Last week, President Obama signed a bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research  (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer  (STTR) programs for another six years. This long-term reauthorization is good news for the innovative small businesses that these programs support. SBIR and STTR invest about $2.5 billion a year in America’s most promising small research and development companies. Through SBIR and STTR, federal agencies with large R&D budgets provide competitive awards to help small businesses bring their best innovations from the drawing board to the marketplace. SBIR and STTR operate in three phases, providing support for research, development, and commercialization.
Over the years, SBIR and STTR have played a role in the growth of firms like Qualcomm, Symantec, and others. From 2002 to 2006, about 25% of R&D Magazine’s top 100 annual innovations came from companies that had received an SBIR grant at some point in their history.
Despite this track record, the future of SBIR and STTR had been subject to repeated short-term funding from Congress over the past ten years. This new, long-term reauthorization provides certainty and stability for the small businesses that leverage these programs to create jobs. In fact, it strengthens SBIR and STTR, proving more funding for small businesses to drive innovation, create jobs, and grow our economy. It increases the amount these programs can award to small businesses, shortens the timeline for award decisions, and improves the focus on commercializing the innovative products that will change the world.
SBIR and STTR are a win-win. Federal agencies are able to meet their R&D needs, while small businesses get the chance to bring their innovations into the marketplace. The reauthorization ensures that small businesses will have access to much needed investments. Money from these programs will go directly to small businesses to help them drive innovation, strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and create good jobs.