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Congress has ended its three-year disagreement and reauthorized two small business programs designed to boost research and development. The Small Business Innovation Research program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program gave a combined $2.2 billion to small companies in 2011.
That number will continue to climb, as the reauthorization includes changes to the amount of grant monies set aside for companies with fewer than 500 employees. Congress also increased the size of the grants themselves.
The Small Business Innovation Research program directs 11 federal departments to distribute 2.5% of their research and development funds to small businesses. They include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy.
Companies seeking to bring technology, products or services to market are encouraged to apply. All research must be done in-house.
The Small Business Technology Transfer program instead focuses on partnerships between nonprofit research centers and small businesses. The program aims to help businesses move technology and products from the laboratory to the market.
Five federal departments distribute about $300 million to small firms.
Under the reauthorization, companies backed by venture capitalists will now be allowed to compete for funds. The percentage of funds distributed to small businesses will also increase over the next six years.
Moreover, Congress has increased Phase I grants to $150,000, and Phase II grants to $1 million. These grants cover the start-up and research and development phases.
If you'd like to know more about the Small Business Innovation Research program or the Small Business Technology Transfer program, contact the Small Business Administration. Its employees are responsible for coordinating the efforts government-wide.