DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Niki Tsongas

Sent By: kate.lynch@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/30/2009

Dear Colleague:

For over a quarter-century, the Small Business Innovative Research program at the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been highly successful, resulting in more than 55,000 patents and hundreds of valuable innovations in agriculture, defense, energy, health sciences, homeland security, space, transportation, and other fields.

As work continues on reauthorization of the SBA’s activities, including the SBIR program, we are sending the attached letter to Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez to seek support for the preservation of the SBIR eligibility requirements in current law, which are focused on genuinely small businesses.

Since its inception, the SBIR program has increased federal agency access to innovative ideas, technologies and capabilities that exist in the small business community. The SBIR program is a unique collaboration, allowing government agencies to fund projects to meet specific agency needs while expanding opportunities for small businesses, including women and minority-owned businesses. SBIR has

enhanced the role of innovative small businesses and higher education research institutions in federally-funded research and development, while fostering competition, productivity and economic growth.

The SBIR’s historic focus on small businesses with cutting-edge projects has provided much-needed funding to applicants that otherwise may not have access to the capital markets to develop their projects. SBIR has filled this void, encouraging the development of advanced technologies that have had a significant positive impact on the economy. The SBIR program’s current ownership rule, which does not permit companies that are majority backed by venture capital (VC) firms to receive SBIR funding, is intended to keep the focus on such companies, who have meritorious plans but limited or no access to private capital to implement them. While we support VC participation in the program, permitting majority-owned VC firms that exceed established small b! usiness size standards to qualify for SBIR funding calls into question whether this program, intended for genuinely small businesses, is, in fact, still focused on these firms.

Our letter seeks the continuation of the SBIR program and its current eligibility requirements so that the next generation of innovative technologies can be funded and this vital program can continue to support innovation by small businesses to benefit our economy.

If you would like to co-sign the letter to Chairwoman Velázquez or have questions, please have a member of your staff contact Mitchell Robinson with Rep. Ed Markey’s office at 5-2836,

Mitchell.Robinson@mail.house.gov <mailto:Mitchell.Robinson@mail.house.gov> or Kate Lynch with Rep. Tsongas at 5-3411 or Kate.Lynch@mail.house.gov <mailto:Kate.Lynch@mail.house.gov> . Sincerely,

/s/ /s/

Edward J. Markey

Niki Tsongas

Member of Congress Member of Congress

/s/ /s/

Peter Welch

Paul W. Hodes

Member of Congress Member of Congress

 

March XX, 2009

The Honorable Nydia Velázquez

Chairwoman

Committee on Small Business

U.S House of Representatives, 2361 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairwoman Velázquez:

As you continue your work on the reauthorization of the Small Business Act, we are writing to seek your support for the preservation of the eligibility requirements in the current statute for the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. These requirements are focused on funding meritorious projects submitted by genuinely small companies, and we believe that they have proven effective in accomplishing the goals of the SBIR program, namely to ensure that our nation’s small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts.

As you know, following the four-month extension recently passed by the House and awaiting final passage in the Senate, the SBIR program is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2009. Since its establishment, the SBIR program has encouraged an entrepreneurial environment in which small, creative businesses can compete for federal funding for their cutting-edge projects, strengthening America’s high-tech economy in the process. These small companies historically have been unable to access funds through the capital markets because the products or services they are developing though promising may be too novel or untested to attract private investors.

The SBIR program has helped to produce more than 55,000 patents and hundreds of valuable innovations in agriculture, defense, energy, health sciences, homeland security, space, transportation, and other fields. It has been widely recognized as a successful program. For example, in its 2008 Assessment of the Small Business Research Program, the National Academies of Science’s National Research Council stated that & the SBIR program is sound in concept and effective in practice .

The SBIR program is unique, enabling federal government agencies to fund projects to meet specific agency needs while expanding opportunities for small businesses, including woman and minority-owned firms.

We respectfully request that you support preservation of the SBIR eligibility requirements in the current statute, which are intended for small, innovative firms.

Sincerely,