**SBIR, STTR have proven track record of helping small businesses succeed and grow**
** Without Congressional action, programs will expire in 2017**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC) and U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA), SBC Chairman, today introduced legislation to make permanent and strengthen the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These programs, which help small businesses develop innovative technologies that keep the U.S. economy competitive and address national security needs, are currently set to expire on September 30, 2017.
“The SBIR and STTR programs have a proven track record of success and have enabled entrepreneurs across the country to engage in the research and development that keeps America at the forefront of innovation,” said Shaheen, who has long advocatedmaking the programs permanent. “These programs have bipartisan support because they unleash the innovative potential of America’s high-tech businesses to drive our country’s growth, contribute to our national defense and meet urgent public needs. To keep America on the cutting edge of innovation, we should act now to ensure that the SBIR and STTR programs are here to stay.”
“Small businesses are largely responsible for making the United States competitive at the forefront of technology research and development,” said Vitter. “Louisiana is becoming a real hub for technology companies, and we need to make sure they have the resources to innovate, which is oftentimes a challenge, but that’s where the SBIR and STTR programs are quite helpful. Senator Shaheen’s and my bill will strengthen and permanently reauthorize these very successful programs so that entrepreneurs can more easily grow their businesses, especially in the vital technology industry.”
The SBIR and STTR programs support the growth of small, high-tech companies that create good jobs in local communities across the country by leveraging a small percentage of federal research and development funding. The programs allow small businesses to support federal agencies in areas such as public health and national security. In addition to the technologies developed by participating companies, the SBIR and STTR programs have resulted in a good return on investment for taxpayers: A recent study found that for every federal dollar awarded to SBIR firms, $12 was generated for the economy.
The SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2016 follows a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship on the programs. At that hearing, witnesses testified to the importance of acting now to ensure that the programs do not face short-term extensions that hurt the ability of small businesses and federal agencies to plan effectively. Before the programs were last reauthorized for six years, the programs endured 14 stop-gap extensions, which created unnecessary uncertainty.
The Shaheen-Vitter SBIR/STTR reauthorization bill, which also makes several improvements to streamline and enhance the programs, is supported by a diverse group of small business advocates and innovators, including the Smaller Business Technology Council, the National Small Business Association, the Small Business Association of New England, and the Louisiana Technology Transfer Office at Louisiana State University.
Shaheen and Vitter also introduced the Rapid Innovation Fund Enhancement Act of 2016, which encourages the commercialization of small business technologies developed by SBIR and STTR.