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

July 28, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) re-introduced the Small Business Innovation Voucher Act with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), bipartisan legislation that would establish an innovation voucher program at the Small Business Administration (SBA). This would allow small businesses to partner with institutions of higher learning or research labs for resources so that they can better compete for federal granting funding on research and development and commercialization of new technologies. 

American innovation is increasingly reliant on complex, scientific knowledge. Federal funding now supports approximately 30% of all new U.S. patents each year, with the number of patents that rely on federally-supported research nearly doubling in the last decade. However, the vast majority of patents are in the hands of the largest firms, decreasing business dynamism and preventing small businesses from capitalizing on innovation opportunities. 

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

"Small businesses are some of our leading innovators, helping create solutions to common problems," Rep. Burchett said. "This legislation would help small businesses partner with education and research institutions to introduce new technologies to the free market."

“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. 

“Colorado BioScience Association applauds the reintroduction 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. 

This bipartisan legislation would authorize $10 million per year for five years to establish an innovation voucher program at the SBA. In evaluating applications for grants under the program, the SBA would be directed to 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 would 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.