To encourage Taiwan's SMEs to step up their development of innovative new technologies and new products, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of the SME sector, the MOEA formulated the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in accordance with the provisions of the MOEA Incentive Scheme for Enterprises to Develop Industrial Technologies. Taking into consideration the fact that SMEs constitute the backbone of Taiwanese industry, it was anticipated that the SBIR program would help to reduce the cost and risk of innovation and R&D for SMEs, thereby helping to stimulate these activities in the SME sector. Under Taiwan's SBIR plan, SMEs can apply for subsidies covering up to 50% of the total cost of R&D. This government funding support helps to reduce the costs and the level of risk that SMEs must bear when engaging in innovation or R&D. By encouraging SMEs to undertake the development of new industrial technologies and products, the SBIR plan aims to boost overall private-sector R&D spending, speed up industrial upgrading and strengthen Taiwan's international competitiveness.
To apply for funding support under the SBIR plan, an enterprise must conform to the following criteria:
•It must be an SME, as defined in the Standard Definition of SMEs.
•It must owe no back taxes to the government, and must have no record of contract cancellation when participating in government-related technology development plans over the past five years.
•A foreign company may submit an application for funding support, as long as the company in question conforms to the above two requirements by the time its application is approved.
•"Innovative service" project applicants may be business offices or medical juridical persons that are engaged in R&D activity and registered for tax purposes.
•In the case of R&D alliance applications, the applicant must be an SME; however, the application may be submitted jointly with a university or college, foundation, or other domestic or foreign organization. At least half of the members of the alliance must be SMEs; in principle, each SME must participate in at least one of the project sub-items.
Types of Research encouraged by the program include:
•Developing a brand new idea, concept or new technology.
•Applying an existing technology to a new application.
•Applying a new technology or business model to an existing application.
•Improving an existing technology or product upon various aspects.
The applications are categorized to three phases:
•SBIR Phase I: NT$1,000,000 total governmental subsidy for 6 months. A small-scale experiment or statistical analysis of the creative concept that can potentially benefit industries so as to validate that concept as being viable. Applicants must describe the key problems addressed, the creative concept they intend to use, anticipated benefits to industries, as well as relative R&D track records and implementation plans.
•SBIR Phase II: NT$10,000,000 total governmental subsidy for 2 years. R&D of a product, production method or service mechanism based on a tangible and feasible creative concept expected to benefit industries. The R&D of a production method can extend to the trial production or ramp-up stage. Applicants must describe the key problems addressed, the creative concept they intend to use, anticipated benefits to industries, as well as relative R&D track records and implementation plans.
•SBIR Phase II+: NT$5,000,000 total governmental subsidy for 1 year. This involves the implementaion and wide application of R&D results in Phase 2 so as to meet market and customer demand. The focus of R&D extends from the emphasis on the design of technical innovations to the production of the technical application. They may include engineering techniques, moulding development techniques, product design, trial production and ramp-up techniques, or primary market surveys. Applicants must describe the application of the developed technique, feasible implementation, commercialization target and expected benefits.