Building Your Business
Small Business and Winning Contracts

16 February 2015

Are you good at problem solving? By taking part in SBRI problem-solving competitions your business could be on the way to a lucrative contract.

What is SBRI?

It’s a mechanism that a government department or public sector body uses to find a new solution to a challenge that currently has either no solution or a partial one. And it’s a great opportunity for businesses to profit by rising to the challenge and securing a valuable contract.

According to Invest NI; over 1,500 SBRI contracts valued at more than £170m have been awarded since April 2009.

How does SBRI work?

The department outlines what the problem is and asks small businesses to submit their idea for solving it. It doesn’t have to be a fully developed solution as the process includes time and funding for research and development aimed at producing a well-defined prototype.

You’ll be competing with other businesses and if your idea is chosen you’ll get a lead customer for your product or service. You’ll also retain the intellectual property rights so that you can develop your product further to suit your business aims. View some of our local success stories.

Check out the current competitions.

Read the latest SBRI success story.

The SBRI process

  • Public body identifies challenge
  • Open competition for new technologies and ideas
  • Interested companies submit an application
  • Ideas are assessed
  • Development contracts (typically £50,000– £100,000) to assess the feasibility of the idea are awarded to the most promising proposals
  • First feasibility phase (generally lasts 2–6 months)
  • Second assessment stage – not all projects will progress to phase two
  • Second phase contract awarded – usually to develop prototype or demonstrator – for up to two years (typically up to £1m)
  • Successful company is free to further develop and exploit their product or service

Invest NI are holding 2 SBRI masterclasses this month that will help you increase your chances of being successful in these competitions. You will hear top tips from experts – an evaluator and a serial winner of SBRI on how to maximise your chances of success.

Find out more and register for Belfast

Find out more and register here for Omagh

If you want to find out more about Innovate UK competitions or other R&D support,

  • Cavan
  • Louth
  • Meath
  • Monaghon