In case you hadn’t heard, some very big, very important news came out of Washington: Congress has reauthorized the SBIR & STTR programs for an additional five years. The current Reauthorization was scheduled to end in September 2017, so this “Christmas gift” to Federal Contractors and Grantees, extends the programs through the end of Federal Fiscal Year 2022.Read More
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While the Nation Slept: The Struggle of Small Innovative Businesses in the U.S. (Mascot Books) spotlights the U.S. government’s efforts to assist small innovative businesses, particularly those engaged in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.Read More
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.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 re-authorized the SBIR & STTR programs but also made some changes to the programs. The SBA published a preliminary Policy Directive on August 6th, 2012 and requested additional comments from Small Businesses. These comments were collected through October 5th, 2012. The Policy directive was updated based on these comments and authorized on December 26, 2013 and made effective on January 8, 2014. These directives now define how the laws passed in the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 will be implemented. What do these changes mean to small business? I wanted to summarize the changes here. ReliAscent will be releasing some Whitepapers on some of the more involved changes.
Last week I talked about the history of the SBIR and STTR programs, when they were created, when they were re-authorized and a couple of success stories. This week I would like to talk about the magnitude of the programs and how they have grown over the years. The SBIR program today provides over $2 Billion a year to small businesses for the purpose of developing new technology and new products. The STTR program provides almost $1/2 Billion in awards also, but small business must split these awards with a research institute like a university. Typically the small business must keep at least 40% of the STTR funds and spend at least 30% with a single approved research institute.
Recently Laurie Wilson and I gave a presentation at the local NDIA meeting about the SBIR/STTR program. I got to thinking that there are probably a lot of people out there that don't know the full story of the programs. I thought it might be worthwhile to go over the history of the program here briefly. In a future blog, we may go into more details but this is a quick overview.