October 20, 2021

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on the topic of small businesses innovation awards. Federal agencies participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs awarded over $3 billion to small businesses in FY 2020.

The policy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) calls for businesses to be notified of an award within 90 days and to receive it within 180 days. However, according to GAO, most federal agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR programs did not consistently issue timely awards to small businesses in the last fiscal year. While the timeliness across agencies has improved since FY 2017, only nine of the twenty-nine participating agencies were consistently on time in FY 2020.

Almost all of the agencies that have been routinely late in issuing awards have taken some steps to address risks to the timeliness of their awards, for example, by streamlining proposal reviews and the award contracting process.

Timely issuance of awards can affect the speed with which small businesses receive funds and begin work. GAO is making twenty-two recommendations to twenty federal agencies, including to improve the timeliness of awards to small businesses.

You can find the full report here.