Alaska Small Business Development Center

Risch, Colleagues Introduces Legislation to Boost R&D Grants for Small Businesses

March 29, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) with Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today introduced the FAST Fix Act to create greater opportunities for small businesses in underserved states, like Idaho, to gain access to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards.

SBIR and STTR awards encourage small businesses to research commercialization ideas, compete in the global marketplace, and create local jobs. The awards are highly competitive and the FAST program provides funding to organizations to develop SBIR/STTR outreach and training programs to help facilitate more awards in underrepresented states. However, the current one-size-fits-all application process requires all applicants to be equally considered, which has resulted in undermining the states the program is intended to serve.

“Small business research and development grants make a world of difference, yet several states, like Idaho, are underserved by the programs that administer them,” said Risch. “With the FAST Fix Act, Congress can make commonsense changes the FAST program application process and ensure Idahoans have access to these grants.”

“Nevada’s small businesses are leading the way in our clean energy and innovation economy, and I’m doing everything I can to make sure our state receives its fair share of federal resources to help them grow,” said Cortez Masto. “Our bipartisan bill will help level the playing field for Nevada’s small businesses so they can continue to create jobs in Nevada.”

“Small businesses drive Idaho’s economy, providing jobs and spurring local innovation,” said Crapo.  “This reasonable change will provide more opportunity for Idaho’s small businesses to access these grants, allowing them to better compete on a national stage.”

“Nevada small businesses are the engine of our economy, and we must do more to help them access grant opportunities,” said Rosen. “I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation to bring in greater funding for Nevada small businesses and support innovation and job growth.”

“Small businesses are truly the backbone of West Virginia’s economy, which is why we need to do what we can to support them,” Capito said. “The FAST Fix Act would make several important changes to the FAST grants program and application process to give small businesses in historically underserved states—like West Virginia—a better chance of receiving the federal funding they need to grow. By doing away with the one-size-fits-all bureaucratic process, this bipartisan legislation will help SBA better fulfill its mission of serving community businesses and catalyzing economic growth.”

“Small businesses are essential to our nation’s economy, and it’s vital that rural states are given a fair shot at receiving the SBIR and STTR funding intended for them,” said Hoeven. “The FAST Fix Act does just that, supporting the creation of good-paying jobs in North Dakota, while building on our efforts to empower entrepreneurs and small businesses to get new innovations to market.”

“Alaska’s innovative small businesses are the backbone of our economy, so how we help them access research and development grants is important. This small fix will ensure the FAST Partnership Program works for an underserved state such as Alaska, which has ranked at or near the bottom of states that have received awards. This effort allows us to maximize the innovation of Alaskans while bolstering competitiveness and job creation,” said Murkowski.

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