About the 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.

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. 

Application process when working with TAP

Here is how the process unfolds:


To enroll in TAP, complete an online intake form.


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

Winner of the 2006 SBA Tibbetts Award for exemplifying excellence in the SBIR/STTR program, Karen is an expert in assisting companies in writing competitive SBIR/STTR proposals. With over 23 years’ experience, she provides knowledge of federal regulations, proposal development and contract management expertise to small businesses. Karen leads MTI’s Technical Assistance Program, is an ex-Air Force contracting officer and certified technical training instructor. She has also co-authored two publications. 

Stanton W. Gavitt, Jr. | CPA

Stanton has significant accounting experience as a government contractor, working with government systems and supporting Maine companies with federal contracts. He was intimately involved with audits conducted by the EPA and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). Under the MTI Technical Assistance Program, Stanton guides companies in preparing an indirect cost rate, as well as providing budget and justification support.

Suzanne Hamlin | Business Strategist

With a skill set that spans customer discovery, marketing and operations, Suzanne helps companies with product commercialization and applying emerging technologies. She served as an SBIR grant application reviewer for both the NSF and USDA, and has extensive experience leading teams and companies through organizational change. Suzanne has been a member of MTI’s Technical Assistance Program since 2004.

Jo Anne Goodnight | Biotech Consultant

Having spent decades as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator, Jo Anne brings valuable insights, knowledge and contacts to biotech proposals. She has extensive experience in identifying relevant topics, facilitating agency introductions, developing research plan strategies, as well as massaging proposals and using key grantsmanship tips. In addition, Jo Anne provides a great deal of depth in understanding policies related to human subjects/vertebrate animal research.

Jan Knight | Market Researcher

Jan has worked in nearly every industry segment — from seaweed to insulation to software to medical devices — and specializes in research-driven writing projects. She provides “insight to entrepreneurs from start-ups to grown-ups”. Jan has written and spoken on topics related to market research to business groups, in SBIR related presentations and in academic courses. As a member of MTI’s Technical Assistance Program since 2014, her research work has helped shaped dozens of commercialization plans.