SHAHEEN: ACT ON SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION PROGRAM

Brings effort to reauthorize Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) to Manchester

January 18, 2011

(Manchester, N.H.) - Continuing her call for action on an effective small business innovation program, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today visited Active Shock in Manchester, who joined her in support of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, is advocating for a long-term reauthorization of the program, which allows small companies to compete for federal research and development dollars.  Despite bipartisan support, Congress has failed to pass a long-term reauthorization and the program is operating under a short-term extension, which creates uncertainty for small businesses. 

"Active Shock's founders, Bill Larkins and John LaPlante, have built a thriving company on their ingenuity and perseverance," Shaheen said. "Innovative small businesses like theirs are the bedrock of our economy, and the SBIR program was an important part of their early success. I thank Bill and John for lending their voices to my effort to ensure a long-term reauthorization of this program, which is crucial for providing the security and predictability needed for it to be effective."

"Active Shock is 100 percent behind Senator Shaheen's push to reauthorize the SBIR program," company President and CEO Bill Larkins said.  "We would not be here today, providing superior and safer mobility for our warfighters, were it not for the effective seed capital that Active Shock received through multiple competitively offered SBIR grants.  This program provides a funding base upon which entrepreneurs can invent new technologies, create jobs, and grow a business to become self-sustaining in commercial markets.  We sincerely hope Senator Shaheen is successful in her effort to provide stability to a program that can simultaneously help the warfighter and spawn new industries."

Active Shock was founded in 2001 by Larkins and LaPlante, and is a leader in semi-active suspension technology. The founders leveraged their expertise in engineering, physics, and embedded control systems to create suspension and vibration control systems that could meet the performance, protection, and payload specifications required by the military and demanding users. The company's suspension technology, which is protected by a combination of patents and design trade secrets, has evolved over eight years of development and testing.  Active Shock has funded most of its development through a combination of SBIR, Department of Defense, and commercial R&D programs. It has received five SBIR awards, totaling more than $1.7 million.  These awards were used in the development of a bolster seat and enhanced active damping systems for the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).

First created in legislation from New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman, SBIR was established in 1982 to increase participation of small innovative companies in federally funded R&D. Since its creation, New Hampshire firms have received over $330 million in research grants through the SBIR program. Over the last two years, New Hampshire firms received 80 awards totaling $26 million in grants through SBIR. Despite its size, New Hampshire is ranked 22nd in the nation for total grants awarded through the Department of Defense over the life of the program.

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