What Types of Start-ups Receive Funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program? Evidence from the Kauffman Firm Survey

Reynold V. Galope


This paper integrates the Kauffman Firm Survey with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) recipient dataset to examine in more depth the characteristics of small business start-ups that received R&D subsidy from SBIR. Our selection analysis first shows that SBIR program funds are distributed disproportionately to start-ups whose owner has a post-graduate education. The odds of being granted SBIR R&D subsidies are also higher for those who had prior R&D experience and owned patents at the start of their business operations. Start-ups that are operating in the high-technology sector are also more likely to receive SBIR funds than start-ups in traditional sectors. Surprisingly, start-ups that did not sell goods and services are more likely to receive SBIR grants. Interestingly, location matters but at a different direction: start-ups located in states that are not known for their R&D performance are more likely to receive SBIR funding.


small and medium enterprises; research and development (R&D); high-technology start-ups; Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR); innovation policy; Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS)

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-27242014000200002

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