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SBIR Size Rules
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SBIR Size Rules
SBA has just concluded the public comment period for the size rules on the SBIR program. As we had hoped, the input and comments we received on the rules were robust and included a wide range of opinions. As we now begin the process of digesting the comments and evaluating how to change the proposed rules, I’d like to take this opportunity to let people know where we go from here.
Here are four things you should know about the proposed SBIR size rules:
SBA was given a tight, congressionally mandated timeline. Congress gave SBA aggressive deadlines to draft the rules and get them out to the public. And we had significant work to do to turn the statute into detailed, practicable working regulations. In order to meet these deadlines, SBA took the approach of drafting the rules and as quickly as possible putting them out for public comment in order to get reaction and input that will shape what the final rules look like.
SBA wanted to quickly get proposed rules out for comment, and then use feedback to shape the final rule. From Day 1, we made it clear that public input is critical, and we proactively encouraged more than 10,000 small businesses to submit comments on the rules. We received over 250 comments on the proposed rules. In addition, we had four roundtables and webinars with participation of more than 100 small businesses and other stakeholders. This input was critical and extremely valuable, and I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate and voice their opinion. The feedback we received was passionate and diverse. Now we are going to make sure that the comments we received inform and shape the final rules that we develop.
SBA is dedicated to streamlining and simplifying the SBIR program. The existing rules are complex. Streamlining and simplifying government programs, especially ones touching small business is a priority across the Administration. While you might need a Ph.D. to do the research, you shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in grant writing or federal regulations to apply. Streamlining and simplifying is a priority for all aspects of the program, not just the size rules.
SBA is committed to the SBIR program. Over the past few years, we have committed greater senior management attention, and more resources to the SBIR program than ever before. We relaunched SBIR.gov and made significant improvements to Tech Net. We created the SBIR Hall of Fame to recognize firms with extraordinary success in research, innovation, and commercialization and restarted the Tibbetts Award program in 2011. We are also delivering on our commitment to get the size rules and policy directives drafted quickly.
Our task now is to fully digest all of the comments, and to use this feedback to modify the rules. After we make changes to the rules, we will seek review and substantive input from all of the participating agencies, as well as other parts of the executive branch. Our goal is to meet the statutory deadline of issuing final rules by the end of December 2012.
The SBIR and STTR policy Directives will come out in the coming days. We look forward to a comparable amount of input and comments.