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SBIR Lives to Fight Another Day

Mark Marich

Well, it wasn't a long-term reauthorization that many wanted, but the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was extended recently through July 31, 2009. The Continuing Resolution keeping SBIR afloat expired on March 20 and while the House and Senate differed over the length of the extension, they were able to come to an agreement. Let the VC vs. small business debates continue...

::pulled from PR Newswire::

Landrieu-Snowe bill temporarily extends Small Business Innovation Research and other programs

WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United States Senate passed a bill last night sponsored by Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, to temporarily extend the Small Business Administration's (SBA) programs through July 31, 2009.The bill was passed by the House of Representatives earlier yesterday.Specifically, the bill extends the Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR) program, which would have expired on Friday, giving Congressmore time to pass a comprehensive bipartisan bill that will strengthenand improve the SBIR program and provide long-term stability for theprogram. SBIR is necessary for the planning purposes of agencies andthe business models of our small, high-technology firms.

"Extending the SBA's programs is yet another sign that the Senate iscommitted to giving entrepreneurs the resources they need to help boostour economy," said Chair Landrieu. "The SBIR program is especiallyimportant as innovation spurs growth and job creation and leads toadvanced technology, like clean energy and life-saving therapies anddevices. This extension will allow the agencies to disburse the awardsfirms have been waiting for to start and continue important research. Ilook forward to working with Ranking Member Snowe to pass a bipartisanSBA reauthorization and allow the new Administration to help smallbusinesses through the financial crisis."

"It is disappointing that last Congress we were unable to pass along-term reauthorization bill for vital SBA programs," said RankingMember Snowe. "Small businesses must be able to rely on the SBA'slending, entrepreneurial development, contracting and innovationprograms to help ensure their stability and future growth. I lookforward to working with Chair Landrieu to fashion bipartisanlegislation to make this goal a reality this Congress."

Small firms employ 41 percent of the nation's high-tech workers andgenerate 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large firms. TheSBIR program alone has generated more than 84,000 patents and millionsof jobs. Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR program --including the Department of Defense and National Science Foundation --allocating 2.5 percent of their extramural research and developmentdollars for the program.

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