SBIR extended through May

The outcome was no great surprise, but a key technology grant program of the U.S. Small Business Administration has been given another short lease on life.The U.S. House Committee on Small Business has passed a resolution granting the Small Business Innovation and Research, or SBIR, program another stopgap extension through May 31, in the hopes a more permanent bill can be hammered out by the full Congress by then.While it is still technically possible funding could be allowed to sunset, the bill is being sent to the Senate Committee for Business and Entrepreneurship, where it is expected to pass without much incident, and then on to President Obama for his signature by the end of the week.Without the short extension, the program, along with similar programs such as the Small Business Technical Transfer, or STTR, program would lose funding as of Jan. 31.The key sticking point between Senate and House versions of the SBIR reauthorization bill has been the percentage of venture ownership allowed for firms seeking grants. The House favors a slightly larger VC ownership percentage — up to 51 percent VC-owned — than the Senate.According to the office of New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen – who sits on the Senate Committee for Business and Entrepreneurship and who has been a vocal supporter of the SBIR program — New Hampshire firms received 80 total awards totaling $26 million in grants in the last two years. – CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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