The Senate Small Business Committee voted March 14 to advance two bipartisan bills written by Sen. Chris Coons.

The Support Startup Businesses Act (S. 2419), authored by Sens. Coons, D-Delaware, and Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, would allow awardees of federal research and development grants to use a portion of that funding to create a startup business. The Microloan Modernization Act of 2017 (S. 526), authored by Sens. Coons and Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, would strengthen the SBA Microloan program by allowing microloan intermediates to make more affordable loans to eligible small businesses.

“It’s true that Congress is divided, and compromise between the parties has become more elusive, but Delawareans sent me to the Senate to work across the aisle and get things done for our economy, and today, we’re taking an important step forward on two, bipartisan bills that will do just that,” said Coons. “The bills I’ve authored with my Republican colleagues, Sens. Gardner and Fischer, are common sense efforts to help businesses grow in their critical early stages and help businesses across the country get the capital they need to expand and succeed”

Specifically, the Support Startup Businesses Act authorizes Small Business Innovation Research program awardees to allocate up to $50,000 of their awards for activities that are critical to building businesses, including services such as market validation, intellectual property protection, market research and business model development. Currently, the SBIR program offers very limited financial support to awardees for commercialization activities.

Read more about the Support Startup Businesses Act at bit.ly/2FVSDqk.

The Microloan Modernization Act increases the maximum amount of loans outstanding to a microloan intermediary from $5 million to $6 million. It also requires SBA to write a report on intermediary participation in the program and requires GAO to write a report on oversight of the program.