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Beating the Clock: Senate Passes Extension of Small-Business Innovation Plan
Two plans aimed at rewarding and encouraging small business innovation and research have been extended by the U.S.Senate past their 2009 deadlines. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) plan which was scheduled to expire on July 31st 2009 was extended, as was the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which was scheduled to sunset on September 30, 2009. The programs, created under the umbrella of the Small Business Administration, were unanimously approved by the Senate today for an eight-year extension.
The passage of the legislation also included an increase in funds related to the SBIR award for innovation in different phases of production. Phase I awards have been increased from $100,000 to $150,000 while Phase II awards have been upped from $750,000 to $1 million.
Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs were created in by acts of Congress in 1982 and 1992 respectively. They were created to support and encourage breakthroughs in technological innovation and have been attributed with creating jobs among the nation's 25 million small businesses and producing over 85,000 new patents. The bill increased SBIR allocation to 3.5 percent over the course of eleven years.
The House Committee on Small Business unanimously passed its version of the small business innovation program extension in the last week of June 2009. That vote was highly anticipated especially by the Venture Capitalist community (as previously covered) which were vying for access to the the SBIR program by VC-backed companies.
The approved bills now head to a conference committee in search of common ground.