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Reps. Houlahan And Balderson Introduce Legislation To Spark Job Creation And Innovation

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Troy Balderson (R-OH) re-introduced legislation to help entrepreneurs during this crisis access federal capital to create new businesses and job opportunities in communities across the country. This bipartisan legislation would enhance commercialization services for federally funded research and development. The Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act would support American innovators by expediting SBIR/STTR application processes, improving technical and business assistance and making small businesses eligible for fast-tracked U.S. Patent Office services.

“If we’re only talking about getting people back to work, we’re missing the point,” said Houlahan. “We need to be talking about creating new jobs as well. Our economy is continuing to evolve, and as we work to rebuild from the devastation caused by the pandemic, we need to be fostering innovation and job creation at every turn. As a former engineer and entrepreneur, I know the problems our small businesses and entrepreneurs face in normal times and that those problems have multiplied tenfold during this pandemic. We need to be doing everything in our capacity to support our talented entrepreneurs in translating their innovative ideas into marketable products and cutting-edge technology – too many endeavors fail because they lack access to capital or face IP protection challenges. Pennsylvania is home to a number of successful startups, which began with an idea and have turned into small businesses, creating jobs on Main Street and products Americans use every day. I’m proud to work with Representative Balderson on this bipartisan legislation that will help jumpstart job creation and support our entrepreneurs and small business owners. We cannot wait.”

“Innovators are playing a key role in not only developing new technologies, but in rebuilding America’s economy,” said Balderson. “At this critical moment, the RAMP for Innovators Act will ensure those lacking critical resources to bring good ideas to market have these needs met.”

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology (STTR) programs, often called America’s Seed Fund, are two of the premier federal programs for fostering innovation in the U.S. Coordinated by the Small Business Administration, the SBIR and STTR programs include 11 federal agencies that competitively fund small U.S. businesses to meet federal research and development needs. For many of these U.S. businesses, translating investments into marketable products and services remains a challenge. This bill builds on the success of the SBIR and STTR programs to further increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federally funded R&D. 

The Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act would:

  • Improve the SBIR/STTR application peer review process to include commercialization potential in addition to scientific and technical merit
  • Increase the speed at which Federal Agencies make SBIR and STTR awards
  • Designate a new Technology Commercialization Official in each Agency to help SBIR awardees commercialize
  • Improve the flexibility of technical and business assistance for SBIR/STTR awardees
  • Establish an annual commercialization impact assessment at each agency to monitor the program’s successes
  • Develop an interagency agreement between SBA and the U.S. Patent Office to help SBIR/STTR companies with intellectual property protection

Full text of the Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act can be found here.


Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee.