SHAHEEN: EXTENSION OF SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM IS GOOD NEWS FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE, NATIONAL ECONOMIES

Visits SustainX, an SBIR participant

January 11, 2012

(Seabrook, N.H.) – During a tour of energy technology company SustainX in Seabrook today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) discussed how the recent long-term extension of a federal small business program will help create jobs and foster innovation.  Thanks in part to Shaheen’s efforts, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was recently reauthorized for 6 years.  The program allows small companies like SustainX to compete for federal research and development dollars, but had been operating under short-term extensions since 2008, making it difficult for firms to engage in long-term planning.

“SustainX is a perfect example of why I fought so hard to secure a long-term extension for SBIR,” Shaheen said.  “The competitive SBIR grants that SustainX has won have helped it create good, high-paying jobs right here in New Hampshire, while supporting the development of cutting-edge technology that will help keep America competitive in the global marketplace at the same time.”

“SBIR funding has been instrumental in helping us transform our innovative energy storage technology from laboratory proof-of-concept to product,” said SustainX CEO Thomas Zarrella.  “As a result, our company was able to secure the private investment necessary to grow the company into a commercial enterprise and create high-technology jobs here in New Hampshire.  Senator Shaheen’s support has been critical for SustainX and for New Hampshire’s efforts to grow the clean technology industry companies of the future.” 

After winning $600,000 in SBIR grants in its first few years in business, SustainX has grown to employ 30 people since its establishment in 2007.  The SBIR funding helped SustainX further develop its patented energy storage technology and demonstrate its commercial applications.  Proving its product’s commercial viability has allowed SustainX to attract investors, grow its business, and create jobs. 

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a leading advocate of SBIR, ensured that a limited extension of SBIR covering defense programs was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when it passed out of committee.  That provision helped pave the way for an amendment added to NDAA on the floor that fully extended the program for all federal agencies and was ultimately signed into law.  As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Shaheen also cosponsored independent legislation earlier in 2011 for a long-term SBIR extension.

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