WASHINGTON – Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today discussed the Senate’s third jobs bill: reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technical Transfer (STTR) programs.  First passed under President Ronald Reagan in 1983, these initiatives have awarded more than 89,000 research and development grants worth more than $28 billion to help thousands of small businesses across the country expand and hire new workers.

The senators were joined on the call by the Dr. Kenneth Eilertsen, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Louisiana-based NuPotential, and Jim Hodge, Chief Technical Officer of southern Nevada-based K2 Energy Solutions, Inc.  Both companies have taken advantage of the SBIR and STTR programs. 

“Tens of thousands of small businesses like Nevada-based K2 Energy Solutions have taken advantage of these innovation grants to create jobs and discover the exciting new products that will keep America competitive in a 21st century global economy,” Reid said.  “These grants have a highly successful track record.  They have helped launch new ideas – everything from the electric toothbrush to satellite antennae that helped first responders in Haiti to technologies that keep our food safe and our military’s tanks from overheating in the desert.  The only way to turn our economy around is to continue investing in the small businesses in Nevada and across our country that are come up with the next brilliant technological advancement that will put people back to work.”

“We have already created the formula to get the best return on our investment from small, high-technology firms,” said Sen. Landrieu.  “Businesses like Mezzo Technologies in Louisiana which began with only two employees, now has an annual payroll of $1.2 million – that’s putting American back to work with cost effective investments in America’s entrepreneurs through programs like SBIR and STTR.  In addition to the good return on investment from Mezzo, we’ve got the undeniable success of Qualcomm.  With roughly $1.5 billion in SBIR awards, Qualcomm now pays more than $1 billion in annual taxes, essentially paying for half of the SBIR and STTR programs each year. Clearly, there is a plan of action in place, now it’s time for to execute and I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting America’s innovators and job creators.”

Since the SBIR and STTR programs began 28 years ago, Louisiana has received nearly $60 million and 239 grant awards for its small business community.  Louisiana-based NuPotential received more than $550,000 in STTR grants in collaboration with Louisiana State University to improve cattle somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) using NuPotential technology.

Over the last three decades, Nevada has received more than $76 million in grants -- 224 awards with an average of $341,549 per award -- placing Nevada seventh among all states in dollars-per-award average and well above the national average of $316,341 per award per state.  The Henderson, Nevada-based company, K2 Energy Solutions – one of the nation’s leaders of rechargeable battery technology – has received nearly $140,000 in SBIR grants to create an updated BB-2590 battery for the US Army that is three times as powerful, can be used longer, is lighter weight, is capable of a faster recharge, and costs less than the original.  Such improvements will drastically reduce the number of batteries troops must carry in the field, and save weight and logistics needed to transport the battery to the field.

After ten short-term reauthorizations since 2008, the Senate will vote to give stability to the SBIR and STTR programs so they can continue to support America’s small businesses.