Mini Course Overview of SBIR Review Process

Help Improve your SBIR Proposal - Insights from the Review Process

Mini Course | Your Entrepreneur Instructor Nicole Toomey Davis
Buy $299.00
Nicole Toomey Davis
Nicole Toomey Davis
President & CEO, Enclavix, LLC, Co-Creator of, Successful Fundraiser, and Serial Entrepreneur

About the Instructor

Nicole Toomey Davis is President & CEO of Enclavix, LLC, creators of, a free online application that uses artificial intelligence to curate the most useful resources for entrepreneurs. 

Ms. Davis is a serial entrepreneur who has raised millions of dollars from angel and VC investors as well as over $1.2 million in funding from the NSF SBIR program.  She has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs and spent 6 years running a grant funding program for the State of Utah to help bring to market some of the state's most advanced technologies. Ms. Davis blogs at

This course is an extension of a presentation she has been asked to give to many groups of entrepreneurs to help level the playing field with investors! Ms. Davis holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a published author, with both textbook contributions and press articles to her credit, and is frequently called upon to speak at industry events and has been recognized by her peers with many industry awards.  

As a longtime and experienced reviewer of both Phase I and Phase II SBIR proposals, I have had so many questions about proposals for the upcoming SBIR deadlines that I have put together a "mini course" on what actually happens behind the scenes during the Review Process of SBIR proposals.

This permanent course came from a live course conducted in November 2017 with input from teams working on proposals for upcoming December deadlines.

Items covered include:

  • The importance of the pre-proposal executive summary/submission (more than 2 weeks in advance of submission deadlines) Your chance to make reviewers love what you do!
  • Overview of orientation that reviewers receive
  • Identifying the different types of reviewers on a panel and how this impacts the process
  • What reviewers are asked to do for each review (and how this impacts your proposal!)
  • Why an SBIR Program Director said on a road tour this summer that just a few things can raise your odds of being awarded funding from 15% to over 50%!
  • Why the Introduction can make or break your entire proposal
  • The order in which experienced reviewers read your proposal - and why it matters.
  • Differences and similarities between Phase I and Phase II reviews, and why your Phase I review is really the first part of your Phase II review
  • Do letters of support really matter - and how not to get them
  • What is really needed in the commercialization section of a Phase I (vs. Phase II)
  • Review of my list of 40 ways to improve your SBIR proposal (from mistakes I saw in actual proposals)
  • The difference between individual reviews and panel summary (and scores) and what that feedback means
  • How to track the progress of your proposal
  • Clues that you have been recommended for funding and what to expect from your PD

Content includes 9 core content chapters, over 2 hours of content plus four bonus chapters to help you with your executive summary or proposal overview and another bonus chapter to help you with your SBIR accounting.

Course Contents

12 Videos
6 Texts
5 PDFs
2.0 hrs

Course Curriculum

Chapter 2: Reviewers Selected and Receive your Proposal
Chapter 3: Reviewer’s Job Before Panel – Individual Review
Chapter 4: Reviewer Orientation “day of” Panel Review
Chapter 5: Panel Discussion and Panel Summary
Chapter 7-8: How to Gauge Proposal Progress and Hints you Have May be “Recommended for Funding”
Chapter 9: Sailing Down the Yangtze – you have 3 Days! (VentureWrench Hangs in the Balance - A True Life SBIR Story)
Bonus Chapter 2: Tools of the Trade - Elevate your Elevator Pitch!
Bonus Chapter 3 Tools of the Trade - Execute an Amazing Executive Summary