Pursuit eNews from BBC

Introducing a New Website for BBC

In last month's newsletter, we announced that we have changed our name to BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting LLC (BBCetc) to better reflect what we do today, i.e. technology assessment and commercialization planning, training and one-one-one consulting on SBIR/STTR and other research grants and contracts, and grants and contracts management.  We also introduced our new logo.



Today we unveil a new look to our newsletter and a new website.  The new appearance meshes with our new "corporate" identity and branding and gives us lots of flexibility to bring you more information and tips.  We are especially excited about the new website, which includes information about our team, clients and services, as well as an array of tools for entrepreneurs, including an SBIR/STTR FAQ, important solicitation dates and deadlines, timely updates, the BBCetc training schedule and resource links. 


We will be keeping the site current on a regular basis and adding even more tools and information in coming months.  Please use it as a resource!


A little dusting and freshening is invigorating every so often, and our team is charged up and ready to assist you!  As always, we encourage your comments, suggestions and ideas for the continued improvement of our services.


BBC Welcomes New Principal Consultant, Becky Aistrup

We are delighted to announce the addition to our staff Becky of Becky Aistrup on July 2. Becky was previously the SBIR/STTR Program Director for the Minnesota Science and Technology Authority. Her professional background includes over 20 years of experience working within the medical, biotech, advanced materials and electronics industries, and consulting with technology companies on SBIR/STTR funding. In the 1990s, she served as Vice President, Business Development & Licensing for a successful SBIR firm, helping them strategically target proposals and develop Phase II commercialization plans. Becky earned a BA degree in Chemistry from the University of Kansas, an MBA in Marketing Management from the University of Minnesota, and a Master's Certification in Interactive Marketing from the University of San Francisco. She is a rare find, and well able to hit the ground running with our clients.


As Becky joins us, we are bidding a sad farewell to Dr. Bhramara Tirupati, our colleague since 2009, who leaves BBC at the end of July to broaden her career experience with other endeavors. Bhramara's accomplishments are appreciated by every entrepreneur she's touched through training or assistance with their proposal.  We will all miss her sassy spirit, and we wish her every success in the future. 

Teachers Get a Dose of Students' Pain 
As we work with our clients on a daily basis, we hear their tales of woe about navigating the often complicated process feel ur pain of preparing and electronically filing SBIR/STTR proposals.  The instructions are lengthy and filled with detail, the requirements are many, and pushing the button to file is an event filled with hope, but also trepidation. 


In case you think we don't feel your pain, we do sometimes get a reminder of how grueling the process can be.  The BBC team has developed four of our own proposals over the past two months including two that were submitted through grants.gov.  Should be a piece of cake for us, right?  The good news was that we worked as a team, created outlines, read and re-read the solicitations, assigned tasks, had others review our drafts and made sure to submit in advance of the deadlines.  But easy??  Not at all! 


Each of the four solicitations that we responded to had its own set of instructions, parts of which were anything but straight forward.  We successfully got all four submitted.  Now we wait - just like you - for funding decisions. 


It may not make you feel any better about what an arduous process this is, but we've been in your shoes!  We hope we defied the old adage that says "do as we say, not as we do."  We did what we say and hope that makes us all the better at helping you! - Lisa Kurek, Managing Partner

BBC Blog Just Posted

New Department of Energy SBIR/STTR Program . . . Navigation Required

by Becky Aistrup, Principal Consultant, BBCetc

In December 2010, the Department of Energy (DOE) hired a new Program Director for their SBIR/STTR Program, Dr. Manny Oliver. Since then, Dr. Oliver and his staff have made some significant revisions to the DOE SBIR program that you need to know about if you are thinking about submitting a Letter of Intent (NOW REQUIRED) by the September 4, 2012 deadline, and a proposal for the October 16 due date. 

A brief overview of how DOE organizes its SBIR program will help you understand their process.

The SBIR/STTR Program Office at DOE (the section headed by Dr. Oliver) issues topics and announcements, manages the review and grants management process and conducts outreach about the program. It is DOE's 12 Program Offices that actually develop the topics, select reviewers and awardees, assign project managers for each awardee and sign off on technical reports. The Program Offices are organized to pursue the three overriding goals of DOE:

Clean energy technology development and advancement-A little less than one third of DOE's SBIR budget is in this area
Science and engineering leadership-A full two-thirds of the SBIR/STTR budget is focused here
Nuclear security-A small portion of the funding is allocated for these topics. Read on. . .

Commercialization Starts with Identifying (and solving) Problems 
Thirty years ago research by Professor Roger Calantone of Michigan State University suggested that new products fail
because too little attention has been paid to real needs. In addition, he opined that the most common failures are with products driven by technology rather than what the customer needs.


Sounds like the classic dilemma: technology push vs. market pull. Which camp are you in? Does your elevator pitch begin with a description of your technology? In how much detail can you talk about your customer's problems?  
For most technology entrepreneurs it's difficult not to analyze a problem through the lens of their own solution. Therefore, they can't see the problem the way the customer does.

To avoid biased assumptions about what your customer needs you must ask some tough questions: 
  • Is the problem significant? If not, you'll soon discover that solutions to trivial problems are a tough sell! 
  • Is the need real? Is the customer even seeking a solution? 
  • Is the customer aware of the problem?  
Remember it's not your answers that are important ... but the customers'. What's the secret to discovering the answers? Ask as many customers as you can find, and listen carefully.
- Michael Kurek, PhD, Partner, BBC 
upcoming. . . 
         & deadlines
Nat'l. Institutes of Health Phase I and  II SBIR/STTR
Closes: August 5

Dept. of Energy
- has released topics for its FY 2013 SBIR/STTR Phase I Funding Opportunity
Opens: Aug 13
Closes: Sep 4

Dept. of Defense - has released SBIR/STTR pre-solicitation Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) for Army & Navy Rapid Innovation Funds

Open: Aug 27
Close: Sep 26
Navy Information
Army Information 
NASA - Tentative release of 2012 SBIR/STTR solicitation set for Sep 4
Closes: Oct 3


SBIR/STTR 101: Introduction & Overview
Oct 25 - Detroit, MI
Nov 6 - Kalamazoo, MI


SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep Overview -Life Sciences Focus 
Sep 11 - Madison, WI (Registration opens next week)
SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep-NIH Focus 
Sep 13-14 - Chicago, IL
Sep 19-20 - Lansing, MI
Oct 2-3 - St. Louis, MO
Oct 16-17 - Lebanon, NH
Oct 23-24 - Newark, DE

SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep - NSF Focus
SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep-DoE/DoD Focus
Aug 28 - Kalamazoo, MI


Sep 6 - Tips on Electronic Submission to DoE

Other Events:
Aug 8 - SBIR/STTR Overview Ottawa Co., MI
Sep 18-19 - NDIA, MI Chapter, 6th Annual Fall Business Event, Troy, MI
tips from Kris 

Preparing an SBIR/STTR Budget? Get friendly with your Indirect Rate

Indirect costs are the expenses incurred that are not readily identified with a particular project. Sometimes referred to as overhead, G&A, or burden, these costs can include rent, utilities, administrative salaries, insurance, accounting, and such.  Every organization, no matter how small, has "indirects."

Tip: If you're preparing an SBIR/STTR proposal, when completing your budget be sure to request the necessary dollars to cover your indirect costs.


Kris Bergman is BBC's Grants & Contracts Management Consultant. She helps clients manage their awards to ensure compliance with financial policies and procedures and maximal use of funds.  She consults in the areas of budget development, indirect cost negotiation, Just-in-Time response, QuickBooks, and preparing for government audits. For information about her services, contact her at kris@bbcetc.com.

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who we are

BBC is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping technology-based entrepreneurs win federal grants and contracts through the SBIR and STTR programs and use that funding strategically to propel growth. Through training courses and one-on-one consulting, the BBC team assists client companies with:
leaf bullet Technology Assessment
       Research Grant    
Entrepreneurial Training
 Tech-Based Economic   
       Development Programs  


For more information, email or call us at 734-930-9741.