Course Description


You want to change the world!  SBIR or STTR funding is one way to fund that change.  This course is designed to help you Improve your SBIR or STTR proposal and develop a winning strategy to fund your vision!  

As a longtime and experienced reviewer of both Phase I and Phase II SBIR proposals,  I created this course on what actually happens behind the scenes during the Review Process of SBIR proposals as well as the ways different agencies run their SBIR/STTR programs a little differently.

  • Hosted by Nicole Toomey Davis, MBA and CEO.
  • Nicole has raised $1.2 million in SBIR funding and helped other companies win many millions more!
  • 4+ Hours of Video
  • *New* Tutorials and Summary Overview of all major SBIR and STTR Programs
  • *New* Video to help companies assess agencies based on fit with their strategic goals 
  • 2 hours of video explaining the review process
  • Video review of ways to convert reviewers into fans and champions
  • *New* 105 page Workbook and Worksheets to emphasize key points
  • "New" Checklists and To Do lists to make sure teams don't miss a submission deadline
  • In depth discussion of the the popular "40 Ways to Improve your SBIR Proposal" Handout!
  • Videos can be viewed as many times as you want for 2 years


Don't kid yourself, many SBIR and STTR proposals fail for simple mistakes, or just not clearly communicating the way you plan to change the world.  Nicole helps you understand opportunities and pitfalls in preparing a proposal. Don't let that  failed proposal be yours!   The first job of an entrepreneur is to attract the resources they need, this course can help you get there with the SBIR and STTR programs.

Plus the course is structured for 2 hours of one-on-one time with Nicole!  She can review any part of your proposal (or pre-proposal) that will help you the most, giving you spot-on feedback to help you improve.

Items covered include:

  • An overview of the SBIR program, differences between different agencies and ways to build a compelling SBIR/STTR pipeline.
  • 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 recently 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 SBIR 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 an SBIR 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 Program Director or Technical Point of Contact (DoD)

Content includes 9 core content chapters, over 3 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. 

In addition, I've gathered detailed content about each major (and most of the minor) SBIR/STTR agency programs - including overviews, agency presentations, video summaries of my discussions with senior agency personnel and more!

Order now for ONLY $1499 - a Pandemic Recovery Discount off the regular price of $2099!

For Serious Entrepreneurs who sign up during this Pandemic Recovery Discount period,  the course price is $600 off  the regular price!  For the discounted price of only $1499, you get the entire online course and 2 hours of coaching calls (normally $350 per hour) for 1-on-1 coaching insights from an experienced entrepreneur who has raised over $1.2 million SBIR dollars!  

President & CEO and co-Founder, Enclavix, LLC, Creator of AI-Powered VentureWrench Startup Coaching Community, Private Company Board Member, Serial Entrepreneur, Innovator, Capital Coach, Successful Fundraiser

Nicole Toomey Davis

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 Notes.Venturewrench.comThis 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.  

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Intro - Navigating the SBIR/STTR Programs for Success!

    • Welcome to our NEW SBIR Workshop, "Develop a Winning SBIR Strategy: Insights from an Experienced Reviewer"

    • Important Legal Stuff

    • Course Agenda Outline by Chapter

    • REMEMBER! Download this Updated SBIR / STTR Workbook with detailed notes and checklists. Formatted to be printable!

    • Consider the 40 Ways to Improve your SBIR Proposal

    • List of 40 ways to Improve your SBIR Proposal Final

  • 2

    Strategic Overview of the SBIR and STTR Programs - Learn to Identify the Best Programs for your Business Strategy!

    • Strategic Overview - Helping you Develop your SBIR/STTR Agency Strategy

    • Strategic Overview Part 1: SBIR/STTR Agency Overview

    • Strategic Overview Part 2: SBIR/STTR Process Overview

    • Your Action - Agency Worksheet

    • Your Action - Concept Worksheet

    • Your Action - Concept Customer Benefits

    • Your Action - Innovation Insights

  • 3

    Schedule your 1-on-1 Coaching Calls at any time you are ready for personalized help

    • Schedule a coaching call - Total of 2 hours 1-on-1 coaching

  • 4

    Chapter 1: Plan for Success at the Pre-Proposal – Reach out to your Program Director!

  • 5

    Chapter 2: Reviewers Selected and Receive your Proposal

    • Video - Reviewers Selected and Receive Your Proposal

    • Your Action: Write down the types of reviewers you should expect to review your proposal

  • 6

    Chapter 3: Turn your Reviewer into your Champion with a Great Proposal!

    • Video - the Individual Review and How to Create a Proposal they Review with Enthusiasm!

    • Your Action: Identify Key Actions to Turn your Reviewer into a Champion

  • 7

    Chapter 4: Reviewer Orientation on the “day of” the Panel Review - What Reviewers are looking for!

    • Video: Reviewer Orientation Day of Panel Review

    • Your Action - Are you clear about the Innovation? The Team? The Market?

  • 8

    Chapter 5: Your Proposal Hangs in the Balance - Panel Discussion and Panel Summary

    • Video: Panel Discussion and Panel Summary

    • Your Action - Have you Made it EASY for your Lead Reviewer to Summarize What you are Planning to do

  • 9

    Chapter 6: 40 Ways to Improve Your SBIR Proposal (or 40 Ways to Avoid Shooting Yourself in the Foot)

    • Introduction to 40 Ways to Improve your SBIR Proposal (duplicate from Chapter 1)

    • 40 Ways to Improve Your SBIR Proposal (40 mistakes that cost other teams their awards!)

    • Video - Discussion of 40 Ways to Avoid Shooting Yourself in the Foot or 40 Ways to Improve Your SBIR Proposal

    • Your Action - Eliminate these 40 mistakes from your Proposal!

  • 10

    Chapter 7-8: How to Gauge Proposal Progress and Hints you Have or May be “Recommended for Funding”

    • Video: Following Your Proposal Progress Plus Hints you Have May be “Recommended for Funding”

    • SBIR Proposal progress - Additional suggestion from our StartupNotes Blog

    • Your Action - Keep on top of the Progress of Your Proposal as much as Possible.

  • 11

    Chapter 9: Sailing Down the Yangtze – you have 3 Days! (VentureWrench Hangs in the Balance - A True Life SBIR Story)

    • Video - VentureWrench Hangs in the Balance - A True SBIR story!

    • Your Action - If you DON'T get a DECLINE, search your inbox every day!

  • 12

    Details of Agency SBIR/STTR Programs to Accelerate your Strategy!

    • Details of Agency SBIR/STTR Programs

  • 13

    DHS (Department of Homeland Security) SBIR Program - Budget $17.6 million

    • Latest updates and insights from my conversation with DHS Program Manager

    • DHS SBIR 1 Page Summary

    • DHS 5 Minute Video Overview "Reverse Pitch"

    • DHS SBIR Tutorial by the SBA and DHS

    • Requirement to Register with and receive an SBC Control ID

    • Bonus - SBIR Conference Panel - What to Expect from Reviewers (Evaluators) Includes DHS SBIR Director

  • 14

    DoD (Department of Defense) SBIR/STTR General Program Information - Nearly Half of all Awards!

    • DoD Represents Nearly Half of SBIR/STTR Awards - How to Navigate

    • DoD 5 Minute Overview Video Introduction

    • DoD SBIR/STTR 1 page summary

    • DoD SBIR/STTR Agency-wide Tutorial

    • DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) 5 Minute Video Overview

    • DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) SBIR 1 page summary

    • Latest updates and insights from my conversation with DARPA SBIR Program Manager

    • DoD DHA (Defense Health Agency) SBIR/STTR 5 Minute Video Overview - $ 59 million total

    • DoD JSTO CBD (Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense) SBIR 1 Page Summary

    • DoD JSTO CBD 5 Minute Video Overview

    • DoD JSTO CBD Specific SBIR Tutorial

    • DoD SOCOM Specific SBIR Tutorial

    • DOD DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) specific SBIR Tutorial

    • DoD MDA (Missile Defense Agency) 5 Minute Video Overview

    • DoD MDA (Missile Defense Agency) SBIR 1 Page Summary

    • DoD DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) 5 Minute Video Overview

    • Requirement to Register with and receive an SBC Control ID

  • 15

    DOE (Department of Energy) SBIR/STTR Program Information - Budget $300 million

    • DOE SBIR/STTR 1 page overview

    • Latest updates and insights from my conversation with DOE Program Manager

    • DOE 5 Minute Video Overview

    • DOE SBIR/STTR Tutorial

    • DOE Example Registration to do list - requires at least 3 weeks to complete before deadline including notarized letter

    • Requirement to Register with and receive an SBC Control ID

    • Bonus - SBIR Conference Panel - What to Expect from Reviewers (Evaluators) Includes DOE

  • 16

    NSF (National Science Foundation) SBIR/STTR Program Information - Budget $200 million

    • Latest NSF Program Director Update from my Individual Meeting!

    • NSF - America's Seed Fund - SBIR/STTR 2 Page Overview

    • NSF 5 Minute Video Overview "Reverse Pitch"

    • NSF SBIR 1 Page Overview (from NSF)

    • NSF SBIR Tutorial (from SBA and NSF)

    • NSF Pitch Template and Instructions and Suggestions

    • SAMPLE TO DO LIST - VentureWrench Example NSF SBIR / STTR Suggested To Do List 2019 - 3-4 Weeks to complete

    • NSF SBIR/STTR 101 Starter Video Instructions from our friends at the Utah SBIR Center

    • Example Documents and Proposal Sections

    • Example Template: VentureWrench Data Management Plan for SBIR (Phase II) - Data is Confidential

    • Example Enclavix and University of Utah Facilities and Equipment Summary

    • Requirement to Register with and receive an SBC Control ID

    • Bonus - SBIR Conference Panel - What to Expect from Reviewers (Evaluators) Includes NSF Program Director

  • 17

    Accounting Bonus - Accounting Information to help you properly manage your Phase I award and be ready for your Phase II proposal!

    • Accounting may be your Downfall! The NSF's Cost Analysis & Audit Resolution (CAAR) process before Phase II Proposal - Includes Video help

    • SBIR Phase I Accounting Workshop Handout with Examples for Phase II Proposal

    • NSF CAAR (Accounting) Webinar Video - A video by the National Science Foundation's Accounting Team on Phase I and Phase II Accounting

  • 18

    Commercialization Plan Bonus Chapter 1: Tools of the Trade - Develop Your Basic Elevator Pitch

    • Elevator Pitch Videos can help you create strong overview and executive summaries to set your proposal apart

    • Develop Your Elevator Pitch

    • Your Turn - Model Elevator Pitch Outline

  • 19

    Commercialization Plan Bonus Chapter 2: Tools of the Trade - Elevate your Elevator Pitch!

    • Elevate Your Elevator Pitch

  • 20

    Commercialization Plan Bonus Chapter 2: Tools of the Trade - Elevate your Elevator Pitch!

    • Execute an Amazing Executive Summary

  • 21

    Commercialization Plan Bonus Chapter 4: - Finessing Your Financials - Some Hints for the Commercialization Plan

    • Short overview of information concerning financials that can be used for commercialization sections

    • Tools of the Trade - Finessing your Financials