A New Extension for SBA Programs
On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation (S.1929) to temporarily extend all the Small Business Administration (SBA) programs, which include the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The legislation will extend these programs through April 30, 2010.
On her statement on the six-month extension, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and sponsor of the bill, said: “While we continue to make progress on all of our reauthorization measures - SBIR/STTR, SBA's loans and venture capital programs, contracting assistance, and management counseling - this temporary reauthorization will help keep America's 29 million small businesses running through the holiday season.” The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship press release highlights that small firms employ 41 percent of the nation's high-tech workers and generate 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large firms.
The SBIR program alone has generated more than 84,000 patents and millions of jobs. The eleven federal agencies participating in the SBIR program allocate 2.5 percent of their extramural research and development dollars for the program. The SBIR and STTR programs have been operating under a series of short-term extensions. On September 25th, Congress passed H.R. 3614, a measure that authorized the SBA programs through October 31, 2009. Although the House and Senate small business committees have been trying to negotiate an SBIR/STTR reauthorization, they have been unable to agree on specific provisions, such as eligibility criteria.