FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources

FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources 4 FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources

FAST (Federal and State Technology) Partnership Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Securing federal grant funding for your innovative idea or technology is a critical step toward commercial success. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, often referred to as “America’s Seed Fund,” are an excellent source of undiluted funding, but are highly competitive.

The FAST Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is led by EnterpriseWorks and provides free resources, support, and expertise necessary to submit a highly competitive proposal to help startups and companies bridge the gap between research and commercialization. We have helped companies acquire millions of dollars in federal SBIR/STTR funding – at no cost whatsoever to them.

BREAKING NEWS: State of Illinois rolls out SBIR/STTR matching program in November 2022. More here. 

Why the Illinois FAST Center is at EnterpriseWorks

Up to 25% of all State of Illinois SBIR/STTR funding is awarded annually to the companies or graduates of EnterpriseWorks in Research Park.

These programs award $2 billion dollars annually to qualified small businesses across the nation for innovative projects that meet specific federal needs. Entrepreneurs receive anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million in capital. Awards are based on small business qualifications, degree of innovation, technical merit and future market potential.

For more information or questions, please contact [email protected].

FAST Center at Illinois Resources

Office Hours

Office hours are available by appointment to Illinois-based teams seeking quick answers about SBIR/STTR funding, how the program works, team eligibility to apply, how funds can be used, etc. We recommend that SBIR/STTR newcomers review the Illinois FAST Center SBIR/STTR FAQ document prior to scheduling office hours.



Illinois FAST Center SBIR/STTR FAQs

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One-on-One Technical Assistance

Entrepreneurs, researchers, and inventors throughout the State of Illinois can apply for one-on-one technical assistance. This includes assistance with more complex SBIR/STTR questions such as insight, guidance, or strategy for selecting an agency or solicitation, review and feedback of proposal drafts, and help with proposal budgets and application process. A limited number of hours are available for per business, per proposal for 1:1 technical assistance and are subject to availability of program funding.

Roland Garton, Garton Consulting Services 

FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources 5 FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources

Roland Garton is President and Lead Consultant of Garton Consulting Services, Inc. He has over four decades of experience with grant development, government contracting, program and project management, training and documentation, and program administration.

Roland has written or advised on scores of SBIR proposals worth several million dollars to 9 of the 11 federal SBIR-granting agencies. He has also managed several projects resulting from successful SBIR proposals. In addition, he has set up bookkeeping and timekeeping systems for many SBIR recipients, prepared invoices and Incurred Cost Proposals, and helped navigate multiple companies through federal audits, many of them conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).

Anna Lisa Somera, ALS Consulting 

FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources 6 FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources

Anna Lisa is an experienced medical device consultant, venture capitalist, intellectual property analyst, technology transfer specialist, biomedical researcher, and entrepreneur specializing in early-stage, cutting-edge technology businesses. She has been part of the entrepreneurial community in Illinois for 14 years and has helped drive the formation and raised angel and venture funding for several startup companies while also serving as top management for many of the ventures.

Somera’s advising adds up to over thirty million dollars in grants to date, mostly for Illinois companies. Her multi-disciplinary academic preparation in business, public health, and cell biology, along with her strong ties to the University of Illinois, has aided in her success in the entrepreneurial community. Additionally, Somera serves as an SBIR/STTR grant consultant at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Argonne National Laboratory.

Kris Parmelee, Parmelee Consulting Group

FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources 7 FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources

Kristen (Kris) Parmelee is a proud graduate of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). She started her career at an Indianapolis-based nonprofit in program development and management. After gaining initial experience in fund raising, Kris launched her own venture in 2000 with a focus on private foundation and federal grants. In 2005, she expanded her experience to include SBIR/STTR and for the past five years, has focused almost exclusively on SBIR/STTR and project management services.

Heidi Platt, Platinum Grants & Proposals

FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources 8 FAST Center at Illinois: SBIR Resources

Heidi Platt is the Founder and President of Platinum Grants & Proposals. With a Chemical Engineering degree from Purdue University, she has gained more than 15 years of engineering and project leadership experience. Heidi has written and assisted with many winning government proposals and has had the responsibility of managing government contracts.

Before founding Platinum Grants & Proposals, Heidi was the Director of the Proposal Assistance Program at high tech engineering firm Techshot where she assisted businesses with the development of federal and state proposals by providing outlines, guidance, reviews, and technical analysis. One of her main roles was to teach clients the process of preparing and submitting an SBIR/STTR proposal. Heidi also served as Techshot’s project engineer. Through this role, she developed SBIR proposals and managed multiple research and development contracts with NASA.


FREE SBIR/STTR Training Events

Through the FAST Partnership Program, we offer monthly webinars that focus on introductory topics (SBIR 101) and explore opportunities related to specific agencies that participate in the SBIR program. We also offer webinars and workshops that provide a deeper dive on agency SBIR/STTR programs or processes, successful award management, Phase II topics, and updates, priorities, or changes at the federal or state level for SBIR/STTR stakeholders. We collaborate with Illinois ecosystem peers to produce and deliver a four-week series of intensive training workshops designed to help qualified teams to prepare successful SBIR/STTR grant applications for submission.




Upcoming Training and Networking Events

We post our upcoming events on the FAST Center of Illinois calendar. We also recommend checking the IUIN Ecosystem Events calendar for opportunities of interest to those who are pursuing SBIR/STTR funding. Want to receive notices about upcoming events? Click the SUBSCRIBE button below.






Examples of Previous IL FAST Center Communication


More Resources

Sample SBIR Application – Digital Medicine

Sample SBIR Application – Portable Testing Device

Sample SBIR Application – Therapeutics

America’s Seed Fund

Illinois Small Business Assistance

SIU Carbondale SBIR Catalyst Program


SBIR/STTR Technical Assistance

This program encourages entrepreneurs to apply for federal grants.