SBIR Gateway

SBIR Insider Newsletter
SBIR Reauthorization

October 3, 2008 Edition

Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,

I realize you have been deluged with news from Congress and Wall street, so I'll make this a short report with news I felt you needed to know now. We will follow up next week with detailed information.

In this issue:

SBIR Reauthorization Dead In The 110th Congress

Over the last month and through today, October 3, 2008, there has been a flurry of intense efforts in the Senate to get an SBIR Reauthorization bill passed. It was suggested that premature reporting by the SBIR Insider could complicate and/or hinder those efforts so we remained silent, hoping to give you good news.

Unfortunately the valiant efforts on SBIR reauthorization by the leaders and staff of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE), John Kerry (D-MA) chair and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), were rebuffed by a few and ultimately could not be brought to the full Senate for a vote, in spite of the fact that the original bill S.3362 was passed unanimously 19-0 in the SBE committee back in July (see ).

There has been a good deal of additional compromise hammered out by the SBE to try and reach agreement with opposition, and they succeeded except for one Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK). Coburn's blockage had nothing directly to do with the VC issue. It has been reported by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), that in the last few weeks Coburn has blocked more than 30 Senate bills.

By Coburn's own admission his blocking of bills was at his own discretion [not his party's] and he displeased many in his own party by blocking their amendments. Coburn fights passionately against bills with earmarks, and those with what he deems to be of questionable fiscal responsibility. He has a questionable reputation of support for small businesses.

There were unbelievable efforts to try and "educate" the good Dr. and his staff as to why the SBIR program is a small business set aside rather than an "earmark" program for the privileged. The SBE also made several concessions to Coburn's concerns.

Nevertheless, Dr, Coburn [who still practices as a family physician and obstetrics] and his staff continued their blocking of bills in a manner more reminiscent of performing a C-Section with a chainsaw rather than a surgical scalpel.

The bill is now considered "dead" as will be the 110th congress very soon. However, this has been a strange year and against all odds, the dead could come back to life......

SBIR/Small Biz Extension To March 20, 2009 Is For Real!

In our last issue we reported on S.3029, "To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs [through March 20, 2009] under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes." It was uncertain how the agencies would respond to this as far as SBIR was concerned. The answer was a resounding "YES", so SBIR is alive and kicking "as is" until that time.

This was further emphasized by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, James I. Finley whose memo of September 24, 2008 addressed the pertinent DoD SBIR components:

"Public Law 110-235, enacted on May 23,2008, extends the authorization of any program, authority or provision of the Small Business Act (1 5 U.S.C. 63 1 et seq.), which includes the SBIR Program (1 5 U.S.C. 638), through March 20,2009. Accordingly, all DoD Components with SBIR Programs should continue setting aside 2.5% of their extramural Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) budget to new and ongoing SBIR contracts.

We will continue to conduct SBIR solicitations for Phase I proposals as scheduled until further notice and encourage solicitation of proposals for Phase II and Phase II Enhancements."

Secretary Finley has been a strong supporter of SBIR and its importance to the DoD community. We'll have more on Dr. Finley in our next issue.

The new DoD FY-2009 SBIR schedule is now listed on their site at as well as our SBIR Gateway site at

SBIR Continuation Heighten's Importance Of SBIR National Conference

The next SBIR National Conference will be November 12-14, 2008 in Hartford, CT. (see ). The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) has held several very successful regional SBIR conferences and have been working on hosting the National SBIR Conference for quite sometime.

Deb Santy, Director for the CT SBIR Office, and her staff have been working feverishly to provide a world class National SBIR conference. This is an opportunity to meet one-on-one with agency program managers, prime contractors and other small businesses..

NOTE: The model of state hosted National SBIR conferences is in doubt for the future. This may be the last National SBIR conference for quite a long time! We have seen several states step up to the plate, only to withdraw because of the financial and support burdens of hosting a conference. With tighter state budgets this is likely to decrease the chances of robust state supported National SBIR conferences.

There is quite a bit of additional news that we'll have for you next week. In the mean time, here are a few caveats: NSF has released their FY-2009 STTR (see ), Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Director of NIH to step down at the end of October 2008, Navy Issues a Defense Contractor's SBIR/STTR Partnering Manual (see



Rick Shindell
SBIR Gateway
Zyn Systems
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
[email protected]

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