Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government

Industry Mentoring and Assistance Program


The application period is closed. Please check back in Spring 2024.



The NCI SBIR Industry and Mentoring (IMAP) program aims to provide expert guidance to Phase II SBIR and STTR-funded companies, to help them address their most pressing needs in technology and business development. This program is free of charge and offers support through group mentoring by experienced CEOs and industry expert mentors who have been selected by NCI SBIR Program Directors.


How are companies selected?

To be eligible, companies must have an active Phase II SBIR or STTR award and must have applied for the NCI SBIR Investor Initiatives. Three to five pre-selected NCI SBIR Phase II companies will be selected per cohort. The companies should have clear mentoring needs identified by our Investor Initiatives reviewers, and a coachable and highly engaged team to work towards the mentoring goals. All team members with decision-making authority for product development are expected to participate in all the mentoring sessions.


How are mentors selected?

The mentor pool is a group that includes previous SBIR awardees, successful entrepreneurs, private investors, and strategic partners that NCI has worked with in the past. They will offer their expertise and guidance to companies that choose to participate in the program. Each mentor is expected to contribute at least 1.5 hours of their time per month to work with and advise the company for a period of 6 to 12 months. NCI's objective is to pair each participating company with 2-3 mentors 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 collaborate to identify up to two strategic areas to concentrate on during the mentoring program. The goal is to make significant progress in addressing the company’s needs in these areas over the six-month period. The meetings will take place once a month for 1.5 hours each. There is an option to extend the duration of mentoring by an additional three months, which can be exercised twice, at the 6th and 9th months of mentoring. All important points discussed during the meetings will be documented by the company, including time-sensitive tasks assigned by the mentors, along with the date of the next meeting. During the program, mentees and mentor companies must agree not to engage in any partnership or fundraising activities with each other.

  • Updated:

If you would like to reproduce some or all of this content, see Reuse of NCI Information for guidance about copyright and permissions. In the case of permitted digital reproduction, please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source and link to the original NCI product using the original product's title; e.g., “Industry Mentoring and Assistance Program was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.”