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Small Businesses: Big Payoffs in New Technologies for America


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced $2.52 million in contracts to 36 small businesses to develop new technologies that will protect human health and the environment. Recipients of these awards will research issues that range from protecting the Great Lakes to homeland security to nanotechnology and more.

“President Bush understands the health and prosperity of our nation is due to the strength and ingenuity of our small businesses,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “These grants will help spur innovation from America’s small businesses so they can continue driving our economy and powering our environmental successes.”

The awards were given to businesses in 22 states under EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. SBIR was established to ensure that new technologies are developed to solve priority environmental problems. EPA is one of 12 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation in the United States.

These awards will focus on 14 key environmental areas: protecting the Great Lakes; improving air quality; monitoring metals from incinerators; developing sensors to determine whether waters are safe for swimming; finding new techniques for “green” buildings; managing mining wastes; reducing pollution from animal feeding operations; treating drinking water; managing wastewater; finding innovations in manufacturing for environmental protection; protecting the environment using nanotechnology; reducing engine and vehicle emissions; improving homeland security; and developing new methods to produce biodiesel, butanol and ethanol.

There are approximately 25 million small businesses in the United States that employ more than 50 percent of workers and develop most of the country’s new technologies. To participate in SBIR, a small business must have fewer than 500 employees, and at least 51 percent of the business must be owned by U.S. citizens.

From March 15 to May 23, 2007, EPA will again be requesting applications for the development of new environmental technologies.


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