U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), and SBC Ranking Member Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today introduced the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2016, which would permanently reauthorize the successful Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and Louisiana Technology Transfer Office, LSU are both endorsing Vitter’s legislation. Today, Vitter and Shaheen also introduced the Rapid Innovation Fund Enhancement Act of 2016, which would provide a dedicated funding mechanism for the testing of innovative small business technologies faster than the traditional procurement process.

“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 they need to innovate, which can oftentimes be a challenge, but that’s where the SBIR and STTR programs are quite helpful. My bill will strengthen and permanently reauthorize these very successful programs so that Louisiana entrepreneurs can more easily grow their businesses, especially in the vital technology industry.”

The SBIR/STTR legislation would permanently reauthorize the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) SBIR and STTR programs. As two of SBA’s most successful and productive programs, SBIR and STTR partner small business and federal agencies to meet research and development (R&D) goals in the technology sector through administering competitive contract awards to small technology firms. Funding for these programs is set to expire on September 30, 2017.

This bill also establishes the Regional SBIR State Collaborative Initiative Pilot Program for a period of four years to help low participation states work together to attract R&D funding. The pilot program provides one-year renewable grants of up to $300,000 to a regional collaborative to address the needs of small businesses in order to: (1) be more competitive in the proposal and selection process for SBIR and STTR Program awards, and (2) increase technology transfer and commercialization. A similar version of this pilot, S. 2136, the Improving Small Business Innovative Research and Technologies Act, unanimously passed the Senate Small Business Committee and is the only SBIR-related bill reported out of any Senate Committee so far this Congress. This pilot program also reauthorizes the FAST Program for a period of 4 years.

In addition to permanently reauthorizing the programs, key provisions of the SBIR/STTR bill would strengthen the programs, including:

  • Expanding opportunities for small businesses to commercialize their technologies;
  • Increasing gradually the allocation of SBIR and STTR awards in order to make more awards and explore more innovations;
  • Clarifying assistance to small businesses to protect their intellectual property;
  • Strengthening state outreach and technical assistance in order to diversify the geographic distribution of awards around the country as well as increasing the participation of women and minorities;
  • Enhancing oversight of the Small Business Administration and the 11 participating SBIR agencies to ensure implementation of outstanding provisions from past SBIR/STTR reauthorization bills; and,
  • Implementing initiatives to reduce duplicative reporting for small businesses, speed up the review of applications, and simplify program implementation for agencies.

Sens. Vitter and Shaheen’s SBIR/STTR legislation has the support from the following organizations:

  • Small Business Technology Council
  • Smaller Business Association on New England
  • Small Business California
  • National Small Business Association (NSBA)
  • Creare of New Hampshire
  • Louisiana Technology Transfer Office, LSU
  • Precision Combustion, Inc. of Connecticut
  • Beacon Interactive Systems of Massachusetts
  • SA Photonics, Inc. of Massachusetts
  • Physical Optics Corp. of California
  • Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) of Massachusetts
  • Louisiana Department of Economic Development
  • Dawnbreaker
  • BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting
  • University of North Dakota Center for Innovation
  • NY Small Business Development Center
  • Utah SBIR-STTR Assistance Program
  • Consultants at Christie Bell™ Incorporated of Montana
  • Ohio Aerospace Institute
  • University of Southern Mississippi
  • Idaho Small Business Development Center
  • Beacon Interactive Systems
  • Women Impacting Public Policy