Small Business Healthcare and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Renee Ellmers released the following statement from her office in Washington this morning:
"Today I'm happy to announce that my first piece of legislation was signed into law over the weekend by President Obama. This legislation will have a dramatic effect on innovators and entrepreneurs throughout the country, allowing them to grow our economy and create jobs. Not only do great products and services develop from the program, so do quality North Carolinian jobs. Since 2006, over 427 awards were granted to small businesses throughout the state, resulting in thousands of jobs and increased business through innovation. I would like to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their work to get this legislation passed and look forward to advancing practical solutions that will help grow our economy, reduce our debt, and get Americans working again."
Congresswoman Ellmers introduced H.R. 1425 - her first piece of sponsored legislation - through the House Small Business Committee in April. Known as the "Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act of 2011," this important law takes an existing initiative known as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and extends its scope through investments in small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Created in 1982, this program has helped feed federal research and development grants to the country's best innovators -- small businesses. This reauthorization allows for greater participation among small businesses with significant private capital support; increases both phase one and phase two award levels, which have not been raised since 1982; increases the SBIR program allocation from 2.5 to 3.2 percent and the STTR allocation from .3 percent to .45 percent over the course of the reauthorization, which allows more access for small businesses to compete for R&D funds; and requires a Congressional reauthorization after six years.
The law also significantly improves data collection to allow for better metrics to evaluate the programs' successes and shortcomings and standardizes the application process across agencies to encourage greater ease of use for small businesses. Better still, the SBIR program does not cost taxpayers any additional dollars. The program simply requires that federal agencies slice out a small percentage within their overall budget for which small firms can compete.