The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program – A Victim of Politics and Influence Money06 Jun
There is before the Congress a continuing resolution related to a program that should have been reauthorized more than two years ago. That program is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program that was founded in 1982. Since then it has enabled nearly 18,000 small businesses to develop state-of-the art products and compete for Government research and development funds.
The SBIR program helps to sustain job creation with SBIR companies employing approximately 1.5 million employees with nearly a quarter holding advanced degrees in engineering and science. These companies have contributed greatly to the U.S. defense, transportation, environment, energy, information technology, healthcare, robotics, materials and electromagnetic systems. A total of $2 billion is awarded each year by eleven Government agencies participating in the SBIR program.
The SBIR program was intended to benefit small business where the term “small” (i.e., less than 500 employees) did not imply companies owned by venture capitalists (VC). During the past two years, the VC industry has been lobbying Congress to redefine the “small” to the point where their political influence has stalled the SBIR reauthorization process. Unless Congress acts by September 30, 2011 the SBIR program will expire or be held on “life support” by yet another continuing resolution (i.e., that would be the twelfth one, a record setting number since 1982).Tags: Continuing Resolution, Job Creation, Reauthorization, SBIR, Small Business Innovation Research, Venture Capital