WASHINGTON – The United States Senate today approved an extension of several of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) programs through April 30, 2010. This includes the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which without the extension would expire. Upon passage of the extension, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., issued the following statement:
“A three-month extension of the SBA and its programs, including important programs to spur innovation and research, ensures that these programs will persist while we continue negotiations with the House to reach a strong compromise on the future of the SBIR and STTR programs. These research initiatives are vital to our country’s competitiveness and to job creation, as about 20 percent of SBIR participants say they started their company in part because of a prospective SBIR award. As we seek to improve the economy and create jobs, now is not the time to let these job-creating programs slip by the wayside.
“This is a good opportunity for the agencies and the states to work together to promote the programs and encourage entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists looking for jobs to apply for these research and development projects – putting them back to work and helping our country tap new talent to create cutting-edge innovations for our military and new advances in health care and alternative energy.”
Small firms employ 41 percent of the nation’s high-tech workers and generate 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large firms. The SBIR program alone has generated more than 84,000 patents and millions of jobs. Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR program – including the Department of Defense and National Science Foundation – allocating 2.5 percent of their extramural research and development dollars for the program.