WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., today opened a roundtable to discuss improvements to the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) programs, which need to be reauthorized this year. SBIR is scheduled to sunset on July 31st, 2009, and STTR is scheduled to sunset on September 30th, 2009.

“The SBIR and STTR programs have been enormously successful since their inception,” Chair Landrieu said at today’s roundtable. “Both programs have played an unprecedented role in stimulating technological innovation, in allowing small business to meet federal research and development needs and in providing seed capital for small business to develop ideas until they are able to attract outside investment. Reauthorizing both programs is critically important as we look for ways to strengthen America’s small businesses.”

“Given that the SBIR and STTR programs direct more than $2 billion in Federal research and development funding annually to small-tech firms across the nation, it is critical that we reauthorize these vital initiatives,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “As our nation emerges from this devastating recession, we must ensure that our country once again brings to bear the kind of ingenuity, creativity, and innovation that made America and our free-market economy the greatest and most powerful on earth. By reauthorizing these programs, we will bolster our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit and ensure that some of our most promising firms have the resources necessary to bring their groundbreaking products to the marketplace.”

The SBIR program has awarded more than $24 billion to more than 100,000 projects since it started. Recipients of SBIR and STTR awards have produced more than 85,000 patents and have generated millions of well-paying jobs across all 50 states. Both programs have garnered high praise from well-respected sources, and governments around the world are increasingly adopting SBIR-type programs to encourage innovation in their countries.