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The Innovation Update with OK Catalyst

A new year means more opportunities to take advantage of non-dilutive funding opportunities available through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs - which invest $4 billion annually to stimulate high-risk, innovative technology development nationwide.

Learn more about how OK Catalyst's programs can help you secure SBIR funding below!


Allow us to Reintroduce Ourselves

If you're new to following OK Catalyst, we're glad you're here! OK Catalyst exists to help small businesses across Oklahoma and the Heartland win SBIR awards from DoD, DOE, NASA, NSF, and other SBIR-awarding agencies. Our no-cost training and mentorship Funding Lab programs help potential candidates find SBIR funding opportunities and prepare competitive proposals in response to agency topics published throughout the year. OK Catalyst's SBIR Funding Labs are typically focused on supporting Phase I & Phase II SBIR candidates for DoD, DOE, NASA, and NSF opportunities, but we do provide training and mentorship to selected companies applying to other SBIR-awarding agencies.

Meet the Team

Sarah Hamby serves as the Director of OK Catalyst and is dedicated to increasing innovation and entrepreneurship across Oklahoma and the Heartland. Prior to joining OK Catalyst, Sarah served for more than a decade in the U.S. Air Force. Sarah earned her MBA from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

Maya Nkouka serves as the Senior Program Manager at OK Catalyst. Maya oversees day-to-day operations and programming for OK Catalyst's Funding Labs. Maya earned her J.D. from the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland.

Andrew Aston serves as the Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Program Manager at OK Catalyst. Andrew focuses on serving post-awarded companies through the completion of their Phase I awards and submission of Phase II awards. Andrew earned his MBA from the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.

About OK Catalyst's Funding Labs

OK Catalyst's Funding Labs are where the SBIR process starts. Each Funding Lab typically takes the form of an 8-week, virtual course timed to align with an open proposal submission window from an SBIR award-granting agency. Participants in each of our Funding Labs will receive proposal development training and mentorship tailored to the unique demands of specific agency topics. Upon receiving a Phase I award, OK Catalyst participants will advance to our post-award TABA Lab, where they will receive additional technical and business assistance to support their efforts to complete Phase I and win a Phase II award.

How to Apply

To apply for a Funding Lab, you must participate in a preliminary consultation with an OK Catalyst team member to determine eligibility for our programs. In order to be eligible, you must be a small business developing a high-risk, innovative technology that aligns with the interests of an SBIR-awarding agency. During the consultation, our team will help you identify the best agency fit(s) for your area(s) of interest. Once you are ready to apply to a Funding Lab, you can visit our website and apply for the Lab that best fits the technology or research you are developing. If you are interested in learning more about whether your company is a fit for SBIR, please book a consultation.


Upcoming SBIR Funding Labs

DOE Lab  

LOIs and Applications due Fri, Feb 2

Find more info and the DOE Topics here 


Applications due Tue, Feb 6

An accelerated, 4-week course to align with the submission deadline on March 7. Find more info on the Open Topic Solicitation here


Applications open Mon, Apr 1 

Dates are subject to change based on the FY24 Solicitation release


Use of AI in Proposal Creation

The NSF recently published new guidelines on the use of generative AI in the proposal writing process, which may soon be followed by other agencies. Under the guidelines, applicants are encouraged to indicate in the project description the extent to which, if any, generative AI technology was used and how it was used to develop their proposal. Applicants remain responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of their proposal submission in consideration for merit review, including content developed with the assistance of generative AI tools. All OK Catalyst Funding Lab participants are encouraged to review the guidelines and always thoroughly proofread AI-generated content before submission.


Tom Love Innovation Hub | The University of Oklahoma

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