Senate Saves a Small Business Innovation Program

By Kiyon Brandford

In September 2022, the Senate passed the SBIR & STTR Reauthorization Act of 2022 to renew the sunsetting program for an additional three years. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer programs are designed to encourage small businesses to engage in federal research and development that may eventually result in commercialization.

SBIR Program Development

The SBIR program requires federal agencies with Research and Development budgets of $100 million or more ($1 billion or more for the STTR Program) must set aside a percentage of these funds for small business innovation, research and development. According to the Congressional Research Service, the SBIR/STTR programs have made 170,680 awards totaling $51.0 billion. More than three-fourths of those dollars were awarded or granted by the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services for research an innovation intended to become commercially available.

Program Creation

The program was created in 1982 when Congress realized that technological innovation is an economic driver and contributes substantially to the United States’ global competitiveness. The four objectives for the program are as follows:

  • To stimulate innovation
  • To use small businesses to meet federal R&D needs
  • To foster and encourage the participation of minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation
  • To increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federally funded R&D
Program Funding

The SBIR/STTR program provide important funding for small businesses looking to develop new and innovative technologies that help make the country safer and more competitive around the world. Small businesses are the home of new and innovative solutions, so the renewal of this important program is a positive development in small business procurement and acquisitions.

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