federal agency

How SBIR/STTR spent $2.7 billion in FY 2016

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released its FY 2016 annual report for the $2.4 billion obligated by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and $313.6 million by the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The report includes the number and dollar amount of SBIR and STTR awards for each state. New Phase I SBIR awards by agency are summarized in the following table.

SSTI submits OZ comments to IRS

This fall, the IRS released proposed Opportunity Zone rules, which did not address several key questions for business investment. SSTI submitted comments for official consideration last week, requesting that rules clarify initial investment periods, interim returns and qualifying business activity locations. Several organizations echoed similar concerns, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Other comments posted to the site include calls for requirements that would facilitate greater impact, including screening potential bad actors, encouraging investments in ESOPs, and measuring economic impacts for current zone residents. Read SSTI’s full letter

More collaboration needed in quantum computing

With at least six federal agencies supporting quantum computing research and at least 10 agencies supporting synthetic biology research, more collaboration is needed to effectively marshal the agencies’ efforts to maintain U.S. competitiveness, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

New Treasury rules create opportunity to advance local innovation economies

Organizations that assist and finance innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship have largely been left out of one of America’s great drivers of local investment: Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activities by banks. Now, with the U.S. Department of Treasury actively seeking to modernize CRA regulations, the tech-based economic development community has an opportunity to help CRA to become a tool for advancing local innovation economies. All parties are encouraged to read below for more information and to submit comments by Nov. 19.

New SEC report focuses on recommendations for increasing small business capital formation

A Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) report contains over 20 recommendations for the SEC to consider that would improve small business capital formation. The report, released in April, stems from the 36th annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation – a daylong event held late last year. Its recommendations include issues related to the definition of accredited investors; rules changes that would increase the number of Regulation A+ and Regulation Crowdfunding offerings; and, a revised regulatory regime (based upon the European regulatory regime) to improve peer-to-peer lending.

New science policy directives revealed at HHS, EPA

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the EPA have each released new four-year strategic plans, continuing to reflect agencies’ adoption of the Trump administration’s policy directions. HHS has a streamlined science agenda that limits explicit connections to regulation while aiming to expand its overall capacity for research. EPA’s new plan is emphasizing science solely in support of legislative requirements and state requests.

SBA & Treasury plans show less support for entrepreneurs

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury have released strategic plans through FY 2022. Similar to the new Department of Commerce plan, these documents do not mention programs and offices that the administration has marked for elimination, creating a lack of clear strategic direction for millions of dollars in entrepreneurship and innovation funding that Congress continues to appropriate and direct. Specific areas of concern at these agencies are the SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters and Growth Accelerator programs and the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Commerce sets new, hands-off direction for department

In a shift from its past economic development efforts, the U.S. Department of Commerce FY2018-2023 strategic plan would move the department to focus almost exclusively on being a commercial services entity. The plan’s points of emphasis are on streamlined permitting and regulations, with direct government activity primarily reserved for common good services — e.g., economic data, cybersecurity and IP protection.

NSF recalibrates direction

The National Science Foundation’s new strategic plan argues that the U.S. must continue investing in world-class research, develop a globally competitive scientific and engineering workforce, and foster greater understanding of science and technology among the American public. However, the pressure of new priorities and level funding proposed for FY 2019 have yielded some surprising directions for the agency’s planned investments.

Research and innovation process goals

Census seeks comments on future Annual Business Surveys

In the October 24 edition of the Federal Register, the U.S. Census Bureau released a request for comment (RFI) on a proposed Annual Business Survey (ABS). The ABS is a new survey designed to combine Census Bureau firm-level collections that replaces the five-year Survey of Business Owners (SBO) for employer businesses, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE), and the Business Research and Development (R&D) and Innovation for Microbusinesses (BRDI-M) surveys.

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