Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,
In our October 3rd issue we announced that SBIR reauthorization was dead in the 110th Congress. Although this scenario is still likely, the events of the last few weeks heighten the chances for more action in a "lame-duck" Congress which "may" present an opportunity for additional SBIR reauthorization activity.
Currently the SBIR program is extended to March 20, 2009, and the STTR runs through September 30, 2009. Similar to FY-08, the DoD plans to issue two STTR solicitations. STTR09.A will be released January 27, 2009 closing on March 25, 2009 (Army, Navy, Air Force, DARPA, OSD), and STTR09.B will be released July 27, 2009, closing on September 23, 2009 (Air Force, MDA), with component participation open to change.
In this issue:
Oklahoma Senator Blocks Senate SBIR Legislation
Last issue we reported on Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) successful action to block the SBIR reauthorization bill (S.3362) passed by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE). Many readers have written to us wanting to know his objections. Here is a short rundown:
- Reduce authorization to 5 years - Done
- Eliminate FAST and Rural Outreach Programs (important programs for bringing in new companies) - Done
- FFATA Compliance: Overall, the federal agencies do not do a perfect job complying with the Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to include all government contracting to be listed on www.usaspending.gov/ SBIR awards are included in this act.
- Wants a clear justification in writing, and posted to the website, as to why each SBIR award advances the mission of the agency.
- No Earmarking of SBIR/STTR Funds: There has been no known earmarking of SBIR funds to date. Phase I competition coupled with relatively low SBIR award $$$ created an unfavorable environment for the earmarking process.
- No Earmarking of Phase III $$$. Phase III money is not part of SBIR award $$$ and in the case of DoD, where the agency itself may be a customer for the SBIR technology, monies are generally from the DoD acquisition community and subject to the same rules of DoD procurement. Any new laws on earmarking of these $$$ are outside of the jurisdiction of the Senate SBE committee.
The bottom line is that Coburn and his staff are not stupid. They have a reputation for blocking bills by appearing to be cooperative, while imposing demands that Coburn & Co. know can't be met because they are outside of the jurisdiction of various committees.
Note to Oklahoma Readers: Senator Coburn is hosting a town hall meeting in Oklahoma City on Monday, October 20, 2009, from 2:00 - 3:00pm at the Langston University OKC Campus. Please consider attending and letting him know of your support for SBIR.
Oklahoma Activists Draft SBIR Petition
Some Oklahoma small businesses have organized an Internet petition campaign to show support to the Senate on SBIR Reauthorization. Several of these folks have participated in conference calls with Senator Coburn's staffers and feel they need your help and participation in this effort to raise support for SBIR.
You can view and sign on to the petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/SBIR2008/ Non-Oklahomans are encouraged to participate as well. The good Dr. Coburn often comments on how the Senator's Oath of Office is to the country and not their state, so don't be bashful on commenting. The Senate SBE committee will be able to read your comments as well.
SBIR Insider Comments On Reauthorization In The 110th Congress
Thankfully election day is near. From now until November 4, your politicos are likely to be more receptive to your voice than ever. We urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives to let them know, emphatically, how SBIR is important to your business and the economy.
The SBIR Insider has been told many times that reauthorization requires individual and collective support. Here are some collective support options for your consideration:
- SBTC - The Small Business Technology Council is the only industry group devoted entirely to SBIR/STTR. Check them out at www.sbtc.org It is a council organization of the National Small Business Association (NSBA).
- ASBL - The American Small Business League www.asbl.com is an aggressive organization that supports overall small business issues. They are not SBIR specialists but are an important presence in small business advocacy.
There are some other sources of SBIR information you should check out. It's never a good idea to get all your information from one source.
- www.inknowvation.com - Ann Eskesen's Innovation Development Institute web site. Ms. Eskesen is without peer in her knowledge of SBIR and companies participating in the program. She goes back to the earliest days of the program and has been a leader in SBIR reauthorization over the years.
- www.sbircoach.blogspot.com - Fred Patterson, aka The SBIR Coach operates a nice blog on SBIR. He's a good and knowledgeable SBIR resource.
- http://g-jgreenwood.home.att.net/reauthorization.htm - Gail and Jim Greenwood of Greenwood Consulting Group, Inc. well known and respected SBIR resource specializing in SBIR training classes.
- www.zyn.com/sbir/insider - The archive of SBIR Insider newsletters going back to November, 2005.
Fall 2008 National SBIR Conference
Time is getting close for the Fall National SBIR National Conference, November 12-14, 2008 in Hartford, CT. Hosted by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT), this is not your father's SBIR conference. In addition to the customary national conference sessions, CCAT has added many advanced features that will be of interest to the SBIR veterans and well as novices.
There is still no selection announced for a 2009 National SBIR conference, so this may be your best opportunity to network with many SBIR program managers, SBIR professionals, prime contractors and others.
For further information and registration please visit www.ccat.us/sbir_conference_08/
It isn't often that I find myself at a loss for words, but these turbulent times have brought that about. Few could have predicted the speed and severity of our economic downturn, and there is no history to suggest how our program may survive.
On the other hand, SBIR could prove to be more important than ever. Whatever the case, you won't be able to sit back and let others carry the reauthorization load. SBIR reauthorization in our current economic climate will most likely face the most difficult challenge in its history.
I'll do my best to keep you informed and provide options for your consideration. I also look forward to hearing your ideas and comments, but apologize in advance for not being able to respond quickly due to the volume of mail.
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
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