Thursday, January 27, 2011

SBIR Still Alive - Obama Misses Opportunity

We're still alive! The Congress approved the 10th Continuing Resolution (H.R. 366) in this now 28-month-long drama on SBIR Reauthorization, and SBIR, STTR, and the DOD's Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) have all been extended four more months, until May 31st.

Hopefully, more of FY2011's SBIR funds will be released soon to the Agencies, and contract and grant processing can resume in those Agencies who have had to suspend those activities after their money for this ran out.

I watched the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. For a moment my heart began to race with anticipation. Here's (verbatim) what he was saying:

"Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses. (Applause.) But government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers.

We should start where most new jobs do -- in small businesses, companies that begin when -- (applause) -- companies that begin when an entrepreneur -- when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, or a worker decides it's time she became her own boss. Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession and they're ready to grow. But when you talk to small business owners in places like Allentown, Pennsylvania, or Elyria, Ohio, you find out that even though banks on Wall Street are lending again, they're mostly lending to bigger companies. Financing remains difficult for small business owners across the country, even those that are making a profit.

So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. (Applause.) I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit -- one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. (Applause.) While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment. (Applause.) "

He then moved on to another subject, and my heart rate slowly went back to normal. RATZ! What I REALLY wanted to hear and wished he would have said next was,

“And, while we’re at it, let’s expand and improve the successful Small Business Innovation Research Program, to give those entrepreneurs who have good ideas the opportunity to build a company and create high-paying jobs, by asking them for more proposals on how to solve some of the toughest technological problems our Government Agencies face, and then funding the best of those proposals. And the good news is that this doesn’t take any new spending. SBIR is included as a portion of those R&D budgets already.”

Betcha that would have gotten some bi-partisan applause and a standing ovation too!

Unfortunately, he didn't say that. What a missed opportunity!

But he did give us precisely the platform we needed to drive the message home to our elected Representatives.

So that’s got to be our message. Let’s get it out there! The Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) will be providing guidance on fact sheets and letters to send. The NSBA's "capwiz" system will help you with sending it. Plan to send a letter to your House District's Representative, your two Senators, and to every member of the Small Business Committees in the House and Senate.

We'll have full support for the letters, contact info for all members of the 112th Congress, and links to the systems on, so be sure to monitor that website.

So, here we go again. Maybe this time they'll actually get it done. I don't know about you, but, for me, this continually being on life support is exhausting!


Anonymous said...

Nice editorial Fred! ~Kelly S. Wylam

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