Crow Introduces the Small Business Innovation Voucher Act to Ensure Small Businesses Stay Competitive with R&D Efforts

December 6, 2019
Press Release

Bill authorizes $10 million per year for five years to establish an innovation voucher program at the Small Business Administration

Introduced with Rep. Burchett (R-TN), the Small Business Innovation Voucher Act is Crow’s fifth piece of legislation to be introduced with a Republican member

Bill would create the first nationwide federally run innovation voucher program

Today, Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) introduced the Small Business Innovation Voucher Act alongside Rep. Tim Burchett (TN-02). The bill would establish an innovation voucher program at the Small Business Administration (SBA) which would allow small businesses to partner with an institution of higher education or research lab for resources so they can better compete for federal funding grants on research and development and commercialization of new technologies. Specifically, the bill authorizes $10 million per year for five years to establish an innovation voucher program at the Small Business Administration. 

With American innovation increasingly reliant on complex, scientific knowledge, federal funding now supports approximately 30% of all new U.S. patents each year. In the last decade alone, the number of patents that rely on federally supported research has nearly doubled. Unfortunately, at the same time, the vast majority of patents are in the hands of the largest firm resulting in a decline of business dynamism in recent decades. Currently, there are similar innovation voucher programs in place in five U.S. states that have shown great promise helping reduce time to market and have focused on new projects that otherwise would not have been pursued. 

“Small businesses and start-ups make up the backbone of Colorado’s economy and we need to make sure they stay competitive. I’m proud to be introducing the Small Business Innovation Voucher Act to promote and protect the valuable role that small businesses play in innovation,” said Congressman Crow. “Ensuring a dynamic marketplace of ideas begins with a diversity of businesses working together to build the next generation of technology.”

“Innovation waivers are one of many tools available to small businesses looking to grow,” said Congressman Burchett. “Small businesses have continued access to these essential resources under this legislation, and I am proud to work with Representative Crow on introducing this bill.”

“Colorado BioScience Association applauds the introduction of The Small Business Innovation Voucher Act. This program is an important step for our life sciences ecosystem, encouraging more public-private partnerships that are critical in the development and commercialization of innovative technologies. We appreciate Congressman Jason Crow’s leadership on this issue and his support for the innovative startups working to commercialize cutting-edge research that improves and saves lives,” said Jennifer Jones Paton, CBSA President and CEO. 

“We at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus  ̶  one of a handful of campuses in the country with a university, hospitals and a growing biotech incubator all on one site  ̶  have seen firsthand how partnering and collaborating truly advances innovation. We’re grateful to Congressman Crow for his efforts to help early-stage innovators get ideas off the ground, which will have a positive impact on economic development and health throughout Colorado,” said Don Elliman, Chancellor of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. 

In evaluating applications for grants under the program, the SBA will consider the likelihood that the funds will be used to create a novel technology, the feasibility of creating such a technology, and whether this technology could be created without the voucher. Priority will be given to small businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans, as well as businesses in rural or underserved areas. Copy of the bill text can be found here

In addition to its bipartisan support in Congress, the bill is supported by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Niskanen Center, AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Nevada, Reno, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Colorado BioScience Association.