Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Kerry, Levin Extend Small Business Innovation Program

Late yesterday, the Senate passed the Department of Defense authorization bill, with provisions secured by Sens. John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Carl Levin [D-Mich., pictured] to extend the Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] program through 2010, and to increase the transition and commercialization of products developed by small firms that participate in the program.

Kerry is the chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Levin chairs the Committee on Armed Services. The SBIR program is set to expire on September 30, 2008.

“The SBIR program is critical to our national security and our country’s competitiveness in a global economy,” said Kerry. “Technologies developed through the program are helping to keep our troops safe on the battleground, improving our health care, and expanding our ability to combat global warming.

“We need to keep this program strong, avoid any contracting delays or shut-downs, and provide more resources to rapidly transition the most promising technologies into weapons systems or on the market quickly. I thank Sen. Levin and all the members of the Armed Services Committee for their leadership on these amendments and their support of this program.”

“The SBIR program creates jobs, increases our capacity for technological innovation and boosts our international competitiveness,” explained Levin, who also serves on Kerry's committee. “The program has demonstrated that federal agencies can work with small businesses to develop and commercialize technologies in a cost-effective way.”

The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will be working on legislation to reauthorize the SBIR program next year. Kerry and Levin worked to include this extension as part of the defense bill to prevent a shut-down or delay of this important research and development program when it expires next year. Eight years ago, the program shut down because the program was not renewed in a timely way. This temporary extension will provide time that lawmakers need to develop bipartisan legislation that will be signed into law.

The Senate also passed an amendment to build upon a pilot program that Sens. Kerry and Olympia Snowe [R-Maine] created in 2005 to help firms transition their projects into commercialized products. The amendment, sponsored by Kerry and Snowe, and supported by Levin, extends the pilot program through 2012 to help small firms bring their products and innovations into the marketplace.

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

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