Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Dave Reichert won support for an amendment to H.R. 2965, The Small Business Research and Innovation Act, to strengthen participation of disabled veterans, women and minority owned businesses. H.R. 2965 modernizes and reauthorizes the government’s largest small business research and development programs - the amendment offered by Smith and Reichert ensures the government casts the widest net possible in administering these grant programs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It is vitally important – especially in the current economic downturn – that we provide support and resources so our small businesses can grow and thrive. Additionally, the amendment I offered with Congressman Reichert expands the bill to ensure that disabled veterans, women and minority-owned small businesses receive the full benefits of this legislation.”

To see Congressman Smith speak about the importance of this legislation and his amendment click here.

The overall bill modernizes the government’s largest small business research and development programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, more than doubling the amount of the grants small businesses can apply for and helping them engage in cutting-edge research.

The amendment offered by Smith and Reichert builds on H.R. 2965 by giving preference to organizations that are in underrepresented states and regions, or are women, service-disabled veterans or minority-owned in the awarding of grants for Small Business Administration (SBA) outreach efforts. This will broaden the pool of businesses that participate in the programs by reaching out to rural entrepreneurs, veterans, minorities and women.

Supporting outreach to underserved areas and disadvantaged small businesses is essential.  Many small businesses are unaware of the resources that may be available to them, or incur additional, unnecessary costs just to apply for assistance or to navigate a complex government system. The amendment offered by Smith and Reichert addresses this problem by providing support for outreach efforts.

Since 1992, the SBIR and STTR programs have awarded 65,000 grants to small companies that are leading research efforts to cure diseases, strengthen national defense and reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. Without action by Congress, these programs would have expired later this month.