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SBIR at Risk?

Mark Marich

While many Federal technology and innovation-related programs will be seeing an infusion of new economic stimulus funds, one of Washington’s more effective technology support tools--the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program--may be at risk in the coming months.

The SBIR program, which helps steer Federal research dollars to small firms, has long served as an important capital source for new technology companies. Unfortunately, the program’s authorizing language is set to expire on March 20, 2009. SBIR remains popular in Congress, but disputes over the issue of whether venture capital backed-firms can be eligible for SBIR funding have blocked efforts to pass a new SBIR reauthorization. Congress is unlikely to pass a full reauthorization by the March 20 deadline, so it is essential that some kind of continuing resolution be passed to ensure that SBIR funds are available this year.

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