With the re-authorization of the SBIR/STTR program in the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill, there are now more requirements on awardees relative to commercializing their work. The problem of translating a good technical theory into a marketable product has long plagued business. The old adage that “if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door” is simply not true. By the same reasoning, just because you have a solid technology doesn’t mean the market will buy it. That is where marketing comes in. In our world today, people buy products and services not only because they need them but because they have a desire to have it. That desire is usually built by marketing. For instance, 40 years ago, nobody had a computer and didn’t see a need for one. Then, thru marketing, people were convinced that they needed to have a computer in their home. Why? At the time, there was not an internet and the main reasons to have this computer were mostly desire to have the product. Then, about 10 years ago, we were told we need to have a computer with us at all times. Who would have thought, in 1985, that within 30 years everyone would have a computer in their pocket. Yet today, there are probably more computers in pockets than there are PC’s.
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The 2012 Defense Reauthorization Act also renewed the SBIR and STTR programs. There were certain elements of the Act that required the SBA to establish new policy in order to implement the portions of the new law. It took almost 9 months for the first draft of the new SBIR Policy Directive to be published on Aug. 6, 2012. After public comments were solicited and received by the SBA, the policy directive was finalized and made effective Jan. 8, 2014. There are some major changes that are worth noting including: