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May 15, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Tennessee companies secure more than $184.4 million in SBIRs in past decade

More than 60 percent of the awards were in the Phase I category, but the dollar value of those was dwarfed by the funding levels for the Phase II recipients.

Ahead of this week’s celebration of America’s Seed Fund, the State Science and Technology Institute, better known as SSTI, summarized the past 10 years of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards across the 11 federal agencies that are part of the program and each of the states.

Between 2013 and 2022, more than 50,000 SBIR awards were granted across all participating agencies, with the majority going to companies located in California (21 percent of all awards), Massachusetts (11 percent), and Virginia (6 percent). States like North Dakota, Alaska, and Mississippi each had less than 0.1 percent of all awards.

The bulk of SBIR awards came from the Department of Defense (47 percent) and the Department of Health and Human Services (22 percent). Thirty-six states received most of their SBIR awards from DoD over the past 10 years; 17 of these states received more than 50 percent of their total SBIR awards from the agency.

How did Tennessee do?

Small businesses in the Volunteer State received a total of 335 SBIRs. A little more than 60 percent of those – 202 in total – were Phase I awards, while Phase II awards totaled 133. By dollar value, the Phase II awards were close to five times the value of the Phase Is, even though there were more in sheer numbers. Phase Is were valued at $33.2 million for Tennessee, while Phase IIs amounted to $151.2 million.

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