SBIR Insider Newsletter
SBA Request for Comments
March 20, 2012
Expect the Unexpected! Here’s an opportunity to voice your comments to the SBA on new SBIR reporting requirements.
In our last issue we led you to Sean Greene’s (SBA Associate Administrator for Investment, and Special Advisor for Innovation), blog posting about the SBA’s plans for creating the SBIR and STTR policy directives (see www.sba.gov/community/blogs/official-sba-news-and-views/open-business/implementing-sbir-and-sttr-reauthorization ). We also cautioned you and Mr. Greene about "The best-laid plans of mice, men and bureaucrats." I fear that is coming to pass because this new action was unforeseen.
SBA Issues: Data Collection Available for Public Comments and Recommendations
The SBA has been working feverishly, internally as well as with the agencies and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the SBIR and STTR policy directives. We are led to believe that progress is good, although officially nobody is talking. If the walls could talk (and sometimes they do), they might be reflecting that OMB is working well with the committees, and our stories of past "trials and tribulations" with an uncooperative OMB are strictly in the past. I’m somewhat skeptical, but hopeful.
However, in an unusual and unexpected move, the SBA published in today’s Federal Register (March 20, 2012) a request for "Data Collection Available for Public Comments and Recommendations." The request states: "Send all comments regarding whether this information collection is necessary for the proper performance of the function of the agency, whether the burden estimates are accurate, and if there are ways to minimize the estimated burden and enhance the quality of the collection…" (see www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-20/html/2012-6702.htm)
The SBA offers supplementary information including:
The legislation extends and broadens a requirement for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to maintain searchable, electronic databases that include pertinent information concerning each SBIR and STTR awards made through the programs. The legislation contains a new data reporting requirement from companies concerning their potential ownership by venture capital, hedge fund, and private equity firms. Additional data fields will be collected from applicants and awardees concerning applicant demographics and company information (such as number of employees, additional funding received). These new data reporting requirements supplement demographic and company information already collected from awardees (such as women or minority owned, award amount information, research abstract, Principal Investigator's name, etc). The legislation differentiates between data that is available to the public and data that is available to the government only. SBA is required to collect this information and report on it annually to Congress.
The problem is that unless you read the new reauthorization language, you won’t know what SBA is referring to.
To help you, we have compiled a PDF document that sheds some light on these reporting issues. Our document contains the SBA request from the federal register, and portions of the reauthorization that refer to the reporting areas. You can download the file from the SBIR Insider at www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/SBA-Data_Collection-Request_comments-3-20-12.pdf
Nevertheless one must wonder why this issue is being broken out from the rest of the policy directive areas that will require public comment. Might it have something to do with the extended reporting requirements concerning VC/Hedge funds/Private Equity ownership structures and the like?
Sean Greene originally believed there would be two separate issues for public comment, 1) Size Standards; 2) The overall Policy Directive. Obviously that’s no longer operative (a throwback to the Nixon administration).
SBA’s Description of Respondents to this notice: Respondents include individuals, and small businesses, that are participating in the SBIR and STTR programs. Individuals and small businesses may be applicants and awardees.
Interestingly enough, SBA wants your comments in hard copy via snail mail, not electronically! It’s a good bet that wasn’t Greene’s choice. Comments must be sent on or before May 21, 2012 to:
Mr. Eric Eide
Mr. Eide is relatively new to the SBA Office of Technology and is there on loan. Reports are that he’s a bright young talented guy, and we wish him well in spite of the fact that he is being indoctrinated by fire during the SBIR policy directive creation. Hang in there Eric.
SBIR, Small Business & Manufacturing Champion Loses Bid for Reelection
Congressman Donald Manzullo (R-IL) lost his bid tonight for reelection in a bitter battle between incumbents, brought about by redistricting.
Manzullo was chair of the House Small Business Committee from 2001 through 2006 and throughout his tenure as chair of the committee, Inc magazine rated him as one of the best friends to small business (for a variety of excellent reasons).
On several occasions (including in the Congressional Record) Manzullo discussed the heavy lobbying and pressure tactics of those big business groups wanting to allow a small business to be majority owned and controlled by non-small business, while competing for small business set asides. Manzullo wouldn't cave to their pressure or anyone else’s. Perhaps that displeased some of the House leadership, and majority leader Eric Cantor’s super pac gave $50,000 to defeat Manzullo.
The bottom line is that we are losing an excellent congressman and gentleman who was a great friend to small business, American manufacturing, and the nation as a whole.
Manzullo will be joining several other SBIR and small business friends who will be leaving government (by choice) at the end of this year. That includes Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Norm Dicks (R-WA) and Jerry Lewis (R-CA).
I’m trying to keep my promise to publish shorter but somewhat more frequent SBIR Insiders. We’ll have more for you soon.
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