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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) introduced S. 2023, the FAST Fix Act of 2019, legislation to level the playing field for rural states to better compete for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards. The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and John Kennedy (R-La.).

The FAST Fix Act will reform the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program to encourage federal economic development grants to be awarded to small businesses and universities in states that have historically lacked SBIR and STTR awards.

“My legislation will help small businesses and universities in underserved states like Idaho receive better access to federal funds so they can undertake more research and development and thereby create more Idaho jobs,” said Senator Risch. “This bill is a common-sense measure that will help ensure more of our federal resources are reaching rural states to provide jobs and local economic growth, rather than remaining concentrated in coastal elite states.”

“Small business drives Idaho’s economy, and installing a competition-driven grant process, with an emphasis on rural, traditionally underserved areas like Idaho, will bolster growth and investment in our state’s small businesses,” said Senator Crapo. “I am proud to co-sponsor this bill and join Idahoans in thanking Senator Risch for introducing it.”

“Nevada’s small business community is the backbone of our state’s economy, and the driving force for innovation,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation would provide Nevada, and states across the nation, with greater access to resources to promote innovation and technology, fueling our small businesses’ continued success. I will continue to support commonsense legislation that benefits our state’s business community and helps to grow our economy.”

“The FAST Partnership Program is intended to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural states expand economic opportunity, create jobs, and increase the competitiveness of our nation in the global market through partnerships with research institutions. The FAST Fix Act ensures the program serves this purpose, by prioritizing states that stand to benefit the most from this support,” said Senator Hoeven.

“The FAST Fix Act would make several important changes to the FAST grants program and application process to give small businesses in historically underserved states—like West Virginia—a better chance of receiving the federal funding they to grow and diversify the state’s economy. By doing away with the one-size-fits-all bureaucratic process, this bipartisan legislation will help SBA better fulfill its mission of serving community businesses and catalyzing economic growth,” said Senator Capito.

“The FAST program enables innovative small companies to access crucial technological development support. We appreciate this bill's overdue extension of the program,” said Dan Berglund, president and CEO of SSTI.

To learn more about the legislation, click here.

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