.
- Store and record in a secure place your company registration log ins and passwords as a back up. Change happens quickly and you can be locked out of accounts and spend hours tracking down the details.
- File all grant or contract administrative-related documents in one location, a secure electronic “binder” great.
- Set a consistent time to reconcile accounts and review project budgets against actual expenditures.