Monday, April 26, 2010

SBIR Companies' Futures Threatened by Finance Reform Unintended Consequences

UPDATE: The Senate's Cloture Vote failed on Monday, but they'll try again. It's not too late to follow this guidance ...
It's so tiresome. Every time I hear one of our politicos, from the top guy on down, talk up the importance of small business I just want to puke. Not because what they're saying isn't true. Quite the contrary. It is true. It's the lip service they pay.

Not only do they not find the time or take the effort to actually enact legislation that's beneficial to the growth of small business, but they don't even stop to think about the consequences to small business when they try and fix something they think is broken.

This time it's Finance Reform. S.3217 to be precise. The Congress is hell bent on fixing Wall Street. We're not going to debate here whether they're doing it right, and God knows there are aspects that do need overhaul, but it's the unintended consequence to small business that I'm upset about.

SBIR only takes you so far. To proof-of-concept. Right up to the edge of the Valley of Death. Then other funding is needed to get you to a marketplace. So what does S.3217 do? Cut off the most likely funding source. Angel Investors. That's right, S.3217 kills the Angels.

The Small Business Technology Council (SBTC), led by my friend Jere Glover, began beating the drum on this as soon as the bill was made available for reading. (Yes, some of us actually do read these things.) Senator Dodd has assured Jere that they'll put in some amendments to save the Angels, but you'll pardon me if I don't just sit back and trust it to get done.

The deadline for introducing amendments to S.3217 is TODAY, Monday, April 26th, as the Senate will call for a Cloture vote at around 5PM EDT. So it's time to marshal the troops, warm up the fax machines, and be proactive.

I sent out an URGENT ALERT Newsletter to my clients and friends list yesterday. Here's a short link to the Newsletter:
It has the Call to Action with links to resource materials and a template of a letter you can send to your Senators urging inclusion of the "Save the Angels" amendments.

Read the information in the Newsletter carefully. Follow all the links and get informed. Send a letter or two or twenty. Then, spread the word. Forward this info around to anyone who can help us.

I've already heard from some of my contacts that they're re-broadcasting the Alert to their lists, doing Tweets and recruiting Facebook friends to help Save the Angels. One of these is my friend The Fiscal Doctor. (Thanks, Gary! Much appreciated.) Check him out -- he has good advice for emerging companies.

All that lip service has to be quite chafing. I wonder if they have trouble keeping lip balm in stock at the Capitol commissary? Hope they offer an anti-bacterial version for use with lobbyists!

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