SHAHEEN CONTINUES CALL FOR ACTION ON SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION PROGRAM

Discusses Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) during tour of Hudson firm

January 14, 2011

(Hudson, N.H.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today continued her call for action on a critical small business innovation program that Congress has failed to reauthorize. Her comments today came during a tour of Spire Semiconductor, a manufacturing firm in Hudson.

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, has supported reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 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. 

"Spire Semiconductor is a great New Hampshire success story and a direct beneficiary of the Small Business Innovation Research program," Shaheen said. "But despite bipartisan support for this program, Congress has failed to ensure it has the stability and support it needs to be effective. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I will work with my colleagues to get the long-term reauthorization of Small Business Innovation Research Program passed in this Congress."

Spire Semiconductor specializes in innovative solar energy manufacturing equipment and optoelectronic components for the defense, biomedical, telecommunications, and consumer products markets. It was awarded three SBIR grants for its solar cell technology over the last two years through the Department of Defense, and is looking to add to its 20 employees as a result of the advances made through SBIR grants.

"Spire is pleased that Senator Shaheen is visiting our Hudson facility where we are developing advanced solar cell technology," said CEO Roger G. Little. "Her support of the Department of Energy's Solar Initiative and the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is crucial to our ability to innovate and compete with international organizations bringing their products to the U.S., allowing us to grow in Southern New Hampshire."

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 total 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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