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Industry Mentoring and Assistance Program

Now accepting applications from invited companies. [View Here]

Submit your application by COB Thursday, April, 27th to


The NCI Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is introducing a new mentoring assistance program to provide expert guidance to Phase I SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funded companies to address their most pressing needs in technology and business development. This free program provides support through group mentoring by experienced CEO and industry expert mentors selected by NCI SBIR Program Directors. 

How are companies selected?

Eligible companies must have an active Phase I SBIR or STTR award and must complete the NIH Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Needs Assessment program. TABA will provide a comprehensive report that includes an assessment of the company’s progress and a series of recommendations on strengths and weaknesses in areas critical to success in the competitive health care marketplace.

Three to five pre-selected NCI SBIR Phase I companies will be selected for the first cohort. C-suite executives with product development decision-making authority are expected to participate in all the mentoring sessions. As we learn from the initial cohort, we plan to expand the program.

How are mentors selected?

The mentor pool combines prior SBIR awardees and experienced entrepreneurs that have gone on to be successful, private investors and strategic partners that NCI has worked with in the past. Mentors will agree to contribute a minimum of 1.5 hours of their time per month over 6-12 months to work with and advise the company.

Mentors will play an active role in identifying the companies they would like to mentor. NCI’s goal is to pair 2–3 mentors with each participating company. Pairings are based on the best matches of company needs, mentor expertise, and personality matches. All mentors will advise their company as a team in the same session.

How does the program work?

Mentors and mentees will jointly identify up to two strategic areas to focus on throughout the 6 months. The goal is to make significant progress in addressing the company’s needs in these given areas over that time. Meeting frequency and duration (totaling at least 25 hours during the 6 months) will be determined by the mentor and mentee. Meeting highlights will be recorded in the feedback document provided by NCI and must include time-bound tasks assigned by the mentors and the next meeting’s date. Mentees and mentor companies must agree not to pursue any partnership or fundraising activities with each other throughout the mentoring program.

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