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3 min read

How TABA Funds Can Strengthen Your SBIR/STTR Proposal

The Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) program is a way for small businesses to get funding over and above their SBIR/STTR awards to contract with their own vendors and consultants for commercialization purposes, allowing the small businesses to stay focused on research and development while a vendor helps shape their commercialization roadmap.


What are TABA Funds?

In today’s competitive SBIR/STTR atmosphere, companies are always looking for a way to stand out and strengthen their proposal submissions. One way to do this is by using Technical and Business Assistance Funds. TABA Fund was created by the 2019 John McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as a way to assist small businesses in commercializing innovative technologies coming out of the SBIR/STTR program. Therefore, TABA helps you get additional funding over and above the SBIR/STTR grant budget cap to help pay for any commercialization and business costs not included in your SBIR/STTR proposal. The commercialization plan required by the Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) for the SBIR/STTR is usually one of the proposal evaluation criteria. Therefore, any efforts to strengthen the proposal in this area can give a company a better chance of receiving an award.

The NDAA set TABA fund limits:
  • Phase I - Up to $6,500
  • Phase II - Up to $50,000

These funds are in addition to the SBIR/STTR award amount and will not reduce the maximum award amount for the technical effort in the SBIR/STTR. A few agencies are selecting funding limits for the TABA funds that are below these limits, and that is acceptable. As an example the Department of Transportation has put limits on their TABA funds that are below the maximums defined by the 2019 NDAA (DOT Phase I limit is $5,000 and Phase II limit is $13,000). Some agencies do not allow for TABA.  The BAA will typically include specific guidance on the TABA funds for the particular proposal.

The request for TABA funds is evaluated separately and does not affect the selection criteria for the merit of the SBIR/STTR award.

The SBIR and STTR Policy Directive dated October 2020 defines the purpose of TABA Funds are to assist SBIR/STTR Awardees in: (each agency posts their own definition):

(A) making better technical decisions on SBIR/STTR projects; 

(B) solving technical problems that arise during SBIR/STTR projects; 

(C) minimizing technical risks associated with SBIR/STTR projects; and 

(D) commercializing the SBIR/STTR product or process, including intellectual property protections.

The TABA funds are issued to help commercialize technologies sponsored by the SBIR/STTR with tasks outside of the research and development funds of the proposal budget. TABA funds are issued by each agency, and this additional funding must be used to help in the areas that lead toward commercialization. These funds must be spent with a third-party expert to provide these services for the company (either a vendor recommended by the agency or one selected by the awardee and approved by the agency). The funds cannot be spent internally in the awardee's company. 

Read more about TABA at Discretionary Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) |

How Can Ingalls Help?

When a small business proposes a SBIR/STTR Phase II for the development of a software application that will eventually reside on the government network, that small business may need to obtain an Authorization to Operate (ATO) in accordance with the Risk Management Framework (RMF).  Many small businesses are unaware of this requirement until they have been awarded a Phase II SBIR/STTR and are not able to budget for this requirement.

Ingalls Information Security offers the following services that can be paid for with TABA funds:

RMF/ATO Support

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Risk Management Framework (RMF) is a 7-step process that organizations can use to manage information security and privacy risk for organizations and their systems. All DoD information systems must undergo the RMF process to achieve an Authorization to Operate (ATO).

Navigating the RMF/ATO process is exhaustive, resource-intensive, and often not considered until the system or application is ready to deploy, significantly delaying the timely delivery of today’s technology to the warfighter.

Ingalls understands the ATO challenge, so much so that we have developed CSAR, our ATO preparation software, which will help users be positioned for ATO success. An ATO may be required to go from a SBIR Phase II to a Phase III for software development and before going commercial.

Ingalls can assist as cybersecurity experts by providing a cost estimate for the RMF services to include in an SBIR/STTR Phase II or Phase III proposal and, with the TABA funds, providing the RMF/ATO services upon award.

Code Testing and Analysis

Ingalls can also perform a Static Code Review to identify insecure code that may cause vulnerabilities in the vital records application. The review will highlight any weaknesses that could lead to unauthorized access, areas of deficient configuration that could lead to an undetected attack, and/or noncompliance with best practices and organizational security policies.

Ready to strengthen your SBIR/STTR commercialization plan and build a more robust cyber defensive posture to meet government cybersecurity standards? Reach out to our experts to learn more or set up a free demo. 

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