Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Date: May 5, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PADILLA. Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of the ``Encouraging Small Business Innovation Act,'' which I introduced today.

During National Small Business Week, we are celebrating the resiliency of our Nation's entrepreneurs who are leading our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To promote a strong recovery for the 32.5 million small businesses across the country, Congress should bolster Federal programs that support these entrepreneurs and innovators.

For more than 40 years, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs have spurred innovation, job creation, and economic growth.

These programs have generated breakthroughs in a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, defense, energy, healthcare, and transportation.

Today, the Small Business Administration and 11 participating Federal Agencies leverage the SBIR and STTR Programs to help small innovative firms explore their potential and increase the commercialization of innovations arising out of Federal research and development.

While these critical programs have invested more than $40 billion in small businesses, many firms, especially those that are minority- or women-owned, still face considerable barriers to participation.

As we look to spur innovation and drive small business growth, Congress should improve the diversity of these programs, enhance access to capital, and expand the eligible uses of funds to better support the needs of U.S. small businesses.

That is why I am proud to introduce this bill to increase the effectiveness of the SBIR and STTR Programs by improving diversity, enhancing access to capital, and expanding the eligible uses of funds.

This bill would direct participating Federal Agencies to use a portion of their SBIR allocation to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to underserved populations and states.

It would also allow Small Business Investment Companies to participate as investors in SBIR and STTR projects and permanently add testing and evaluation activities permanently as an eligible expense, which can be resource-intensive for small firms, across all relevant agencies.

Additionally, this bill would require participating Federal Agencies to conduct a joint annual meeting to share best practices for improving data collection and streamlining processes across the programs.

I hope my colleagues will join me in support of this bill to improve the effectiveness of the SBIR and STTR Programs.