News | Apr 15, 2017

TechLink begins DoD-wide study of SBIR/STTR program’s economic impact

News Article Image of TechLink begins DoD-wide study of SBIR/STTR program’s economic impact

Rear Adm. David Hahn, chief of naval research, talks to Anthony Mulligan, founder and CEO of Hydronalix, about the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, a robotic device used by lifeguards for rescuing swimmers, at the Navy Forum for Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer. (Navy/John Williams)

A team of TechLink researchers assembled in October 2016 to begin a major assessment of the economic impacts of the entire Department of Defense SBIR/STTR program.

The DoD-wide economic impact study follows groundbreaking TechLink studies of the economic impacts of the Air Force and Navy SBIR/STTR programs, which showed the very large return on investment of these programs.

The prior studies were the first to reveal the impressive successes that resulted from SBIR/STTR funding. The Navy study showed that branch’s $2.3 billion investment in SBIR Phase II contracts with small businesses result in $44.3 billion in economic activity, including $14.2 billion in new product sales and $4.9 billion in tax revenue.

Congress recently used TechLink’s studies as part of program evaluations.

The SBIR program–created in 1982–is funded by a small percentage of the research budgets of 11 federal agencies. The competitive awards provide small high-tech companies with seed funding to develop technologies or products to meet agency needs.

TechLink’s market research team expanded to 15 staff by April under Ray Friesenhahn, TechLink’s SBIR program lead who directed the other studies. “It’s an astute group of professionals,” he said. “They’ve already completed interviews with several hundred companies.”

For the new study, the researchers will be contacting all companies that were awarded DoD SBIR/STTR Phase II awards between 1995 and 2012. The researchers will ask questions to determine the outcomes of those projects.

As in the previous studies, all individual company information will be kept confidential, with only aggregated financial results from thousands of participating companies reported. These results will be evaluated and summarized in collaboration with the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder and the report will be available from TechLink when completed.

Headshot Image of Ray Friesenhahn, CLP

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