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Report finds 15% of SBIR/STTR funds go to women-owned businesses

Women-owned small businesses account for about 15% of Phase 1 proposals and about 14% of Phase 1 awards from the 11 federal agencies that fund small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, according to a report released on August 12 by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC).

The rates of proposals and awards given to women-owned businesses are similar to the percentage of STEM-intensive SBIR industries owned by women (15%), according to a 2012 Survey of Business Owners conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the NWBC report, although the participation of women-owned businesses in the SBIR/STTR programs overall did not change significantly over time, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) both reported that women's participation had increased notably between 2011 and 2018. The NSF went from awarding 15.5% SBIR Phase I awards to women-owned businesses in 2011 to 22.4% in 2018; DOE participation increased from 3.5% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2018.

“Female business owners and entrepreneurs in all types of industries continue to grow in number and influence,” said NWBC Women in STEM Subcommittee Chair Monica Stynchula. “NWBC is committed to advocating for women in business, including STEM innovators and entrepreneurs, and this study will help inform the Council’s policy recommendations to Congress, the White House, and SBA set to be released later this year. Federal programs like SBIR and STTR give women the opportunity to innovate and launch or expand their enterprise.”

The NWBC intends for this report to provide a baseline understanding of the inclusion of women entrepreneurs and female principal investigators in the advanced technology business realm funded by SBIR/STTR. The report also highlights targeted efforts to increase the involvement of women by the 11 funding agencies and SBA-funded entrepreneurial support organizations.

The NWBC is a non-partisan federal advisory committee created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on economic issues of importance to women business owners. According to the NWBC, the report is the first comprehensive study examining the factors that may influence women’s participation in the SBIR/STTR programs, which are collectively known as America’s Seed Fund. The SBIR and STTR programs provide $4 billion each year to a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses.

This study uses award-level administrative data provided by funding agencies to the SBA and is publicly available on SBIR.gov.

Read the report: https://www.nwbc.gov/2020/08/12/womens-inclusion-in-small-business-innov...

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