Small businesses can play a critical role in driving innovation by developing and commercializing high-risk, high-reward technologies. But they often lack early-stage capital to bring ideas to fruition. The federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs address this need, channeling over $3.1 billion to nearly 3,600 firms in fiscal 2018 for technology development and commercialization. Having helped seed companies such as Apple, 23andMe, and Qualcomm, the programs are so effective that they have been copied by 17 countries around the world. But there are still opportunities to improve their structure and more effectively leverage federal funds. For instance, inflexible program requirements can prevent SBIR/STTR from attracting or selecting companies with promising ideas. Furthermore, awards are often obtained by companies that sustain themselves primarily on government grants for decades without an urgent focus on growth and commercialization. And importantly, program-wide funding uncertainties are a detriment to agencies’ long-term SBIR/STTR planning.
Please join ITIF for an expert panel discussion and the release of a new report discussing the future of these programs and how they can more effectively drive growth among innovative small businesses.
More speakers to be announced.
The event will be livestreamed here.
ITIF has moved to a new location. Please join us at our new offices located at 700 K St., NW (across from the Carnegie Library).