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K-12Lead of the Week (2)

Free Equity Capital For Product Development

From the November 12 issue of K-12Leads And Youth Service Markets Report.

Announcement:

• Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), Phase I Due January 22 (Nov 23), US Department of Education
• Small Business Innovation Research Program Fast Track Due January 22 (Nov 23), US Department of Education

Their Description: The Department of Education is soliciting research proposals from small business firms who qualify for participation in the Small Business Innovative Research Program (SBIR). SBIR is a competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential, as well as, providing incentive to profit from its commercialization....

Work under this program will be monitored by the Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences/ NCES Contracting Office Representatives and the CAM Contract Specialists. SBIR awards are divided into three phases: Phase I awards are funded up to six months and $100,000. Phase II awards are funded up to two years and $750,000. Phase III awardees do not receive SBIR funding. However, Federal agencies may award non-SBIR follow-on funding for products/processes developed in Phases I and II that prove to be commercially viable....

The funding available for this solicitation is for Phase I of the SBIR program. Phase I determines, as far as possible, the scientific or technical merit of ideas submitted under the SBIR program. The proposal should concentrate on R/R&D that will significantly contribute to proving the feasibility of the technological approach, a prerequisite for further ED support in Phase II.

Period of Performance: Department of Education IES awards are for periods up to 6-months in amounts up to $100,000.... All responsible sources who qualify for participation in the Small Business Innovative Research Program may submit a proposal that, if timely received, shall be considered by the agency....

A Fast-Track proposal is a single proposal that contains both Phase I and Phase II activities. Through the Fast-Track (Phase I & II) option, the Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) intends to fund meritorious proposals that have high potential for the commercialization of technologically innovative products that contribute to improved student learning and academic achievement in the field of education. By providing the opportunity to concurrently submit and review a proposal that contains both Phase I and Phase II activities, the Fast-Track option has the potential to minimize any funding gap between the Phase I and Phase II periods....
In the Phase I portion of the Fast-Track proposal, the offeror must (1) describe the significance of the project; (2) specify clear, measurable goals (milestones) that detail the development of a functioning prototype of an education technology product; and (3) specify a research plan to test the feasibility of the prototype for implementation in a school or formal education delivery setting....

In the Phase II portion of the Fast-Track proposal, the offeror must (1) specify clear, measurable goals (milestones) that detail the R/R&D process through which the prototype will become, or will be on a trajectory to become, a commercially viable education technology product, (2) provide an evaluation plan to test the efficacy of the product for achieving the intended outcomes in schools or formal education delivery settings, and (3) detail a commercialization plan for the sale and distribution of the product should all the technical objectives be achieved.....

Our Thoughts: The school improvement industry doesn’t enjoy the extent of government support capacity-building for private sector found in every other federal department, but such support does exist. Moreover, this Department of Education investment does not require owners to part with their equity, and counts as revenue.

Who could ask for anything more?

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