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Lawmakers vote to bolster Alabama’s innovation economy

Last week, a bill made its way through Congress which will enable states to continue small business grant programs designed to spur growth in innovation.

In a statement, State Finance Director and Innovate Alabama Chair Bill Poole said the grant program’s reauthorization would allow for the “advancement of our already growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The bill, which passed both chambers and now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature, reauthorizes the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant programs for three years.

The grant programs are part of a concerted national effort aimed at helping entrepreneurs with proven technology and business models commercialize their product.

U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) supported the bill’s passage in the upper chamber.

In the House, U.S. Reps. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), Mike Rogers (R-Saks), Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville), Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) voted in favor of the legislation.

RELATED: Innovate Alabama awards $4.5M-plus in small business grants to 30 companies

“Innovate Alabama applauds those members of Alabama’s Congressional delegation who supported the reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Tech Transfer (STTR) grant programs,” said Poole. “As a direct result of the SBIR and STTR programs, Innovate Alabama was able to award more than $4.5 million in matching state funds to 30 local businesses in August through the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program.

“This initiative will continue to provide capital to the entrepreneurs of our state, allowing for the advancement of our already growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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