The House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development held a hearing on Thursday, September 19 titled “SBA Programs Spurring Innovation” The subcommittee, chaired by Rep Jason Crow (D-CO) heard from small business owners about the benefits of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition programs. Two of the witnesses were SBTC members.
Alison Brown, President and CEO of NAVSYS Corporation, talked about the need to improve the speed with which SBIR developed technology should be transitioned and developed. She used the Air Force Pitch day as an example of an initiative that has worked in rapidly providing SBIR firms with contracts and funding. Alison also touched on the importance of strengthening data rights protections, particularly with Phase III. During the question period, she also discussed the difficulties and discrimination faced by women small business owners, and encouraged Congress to do more, including making it easier for women business owners to participate in the SBA’s 8(a) disadvantaged business development program.
Ron Shroder, President and CEO of Frontier Technologies, Inc., testified about the enormous economic benefit that SBIR and STTR have had on the American economy, referencing the DOD and NCI economic impact studies. His recommendation for improving the SBIR program was to make it permanant, citing its record of success for the past 37 years, and arguing that small businesses need the certainty that permanancy would bring. During the question period, he talked about how the SBIR/STTR programs allow companies like his to take risks with science and technology that they would otherwise be unable to, which allows high-tech small businesses to develop next generation technologies.
To see more information about the hearing, read other witnesses’ testimony, and watch a replay of the hearing, follow the links below: