MTI’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP)

With only about 10-15% of Phase I applications approved, the SBIR/STTR program is highly competitive. Plus, navigating a federal grant process can be daunting — especially for a small business with limited resources. Organizations that work with MTI’s TAP team, typically have an increased chance of an award.

MTI’s guidance throughout the SBIR process was crucial in getting our grant approved.

The MTI TAP team provides free, expert guidance to Maine small businesses seeking SBIR/STTR funding, including: 

  • Introduction to the SBIR/STTR program.
  • Proposal strategy and planning meetings.
  • Government accounting assistance in preparing an overhead rate and SBIR/STTR budget development.
  • Proposal writing guidance and support throughout the entire process.
  • Critical technical editing and proposal reviews.
  • Expanded follow-on assistance and support for the Phase II proposal (and in Phase I depending on the agency), including government accounting assistance, market research and commercialization planning from expert consultants.
  • Click here for information about the TAP program eligibility requirements, authorization and exceptions policy.

TAP Eligibility Criteria 

TAP is a program that helps small businesses successfully apply for SBIR/STTR funding. While SBIR/STTR eligibility varies depending on the funding agency, below are the basic criteria needed to be considered for MTI’s support in the application process. 

  • Must be a Maine-based business: As Maine’s official SBIR/STTR support organization, MTI only provides application support to Maine Businesses. This means your organization must be registered in Maine or have a significant presence in Maine.
  • Must be a for-profit business: The SBIR/STTR program only funds for-profit businesses. 
  • Must employ fewer than 500 people: The SBIR/STTR program funds early-stage innovation for small to mid-sized businesses.  
  • U.S. owned and operated business: SBIR/STTR only funds businesses that are U.S. owned and operated. The proposed project must also be done in the U.S. 
  • SBIR/STTR application must focus on research & development: SBIR/STTR does not provide funding for other activities, like purchasing equipment, commercializing a previously developed technology, or one that has very low risk and needs only capital.

SBIR/STTR Readiness Assessment 

Click here to take our short assessment to see if your project is at the best stage for SBIR/STTR funding. After answering a few questions, you’ll know whether or not you’re a good fit for funding and can reach out to us for application support. If the assessment indicates that you’re not a good fit for the program right now, we’ll provide a list of next steps you can work on to improve your chances.

TAP Process

Creating a competitive SBIR/STTR proposal takes two to three months. During this time, MTI’s TAP team provides comprehensive support through each stage of the process. Note that the below process also applies when seeking an MTI grant to support SBIR/STTR proposal writing.

Application process when working with TAP

Here is how the process unfolds:

Fill Out the Interest Form

To enroll in TAP, complete an online interest form.


Based on your interest form, we will pair you with one of the TAP consultants listed below. A member of the TAP team will set up a meeting to explore your company’s technology, determine which federal agency topics it fits, help you understand TAP support and provide an overview of MTI funding available to help cover the costs of writing a proposal. If you haven’t taken a VIRAL assessment, your advisor will help you complete one.


With help from TAP, you’ll identify a solicitation from a federal agency that best fits your technology. You’ll then review the proposal requirements, identify resources needed and develop a strategic plan to write the proposal — which may include applying for MTI funding.


Submitting an SBIR/STTR proposal can require registration with several federal organizations — which can vary depending on the federal agency to which you are applying. The TAP team will assist you in identifying which agencies you’ll need to register with and how to complete the process.


Based on strategic discussions with the TAP team, you’ll begin developing the technical — and if applicable, commercialization — components of your proposal. This can include gathering letters of support, market research and budget — all of which the TAP team will facilitate. 


Using a template provided by TAP, you’ll submit your proposal’s first draft. The TAP team will review, edit and provide comments. This is a continuous, iterative process that can include multiple rounds of edits and reviews and can include the participation of various TAP experts. 


You will finalize your proposal based on TAP guidance and feedback, including completing any necessary forms and attachments. The TAP team will provide a review of your online forms, and then you will submit your proposal electronically.

TAP Team

MTI’s TAP team has over a 100 years of combined experience in business strategy, accounting, market research and government contract consulting. This vast and deep knowledge has helped numerous small businesses in Maine win SBIR/STTR awards and grow into thriving companies. 

Karen West Morgan | Program Lead

Karen is president of C&P Management Services, LLC, a woman veteran-owned small business specializing in assisting companies in writing competitive SBIR/STTR proposals and government contract management. She is a 2006 SBA Tibbetts Award winner for exemplifying excellence in the SBIR/STTR program and a recognized expert with extensive SBIR/STTR experience. With over 25 years’ experience, Karen also provides knowledge of federal regulations, proposal development and contract/subcontract management expertise throughout Maine and across the U.S.

Karen leads MTI’s Technical Assistance Program where MTI provides pro bono assistance to Maine companies on the SBIR/STTR program. She has co-authored two publications: A Guide to Successful SBIR/STTR Proposal Writing, and A Guide to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Writing. Karen is an invited panel member for the NSF and the USDA’s SBIR/STTR review process and speaker at national SBIR conferences. She is an ex-Air Force contracting officer and certified technical training instructor. Karen has developed SBIR/STTR proposal writing courses and routinely gives SBIR/STTR workshop presentations. Karen holds a BS in business from Columbia College.

Contact Information — telephone: 207-845-2934, email: [email protected]

Government Accounting

Stanton W. Gavitt, Jr. | CPA

Stanton received a B.S. in Accounting from Bentley College and had six years of Public Accounting experience with a large firm and twenty-two years in industry working for a large government contractor prior to going into business for himself in 2002. During his time in industry, he spent a significant portion of his time working with the accounting systems and reporting requirements dictated by the US government and was intimately involved with audits conducted by the EPA and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). As a consultant, Stan provides CPA support, tax services and accounting support to Maine companies with federal contract. Under the TAP program, Stan guides companies in preparing an indirect cost rate, and provides budget and justification support.

Contact Information — telephone: 207-878-4514, email: [email protected]

Joshua Tracey | CPA

Joshua has several years of public, private, and industry accounting experience and is proficient in business analytics. He has a passion for using his expertise to provide superior advice and services to his clients. Joshua has worked at Management Accounting of New England in Brunswick, ME for the past year.

Contact Information — email: [email protected]

Commercialization Support

Suzanne Hamlin | Business Strategist

Suzanne, principal of Transformative Knowledge Group, is a business strategy and customer development consultant with a special interest in business transition, transformation, and scaling. She has been a member of MTI’s SBIR/STTR TAP team since 2004 and has served as an SBIR grant application reviewer for both NSF and USDA. She has extensive experience leading teams and companies through organizational change, planning for new product commercialization, and applying new and emerging technologies for revenue growth and streamlining of work processes. A presenter with Maine Center for Entrepreneur’s Top Gun program since its inception, her sessions on Customer Discovery and Strategic Marketing are consistently top-rated.

Suzanne’s extensive operating experience encompasses both large and small organizations in a variety of functional roles including marketing, product management, business process redesign, and operations management. Her industry experience includes retail, direct marketing, medical products, manufacturing, banking, and insurance, as well as a broad range of non-profits, and she has consulted heavily in all seven of Maine’s targeted technology sectors. Suzanne has served on boards of a number of high tech and community service organizations and is an Organizational Partner of the Maine Accelerates Growth (MxG0 initiative. Suzanne holds a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University, with honors, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Contact Information — telephone: 207-773-0504, email: [email protected]

Market Research

Jan Knight | Market Researcher

Jan is President of Bancroft Information Services and is a market and business research consultant based in Arizona. She describes her business as ‘providing insight to entrepreneurs from start-ups to grown-ups’ and has worked in almost all industry segments. In recent years, she has expanded her services to include ‘research-driven writing’ projects including whitepapers, and market and industry snapshots. Since starting her business in 2001, Jan has written and spoken on topics related to market research to business groups, in SBIR related presentations and in academic courses. She has also been a frequent mentor and presenter at business incubators in Arizona, and in 2018 served as a mentor for a technology company in the NSF I Corps program.

Jan holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MA in Information Resources & Library Science from the University of Arizona. She is an active member and on the Ambassador Board of the Arizona Technology Council, a statewide trade association for technology companies, and recently served on the Board of her international professional association, Association of Independent Professionals. Jan has been a member of MTI’s SBIR/STTR TAP team since 2014 and her research work has helped to shape dozens of commercialization plans in industry segments ranging from seaweed to insulation to software to medical devices.

Contact Information — telephone: 520-731-9300, email: [email protected]

Kelly Berry | Market Researcher

Kelly is the owner of ResourceAbility, LLC and Learn Start Grow, LLC. She has been working with startups and small business owners since 2005, offering market research, business planning and strategic planning services. She is a certified Market Research Specialist and a Strategic Research Team Leader for the National Center for Economic Gardening and the Wisconsin Center for Business Intelligence.

Kelly holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and a BA from Drew University in Madison, NJ. She taught an MBA level course on market research for seven years and has also taught Market Research and Business Startup classes to undergraduates, and to aspiring business owners through the SBDC and her local Women’s Business Center. Kelly was the Western Wisconsin Businesswoman of the Year in 2018, and the Outstanding MBA Faculty Member in 2014. She recently served as the Director of Professional Development for her international professional association, Association of Independent Information Professionals. Kelly has worked on SBIR/STTR plans with startups in Wisconsin in the past and joined MTI’s SBIR/STTR TAP team in 2022.

Contact Information — telephone: 715-830-8244, email: [email protected]

Biotech Projects

Jo Anne Goodnight | Biotech Consultant

Jo Anne has 25+ years of federal government service, most of which was spent at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) serving as the SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator. She brings extensive experience in virtually all aspects of the NIH SBIR/STTR programs and processes including identifying relevant topics, facilitating agency introductions, developing research plan strategies, massaging proposals and using key grantsmanship tips, understanding policies related to human subjects/vertebrate animal research, and facilitating introductions to potential commercialization partners. Jo Anne has an extensive “rolodex” of contacts within the NIH and other federal agencies (e.g., DoD, NSF, DOE, NASA). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Virginia Tech.

Contact Information — email: [email protected]

Department of Defense Projects

Tobin McGregor | Technology Management Professional

Tobin is a technology management professional with 25 years of experience in the areas of technology development and transition. In 2014, he established a consulting practice providing technology development and transition services primarily to the Department of Defense (DoD). Of particular interest to Tobin is the efficient transition and integration of innovative technologies and products into DoD systems and platforms and the development and sustainment of DoD suppliers and supply chains.

Contact Information — email: [email protected]