NSBA Supports SBIR/STTR Bill

April 27, 2016

pic-tech-labOn April 26, NSBA sent a letter to Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship leadership applauding the introduction of the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S. 2812) reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The legislation was introduced by Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and was cosponsored by Chairman David Vitter (R-La.). The House Small Business Committee also recently approved—NSBA supported—reauthorization legislation, the Commercializing on Small Business Innovation Act (H.R. 4783) introduced by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).

The SBIR and STTR programs provide enormously important early-stage research and development (R&D) funding to small businesses working on the cutting edge of technology. Despite a tremendous history of fostering innovation, the programs are set to expire in 2017, and the last reauthorization process for the programs took more than two years and several continuing resolutions. NSBA members who utilize these programs are pleased that both the House and Senate have begun work fairly early in the legislative calendar in the hopes of avoiding a last-minute reauthorization.

While both the House and Senate have introduced legislation, there are significant differences between the two bills. The two primary differences are in the duration of the reauthorization and the levels of funding for each program. S. 2812 will permanently reauthorize the programs, whereas the H.R. 4783 will only reauthorize the programs through 2022. The Senate bill will also raise funding levels higher than the House legislation. SBIR and STTR programs generally require an agency with funding for R&D to funnel a percentage of those funds to small businesses through a transparent and competitive bidding process.

The legislation awaits consideration by the full committee, although there is not a definitive timeline for when that may happen. Please take moment to urge your elected officials to support rapid reauthorization of the SBIR and STTR programs.

NSBA strongly supports the permanent reauthorization of the SBIR/STTR programs. For more than 35 years the programs have provided critical funding to small businesses, and have produced over 70,000 patents. This level of success has been achieved with a fraction of the research and development funding currently going to universities and other institutions around the country. With finding adequate access to capital becoming increasingly difficult in recent years for small businesses, these programs offer funding and opportunities that would otherwise not exist for small businesses looking to bring products from the laboratory to the marketplace.