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7th SBIR Extension underway!

Posted by Mike Anderson on Thu, Jun 03, 2010 @ 01:35 PM

There continue to be "games" in Congress related to re-authorization of the SBIR/STTR bill.  It seems Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) is continually trying to sweep re-authorization "under the rug" and get it approved without negotiating directly with the Senate.  The Senate has offered many compromises over the last 12 months in attempts to finalize the bill (http://www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/sb-insider05-24-10.htm#one).  It seems the House continually rejects (or conveniently "forgets") these compromises.  So it is becoming obvious that the House wants their version of the bill passed, or nothing.  No negotiations.  There are some issues from small business owners with the House version of the bill, however.  The Small Business Technology Council has drafted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) expressing their concerns (http://www.sbircoach.com/page.aspx?page_id=35).  This letter strongly endorses the Markey Amendment to the House re-authorization bill or the Senate version of the re-authorization.  The House committee Chair for the Committee on Small Business, Rep Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has also clearly stated her position on the issue in a letter to the Chair of the House Committee on the Budget on March 4, 2010, stating "...Without the participation of venture-backed companies, the SBIR program has become little more than corporate welfare for marginal companies who are unable to secure external market-based funding."  So, politics continues but the SBIR program is being used as the "football".  We can only continue to contact our Representatives to try to get this resolved and passed.  Our country, our jobs and small business rely on it.
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ARRA Money distribution and systems reviews

Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, May 12, 2010 @ 04:22 AM

Has anybody in small business wondered where the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money was and if it would ever trickle down to small business?  It has taken a while to get the money flowing on some of these programs (other than construction projects).  We are starting to see ARRA funds used for funding of some STTR and SBIR topics.  There are some additional stipulations attached to funds coming from the ARRA, however. The contractor must have a funds control system that tracks and reports ARRA funds separate from non-ARRA funds.  The contractor must also keep track of jobs created by the ARRA funds or jobs supported by the funds.  It is required that the costs claimed are allowable, allocable and properly supported.  The contractor is also required to flow down these requirements to subcontractors.  These requirements are in addition to the usual DCAA and FAR requirements for government contracting.  So the question is; "will the government really be able to monitor these additional requirements"?  Well, we had a client last week that received a notice from their contracting office notifying them that a team was coming to their facility to do a "review" of these requirements associated with the ARRA funds.  The review is requesting to see "backup documentation" in support of these requirements.  Sounds like a system audit.  So if you are receiving ARRA funds (or proposing to receive these funds) be prepared for a "review" of your backup documentation.  This is beginning to happen.
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SBIR Award levels raised

Posted by Mike Anderson on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 @ 02:27 PM

Yesterday the Small Business Administration raised the threshold levels for SBIR awards.  The level for Phase 1 awards has increased to $150,000 where the threshold for Phase 2 awards has increased to $1,000,000.   The levels for STTR's were not altered at this time but could also end up being revised.  This is good news on a couple of fronts.  First, the increased level of award will help cover escalating costs due to inflationary pressures and possibly also help fuel more complete development.  More importantly, this is a message to congress that the SBA is highly involved in determining the guidelines of the program.  It will help resolve one of the major differences between the House version of the SBIR re-authorization bill and the Senate version.  Now we go back to congress where the SBIR re-authorization bills are faced with the April 30 deadline.  I'm hopeful that the action by the SBA would help the two sides of congress come to agreement to complete this bill and present it to the President.  Will it happen in the next 30 days?  Hopefully yes but realistically probably not.  Meanwhile small business should continue to pursue the SBIR/STTR programs with earnest.  I think the program is too valuable from a jobs standpoint alone to have it disappear.
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Topics: SBIR, STTR, HR 2965

SBIR Re-authorization, Part V

Posted by Mike Anderson on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 @ 02:42 PM

The latest on the SBIR re-authorization is not necessarily good news.  House Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA) is trying to bypass negotiation with the Senate version of the re-authorization bill by incorporating the House version into the Jobs bill.  Remember that the house version wanted to increase the amount of each award (thereby reducing the number of awards) and it also allowed the involvement of the Venture Capital industry.  There is also some concern that the reauthorization term would be limited too.   It just doesn’t feel right.  Is congress too busy to do justice to the SBIR re-authorization?  They have postponed it and extended deadlines so many times over the last 1 ½ years that it takes on the look of the “ugly stepchild”.  I think we all should write our representatives in congress and demand action.  Here is a site that allows you to do that very easily – without research.    http://www.capwiz.com/nsbaonline/issues/alert/?alertid=14725141&type=CO

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Topics: SBIR, STTR, HR 2965

SBIR/STTR Reauthorization, Part IV

Posted by Mike Anderson on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 @ 01:45 PM

To quote one of my favorite presidents: "Well, there you go again".  We all knew it would happen.   There is too much in the news about Afghanistan, Health Insurance Reform, the Recession, the Economy, etc. for Congress to pay attention to the SBIR reauthorization bill this month.   So they did what they have done so many times in the past, they extended the deadline!  This occurred in two separate legislations.  H.R. 2647, otherwise known as the” FY-2010 National Defense Conference Report”, was passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President yesterday (10/28/09).    This included extension of funding of DoD SBIR/STTR’s until 9/30/10.  Originally this bill had language to extend the DoD program for 14 years but it was revised down to only one year prior to passage.   The other 10 SBIR agencies have to depend upon a new bill introduced in the Senate (S.1929) that extends the funding deadline for 6 more months to April 30, 2010.  This is to allow small businesses to get “thru the holiday season”.    The bill now goes to the House but approval is not guaranteed since the Small Biz Committee has been reluctant in the past to extend the SBIR program for any length of time.   What?  It all makes sense when you look back to the original expiration date of Sept. 30, 2008 and what has happened since then.  There are a number of politicians with individual agendas that are preventing the reauthorization of this important program.  Never mind that it affects over 29 million small businesses and that small businesses represent about half of all employment in the United States.  Judging by what is going on with Health Care Reform, it could be extended again next April.  Stay tuned…..
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Topics: government contractor, SBIR, STTR, DCAA, Announcements

SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Bill, part 3

Posted by Mike Anderson on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 @ 05:00 AM

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Topics: SBIR, STTR

SBIR/STTR Re-authorization Passes House and Senate

Posted by Mike Anderson on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 @ 12:11 PM

H.R. 2965 re-authorizing the SBIR/STTR programs  passed the house last week (July 9, 2009) and Senate approved reauthorization on July 13, 2009, extending the SBIR/STTR programs for another 8 years.   Now the final bill must be written and presented to President Obama for signature into law before the July 31, 2009 expiration.  While we are happy that it passed unanimously we are also concerned about a couple of caveats included in the legislation.  The award amounts for the grants have been increased to as much as $250,000 for Phase 1 to $2,000,000 for Phase 2.  These adjustments are seen as compensating for inflation over the period since the programs were last authorized.  While this is good, it will almost certainly reduce the number of awards.   This will mean that the success rate of winning grants in this program will go down.  It becomes imperative that small businesses depending upon these funds will be required to refine their proposal efforts.  No longer can you depend upon “luck” to win a grant.  Experts, such as Tech BizSolutions, will become more valuable as partners to these small businesses.   

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Topics: SBIR, STTR, HR 2965