Tibbetts Award Eligibility

There are two types of Tibbetts Awards; (1) awards to any small businesses who has participated in the SBIR Phase I and II award programs and (2) individuals who have not received assistance but supported the SBIR program.  Nominees who received a Tibbetts Award in the past year are not eligible to receive an award this year.

Tibbetts Awards – SBIR Recipient

Any individual who owns and operates or who bears principal responsibility for operating a business that has received an SBIR Phase I and II award may be nominated.  Partners who jointly own and operate a business may be nominated as a “team,” so long as the number of individuals in the team nomination does not exceed four.  Nominees must also be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its territories at least 18 years of age and will be subject to background checks. Businesses owned and operated by nominees must comply with federal civil rights laws.  

Tibbetts Awards – Individual

An individual who has not received SBIR Award assistance but supports the SBIR program in other ways – as specified in the evaluation criteria, below.  Nominees may not be registered lobbyists.  Nominees must also be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its territories at least 18 years of age and will be subject to background checks.  

Tibbetts Awards Evaluation/Selection Criteria

Anyone can nominate a company or individual for the Tibbetts Award – self-nominations will be accepted.  

The criteria for evaluating Tibbetts Awards – SBIR Recipient are:

  • Technical innovation – e.g., how the technical innovation has advanced national priorities in R&D, how the technical innovation has benefited the federal government or private citizens
  • Business impact - e.g., job creation and retention, revenue growth, successful acquisition or financial exit
  • Broader social and economic benefit – e.g., encouraging women and minority participation in R&D, supporting regional economic development, creating connections to local universities 

The criteria for evaluating Tibbetts Awards - Individual are:

  • Unique, long-term service – e.g., provided advice & guidance to the SBIR program recipients, served in various capacities to the program and its awardees, provided leadership to the program and participating agencies
  • Created and/or initiated new programs - e.g., new programs to enhance commercialization prospects for awardees, innovation of services provided to awardees, enhanced program to meet its statutory goals, established programs beyond SBIR funding
  • Advocacy of SBIR – e.g., advocated policies supportive of the program , broadened the applicant base of the program, reached out to new audiences to assist in the success of SBIR awardees
Tibbetts Award Selection Process

All nominations will be screened for eligibility. Eligible nominations will be evaluated by a panel of judges selected by SBA at its sole discretion.  Each judge will serve on a volunteer basis and be screened to ensure he/she does not have a personal or financial interest in or a familial relationship with any nominee.  The judges will review all nominations and provide  award recommendations to SBA. 

Tibbetts Award winners will be selected by SBA based on the recommendations of a panel of judges. The winners will be announced in at a date and time to be determined by the SBA.   A maximum of 60 awards may be given to eligible Tibbetts Awards nominees. 


Participation in the Competition constitutes consent to SBA’s and its agents’ use of Tibbetts award winners’ and/or nominators’ name, likeness, photograph, opinions, and/or hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.