The Small Business Technology Council hosted its annual membership Washington meeting on June 11, 2019. Once again, the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee was gracious enough to let us borrow their Hearing room for the event. SBTC members heard from select panels of Congressional staffers and agency PMs on issues, programs, and initiatives relevant to high-tech small businesses. We appreciate and are grateful for all our speakers for taking the time to meet with and answer questions from our members.
Renee Bender, Kevin Wheeler, Jere Glover
Our first panel was Kevin Wheeler and Renee Bender from the Senate Small Business Committee, with SBTC Executive Direcotr Jere Glover moderating. Kevin and Renee discussed the upcoming effort in the Senate to reauthorize the Small Business Act, and possible language in that bill that would update SBIR. One of the more contentious discussions surrounded a suggestion to set aside a certain percentage of the 3% admin funding specifically for training contracting officers. A common complaint from SBTC members is contracting officials often don’t understand the SBIR/STTR programs, and it therefore falls on the small business to educate the contracting official on what the law says and what responsibilities and preferences the government has to abide by when contracting with SBIRs. There was some disagreement, however, that if specific training is necessary, the money should come from a different source, since taking money out of the 3% admin funds would reduce outreach and increase the administrative burden on the program.
Molly Walsh, Jennifer Shieh, Susan Celis, LeeAnn Boyer, Matthew Portnoy
The second panel was made up with SBIR/STTR program managers from the agencies and other Administration officials. The speakers were Matthew Portnoy from NIH, Susan Celis from DARPA, LeeAnn Boyer from Navy, Molly Walsh from DOD, and Jennifer Shieh from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Ms. Shieh gave an overview of the President’s management agenda, and how the lab-to-market initiatives fit in with the SBIR/STTR programs, and how reducing administrative burden is a priority for the administration. Ms. Walsh talked about the transition of SBIR/STTR in the DOD hierarchy from RD&T to R&E, and how the secretary level of DOD will perform more oversight than management of the programs, allowing the services more leeway to manage their own programs. Mr. Portnoy discussed the NIH’s new Office of Biomendical Entrepreneurship & Innovation (OBEI), which will focus on enhancing and accelerating technology transition and return on investment from SBIR/STTR projects.
In between the two panels, we presented SBTC’s 5th annual “Champion of Small Business Technology Commercialization Awards”. These awards go to the best PEOs, COs, PMs, and other government officials who have helped high-tech small businesses develop, transition, and commercialize their technology. This year we awarded 9 individual winners, as well as the teams behind NCI’s groundbreaking SBIR/STTR Economic Impact Study, and the Air Force Pitch Day.
Dr. Erik Blasch
Dr. Kory Hallett, Michael Weingarten
AF Pitch Day Team (L-R): Ryan Helbach, Natasha Marstiller, Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, Major Sarah Lark, David Shahady
We would like to thank all our members, speakers, and award winners for making this year’s membership meeting successful again. Click on the link below to see the agenda from the meeting and a list of award winners: