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Kerry Extends, Improves Small Business Innovation Program

Renewing Program Key for Massachusetts Firms

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Senate passed the Department of Defense authorization bill with provisions secured by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to extend the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program through 2010 and to increase the transition and commercialization of products developed by small firms. This critical extension will ensure that the thousands of firms that participate in the program each year, including many in Massachusetts, will not face the same delays and shut-downs of eight years ago. Massachusetts ranks second in the nation in SBIR awards, with small firms receiving more than $240 million in contracts in 2005. Over the life of the program, which Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) helped create, more than 10,200 Massachusetts small firms have received nearly $3 billion.

"Massachusetts small businesses are leading the country in developing technologies through the program that are helping to keep our troops safe on the battleground, improving our health care, and expanding our ability to combat global warming," said Kerry. "We need to keep this program strong, avoid any contracting delays or shut-downs, and provide more resources to rapidly transition the most promising technologies into weapons systems. I thank Senator Carl Levin and all the members of the Armed Services Committee for their leadership on these amendments and their support of this program."

"I'm pleased that the Senate has provided this extension to SBIR," said Senator Kennedy, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. "Twenty-five years ago I helped to establish this program with Warren Rudman, and I'm glad that it will continue to offer essential support to our high-tech companies. Massachusetts is among the leading states in the nation in terms of the number and dollar value of SBIR awards, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to see that this program is reauthorized."

Kerry will be working on legislation to reauthorize the SBIR program next year, but Kerry and Levin worked to include this extension as part of the Defense bill to prevent a shut-down or delay of this important research and development program when it expires on September 30, 2008. Eight years ago the program shut-down because the program was not renewed in a timely way. The temporary extension will provide time lawmakers need to develop bipartisan legislation that will be signed into law.

The Senate also passed an amendment to build upon a pilot program that Senators Kerry and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) created in 2005 to help firms transition their projects into commercialized products. The amendment, sponsored by Kerry and Snowe and supported by Levin, extends the pilot program through 2012 to help small firms bring their products and innovations into the marketplace.

SOURCE U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship
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