SSTI members support innovation programs on the Hill

The SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council continues to work toward additional appropriations for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, Build to Scale, and the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership. This week, the Council facilitated meetings with SSTI members and congressional offices to discuss funding priorities. SSTI also released a letter signed by 70 national and regional entities that support fully-funding the Tech Hubs program.

SBA announces 44 FAST awardees

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced 44 FAST awards, including 12 new awards,  totaling over $5.4 million, with each up to $125,000 for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development. The goal of the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program is to strengthen the competitiveness of small businesses and startups to improve Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program outcomes.

SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council publishes priorities for competitiveness legislation

Today, SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council published a letter to Congress urging the adoption of key tech-based economic development policies in the final version of competitiveness legislation that will soon be conferenced between the two chambers. Known as the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA) in the Senate and the America COMPETES Act of 2022 in the House, these bills are proposing to authorize new activities to support science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship across numerous federal agencies. The Council has been talking with offices across the Hill about these proposals throughout the session and will continue to do so as the bill moves to conference.

SSTI, 100+ organizations ask Congress to reauthorize SBIR/STTR

SSTI and the Small Business Technology Council circulated a letter to Congress calling for reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The letter has been signed by more than 100 organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Angel Capital Association, Association of University Research Parks and dozens of SSTI members. Without congressional action, the programs will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council holds virtual Hill Days to support federal innovation programs

Last week, members of SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council headed online for this year’s Hill Days in support of increases to FY 2022 appropriations for key innovation programs. Congresswoman Haley Stevens, vice-chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, kicked off the meetings by speaking with the IAC members. Stevens focused the group on the importance of science and innovation in helping to address the country’s immediate crises, as well as improving our long-term competitiveness. In all, IAC members held more than two dozen meetings with congressional offices and received largely positive responses to requests to increase funding for the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program and the Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters and Federal and State Technology Partnership programs.

$38 million Build to Scale program open for applications

This week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration announced that the Build to Scale program has opened for applications. The Build to Scale program provides operating funding for tech-based economic development initiatives in regional economies. This program has long been a top priority for SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, and we are happy that our continued success in raising the program’s appropriation means this year’s funding opportunity will award $38 million in grants.

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, Congress take to SXSW

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) was one of several legislators who participated in SXSW, including on a panel that also featured Ben Johnson of BioSTL representing SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council. Moran promoted the Startup Act — his legislation that SSTI has helped inform — saying the goal of the bill’s improvements to the Regional Innovation Strategies program is to, “Increase the opportunity… to get dollars to organizations across the country that promote entrepreneurship and innovation to bring this opportunity to every American.”

RIS awardees plan to bring products to market

In the most recent round of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) funding, 42 organizations from 28 states were awarded $17 million to support the creation and expansion of tech transformation networks (i6 Challenge) and early-stage seed capital funds (the Seed Fund Support). In total, EDA’s awards leveraged over $22 million in private, state and local matching funds. Eight of those winners are members of SSTI and we heard from several of them on what this award will mean for their organization.  SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has been instrumental in supporting the program, working with members of Congress to ensure its continued success.

New IAC chair named

The Innovation Advocacy Council (IAC), an initiative of SSTI to better communicate with and educate Congress on innovation issues, has named Ben Johnson its new chairperson. Johnson, BioSTL’s vice president of programs, will take over the position from Michael Cassidy, president and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance.

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