Washington - Today the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce held a joint hearing with the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology to collaborate on legislation to improve the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Last year, Chairman Chabot and the Small Business Committee successfully fought to include a five year reauthorization of SBIR and STTR in the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“Innovation is the engine that drives our economy. Technological breakthroughs and the entrepreneurship it spurs build our economy by finding state-of-the-art solutions to difficult problems and capitalizing on those new products,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight.
“In this era of globalization, making it easier for small businesses to develop and commercialize new, innovative products is essential not only for America’s competitiveness, but for its national security as well. This is why programs like SBIR and STTR are so important,” added Knight.
“The SBIR and STTR programs bridge the gap between the fantastical and the practical; building our economy and improving the function of the federal government in the process,” noted Knight.
Improving the SBIR and STTR Programs
“SBIR is a President Reagan-era program introduced to ensure that our nation’s high-tech small businesses receive a portion of the federal R&D allocation. As far back as 1982, Congress understood the importance of providing early stage development funding to the entrepreneur,” said Joe Shephard, Associate Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation at the Small Business Administration.
“We have all seen the great success of whole new industries being formed by individuals with an idea and a passion. Examples include the cell phone technology of Qualcomm to the advances in robotics and automation of iRobot to lifesaving medicines from Biogen/IDEC and MedImmune, and there are thousands of other successful firms across the country because of this catalytic program,” added Shephard.
“For about 35 years, federal agencies have made awards to small businesses for technology research or research and development (R&D) through the SBIR program and, for the last 25 years, through the STTR program. Federal agencies have awarded an average of about $2 billion a year through these programs and a total of more than $40 billion for 150,000 contracts and grants since their inception in 1982 and 1992, respectively,” said John Neumann, Director of Natural Resources and Environment at the United States Government Accountability Office.
“I believe it is critical to appreciate how incredibly important it is for our country to be world leaders in a strong R&D culture and how much the SBIR and STTR Programs have been such an important piece of that culture,” said Ron Shroder, CEO/President of Frontier Technologies.
“In addition, I believe Congress has been equally important to the program’s success. Over the years, you and your predecessors have reauthorized the law and made changes to the program that have had a very substantial impact,” added Shroder.
You can view full video of today’s hearing HERE and read full witness testimony HERE.