Federal Research:

Small Business Innovation Research Participants Give Program High Marks

RCED-87-161BR: Published: Jul 27, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 1987.


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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on firms participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, focusing on: (1) the characteristics of SBIR recipient firms; (2) the effects of SBIR on firms' operations and products; and (3) firms' perceptions of program administration.

GAO found that: (1) firms less than 8 years old undertook more than 50 percent of the projects it sampled, and firms less than 3 years old undertook almost 25 percent of the projects; (2) firms of 25 or fewer employees undertook almost 60 percent of the projects; (3) firms with annual gross revenues of under $1 million undertook over 50 percent of the projects, and firms with revenues of under $100,000 undertook 18 percent of the projects; and (4) first-time federal contractors undertook 43 percent of the projects. GAO also found that: (1) firms generally hired more personnel as a result of their SBIR participation; (2) SBIR funded projects that might otherwise have gone unfunded; (3) SBIR work helped firms to improve their other products; (4) most program participants were generally satisfied with program administration and indicated that the paperwork burden was comparable to that of other federal research programs; and (5) some participants expressed dissatisfaction over funding gaps between project awards, but federal agencies were taking action to reduce or eliminate the gaps.

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