WASHINGTON – The United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today unanimously passed two bills to reauthorize and improve critical Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. S. 1233, the “SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2009,” and S. 1229, the “Entrepreneurial Development Act of 2009,” include key provisions to increase technology opportunities and strengthen entrepreneurial development programs for America’s 27 million small businesses.

S. 1233 would reauthorize the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which fund more than $2 billion annually in early-stage research and development projects at small technology companies. SBIR and STTR play an unprecedented role in stimulating technological innovation and allowing small businesses to meet federal research and development needs.

S. 1229 would boost Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE and other existing entrepreneurial development programs while creating new programs in support of veterans’ and Native American entrepreneurship. The SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs provide counseling and assistance services – ranging from helping to develop business plans to planning budgets – for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“These two important pieces of legislation will go a long way toward harvesting new opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses all over America,” said Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La. “Through the SBIR and STTR programs, small high-technology firms save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by developing cutting-edge technologies and creating high-paying jobs. Our current entrepreneurial development programs and the new programs that S. 1229 authorizes will also go a long way toward encouraging and fostering small business growth. By investing federal resources into developing small businesses, these programs will help strengthen our nation’s job creators while saving taxpayer money.”

“The SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs are vital initiatives that assist entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses. This legislation takes significant steps toward ensuring American small businesses have access to the tools they need to continue to revitalize our economy,” said Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine. “By reauthorizing the SBIR and STTR programs, we can unleash the potential of entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and creativity have long served as the engines of our economy.”