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From Groundwater Purification to Nano Drones - Green Tech Startups are Winning SBIR and You Can Too

Green Tech and Clean Tech industries are booming! More and more decision-makers, venture capitalists, and private equity firms are focused on finding solutions to some of our world's biggest problems in the way of sustainability and human-waste management. Government Agencies are no exception to this trend.

With a heightened interest in investing in the Green Tech industry the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are looking for innovations that bring the promise of sustainability, high commercial impact, and/or societal and environmental benefits. We think green tech is here for the long term, here's what you need to know.


Investing $200+ million annually in startups who are creating deep technologies that show promise, the NSF provides validation to high-risk, early-stage founders who need to de-risk their technologies before seeking private venture capital. Projects funded by NSF must have the potential to benefit society and dramatically change the current industry market.

Currently investing in innovations that support clean drinking water, food waste reduction and coral reef regeneration, NSF invests in a diverse group of green tech focus areas without taking ownership of the startup and while giving immense control to how the funding is used. For example, funding can be used on employees’ salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials and supplies, and other R&D costs. Click here to read more about current awardees, award amounts, and the NSF portfolio of investments. Unlike many government agencies, NSF requires founders to submit a project pitch before inviting you to submit a full proposal. Watch the video below to learn more about the application process to NSF.


Another opportunity for green tech startups is the DOE which spans research areas that support Energy Production, Energy Use, Fundamental Energy Sciences, Environmental Management, and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. Like NSF, projects submitted to DOE must have the potential for commercialization but also meet the mission-specific needs of the department.

1. SUBMIT A LETTER OF INTENT (Required) A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a document that you submit in advance of your Phase I application to the DOE SBIR/STTR programs. It contains important information about your application, such as a technical abstract, that will assist DOE in identifying reviewers in advance of receiving your application. 2. SUBMIT A FULL PROPOSAL (Required)

The Instructions for Completing a DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I Grant Application guide contains instructions and other useful information for preparing the required forms for a grant from the U. S. Department of Energy for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Phase I Grant Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Grants.

How can OK Catalyst help?

Made possible by our funding partners, OCAST and SBA's FAST program, OK Catalyst offers free consulting services and one-on-one mentoring with our team of SBIR experts. With several years of SBIR experience, our team has the know-how to help you create an award-winning proposal and continuation training thereafter. Want to get started? Click here to schedule a meeting with us today.



Launching the first week of March, OK Catalyst is rolling out a NEW initiative offering strengthened support for startups and founders in Green Tech, Bio-Tech and Deep Tech innovations. This free service offers agency and funding matching, competitive proposal writing and submission guidance, and post-award management.

Look for announcements on OK Catalyst social media channels and the weekly


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