White House to expand small business access to federal innovation, grants


The Obama administration plans to help small businesses access new markets quicker by giving them better access to technology developed in federal laboratories, as well as by expanding grant programs.

As part of its recently updated small business cross agency priority framework (.pdf), the administration says it wants agencies to take steps to streamline the process for private-public research partnerships so that startups can access research and development grants 50 percent faster.

As part of an Oct. 28, 2011 executive order, President Obama told agencies to develop a 5 year plan to track the use of the $147 billion that the federal government invests in research in development, track the patents each federally funded lab produces and identify ways that small and local businesses can create partnerships with labs.

Agencies submitted their plans on Nov. 10, 2012, and will a summary of their initial efforts, new opportunities and useful metrics by the end of the first quarter in calendar 2013. Representatives from the Interagency Working Group on Technology Transfer will evaluate the information and publish an economic impact assessment in the third quarter of 2013.

Part of the framework calls for agency Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs to make larger grants to small businesses as well as to develop efforts to improve the commercialization of funded companies by setting performance benchmarks and improving data collection.

The framework also tells the Small Business Administration to negotiate higher thresholds for small business contract goals for 2014 and 2015.

For more:
- download the Cross Agency Priority framework
- read the president's 2011 executive order
- see agencies' plans for incorporating more small businesses

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