What’s SBIR mean for ME?

Sen. Olympia Snowe today put out a release applauding the Senate approval of reauthorization for the Small Business Innovation Research program.

The SBIR reauthorization is an amendment to the yet-to-be-approved National Defense Authorization Act for 2012. The reauthorization, according to a release from Snowe’s office, was initially approved 18-1 in the Senate’s Small Business Committee, where Snowe is the ranking Republican.

“Continuing these programs will mean more high-paying jobs for families in Maine and elsewhere. Small businesses are our nation’s job generators, employing more than half of all private sector employees and creating 64 percent of the net new jobs over the past 15 years. They also represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms,” Snowe said in the release.  “(SBIR) program participants have produced more than 85,000 patents and have generated millions of well-paying jobs across all 50 states.”

So how much has the SBIR program helped out Snowe’s constituency in Maine, where small business is king?

Well, that’s actually pretty easy to find out.

The SBIR program’s website is pretty cool, and provides a lot of information about who got what, when, and where. The latest year that provides data is 2010, with 6,943 awards nationwide totaling $2.3 billion. If you click on the 2010 bar in the bar chart, you get a list of ALL the awards, and can download that into a spreadsheet and sort the data out. In Maine, in 2010, there were 20 awards totaling about $5.5 million.

Dating back to 1983, there have been 413 awards to Maine companies, totaling $92 million. Not surprisingly, innovation powerhouse Massachusetts had the highest total awards in the region, at $4.3 billion over the years. If you check out the pie chart breaking down the state shares, only California has a bigger piece of the SBIR pie. (Mmmmmm, SBIR Pie…..)

Regionally, New Hampshire had $369 million, Vermont $86 million, Rhode Island $103 million and Connecticut $532 million. (You mouse over each state to get the latest data)

If you click on a state, (like, say, Maine) you can download the data into a spreadsheet, and sort it however you’d like. The Maine companies go from A to Z, from Aerohydro Inc. in Southwest Harbor (a 1991 award for $43,000 for “Lofting and Fabrication of Compound-Curved Plates) to Zeomatrix LLC in Orono (a 2010 award for $503,000 for “Highly Ordered Membranes for Molecular Separation.”

There’s a number of familiar names on the list, from North Monmouth’s Tex Tech to Biddeford’s Fiber Materials Inc., to Ocean Renewable Power Co. and ImmuCell, both in Portland.