NASE Blogs

Congress Moves to Reauthorize Small Biz Innovation Programs

Jul 21, 2009

Posted by Molly Nelson - Both the House and the Senate recently voted to pass legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Administration's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  The programs were set to expire at the end of this month, and the legislation is now headed to conference committee so differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation can be worked out.  Congress has until July 31st to conference the bill.

If passed, the legislation would reauthorize SBIR and STTR for eight years and add some improvements to the current state of the programs, such as allowing participation by small businesses backed by venture capitalists.

The SBIR program, established in 1982, provides funding to increase the participation of small firms in federally-funded research and development. Similarly, the STTR program, founded in 1992, provides federal funding to allow small firms to work jointly with non-profit research institutions, such as federally-funded research and development centers, universities, university-affiliated hospitals, and other non-profits.

With 11 different agencies allocating a percentage of their budgets to these programs (2.5% for agencies with budgets of $100 million or more, and an additional 0.3% for agencies with budgets of $1 billion or more), the SBA receives on average $2 billion annually for SBIR and $200 million for STTR respectively.  According to the SBA, SBIR awards have produced more than 85,000 patents and created millions of jobs.

 

[Hat tip: Inc., Senator Kay Hagan]