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NEWS | SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Crucial to Small Business

Passage this afternoon is a win for NSBA, our 65,000+ members, and small business owners nationwide.

This evening, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Senate-passed legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for three years. Following a highly contentious process in the Senate, lawmakers’ last-minute efforts to extend the program finally came to fruition just days prior to the September 30 deadline.

“The House and Senate did right by small business in passing this important legislation and avoiding a catastrophic program shut-down for SBIR and STTR,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “Despite some differences in what NSBA sought and this final package, small-business innovators can get on about their business creating and innovating to best serve the federal government.”

NSBA and the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) have been instrumental in helping to negotiate and move forward reauthorizing language to prevent a program shutdown. Despite fully supporting passage of the final compromise bill, NSBA and SBTC were pushing for a permanent reauthorization and worked tirelessly to remove language requiring new reporting that large companies and universities are free of when it comes to federal innovation programs.

Last week, the Senate passed the bill, clearing the biggest hurdle for reauthorization. Introduced by Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.), S. 4900 will extend the programs for three years, moving the expiration date to Sept. 30, 2025. It also makes changes to the program that focus on research security, protecting SBIR technology from theft by China and other adversarial governments, and increased standards for Phase 1 to 2 transition and Commercialization for multiple award winners.

Specifically, there will be an increase in reporting requirements and paperwork burden imposed by the research security provisions that firms will need to be aware of. In addition, firms with over 50 Phase 1 awards over the past five years will need to show a 50 percent transition rate to Phase 2. Firms with 50 Phase 2 awards over the past 10 years will need to show $250,000 in sales or investment for every Phase 2, and Firms with over 100 Phase 2 awards over the past 10 years will need to show $450,000 in sales or investment for every Phase 2. The consequence for missing these benchmarks will be a limit of 20 Phase 1 awards and Direct to Phase 2 awards per year.

“We have worked closely with lawmakers on this bill for months, and in the decades I’ve been working with the SBIR/STTR programs, never have we experienced a more difficult reauthorization process,” stated Jere Glover, Executive Director of SBTC. “There were many members of Congress who deserve thanks and appreciation for their efforts, but I want to particularly applaud Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-Mo.) for their leadership and willingness to compromise to ensure the stability and long-term success of this program.”

NSBA and SBTC will continue to work with federal agencies as the new reporting requirements are put into effect, and plan to provide training and resources to members on how to best comply with the new rules under the program. Stay tuned for details.

Read the full text and summary here:

If you’re new to the SBIR/STTR discussion, check out the video below from Charles Wessner, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a trusted resource. Wessner recently explained the benefits of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the risks of ending it and China’s involvement:


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