SBIR Compromise a Positive Step Forward

December 13, 2011


Molly Brogan



Washington, D.C. – Last night, a broad, bipartisan leadership group from both the House and Senate agreed to compromise language that will reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) programs for six years. Ending a years-long stalemate over the program, the compromise, although not perfect, makes important progress and infuses a level of stability not seen in years for these two highly successful small-business programs.

“For nearly a decade, the SBIR program has been the victim of political gridlock, causing instability in the program,” stated NSBA President Todd McCracken. “I am pleased that today we are one step closer to addressing one of NSBA’s top priorities: SBIR Reauthorization.”

NSBA applauds the tireless leadership of Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Ranking Member Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and their staff, along with Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Carl Levin (D- Mich.) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.). On the House side, NSBA thanks Reps. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Ralph Hall (R-Texas), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) and Peter Welch (D-Conn.) for their efforts.

The House-Senate compromise will reauthorize the programs for six years, increase award sizes for SBIR and increase the total percentage of federal research and development (R&D) dollars allocated to the SBIR program from 2.5 percent to 3.2 percent and the STTR program from .3 percent to .45 percent.

One of the biggest hurdles in the past several years, the compromise addresses participation in the program by venture capital (VC) owned small firms by allowing these firms to compete for up to 25 percent of R&D dollars under the SBIR program at the National Institute of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, and 15 percent for the other participating federal agencies.

“The SBIR and STTR programs have been spurring growth and innovation for small businesses and the federal government for years,” Jere Glover, Executive Director of the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC), a council of NSBA. “The long-term viability and success of SBIR and STTR have been a top priority for NSBA and SBTC and we hope this hard-fought compromise will come to fruition.”

Please click here for background on the fight to reauthorize SBIR.

Since 1937, NSBA has advocated on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. A staunchly nonpartisan organization, NSBA reaches more than 150,000 small businesses nationwide and is proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. For more information, please visit .