Celebrating Small Business Week

It’s National Small Business Week, and NASA salutes the innovative partners who have contributed so much to our mission.

The dedicated and mission-focused work of our small business partners has been essential to our missions, and I’m especially proud of NASA’s work with them. Due to the hard work of everyone in the agency, NASA exceeded our Small Business Goal for fiscal year 2011.

NASA was only 1 of 3 of the “BIG 7” federal agencies — the ones that together spend approximately 90% of small-business-eligible dollars — that exceeded its Small Business goals.

Approximately $2.5 billion in prime contracts were awarded directly to small businesses – and that’s up about $75 million from the previous year.

Our large Prime Contractors awarded approximately $2 billion in additional subcontracts to Small Businesses in fiscal year 2011.

When you add that all up, NASA awarded approximately $4.5 billion to Small Businesses in fiscal year 2011.

This clearly shows how committed we are to the small business community and how important they are to our success.

These partnerships fuel innovation and economic development. Our Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, for instance, help facilitate innovative research and technology development among America’s most creative small businesses. The awards serve as seed funds for transformative research and technology projects that have the potential to mature new products and services of great benefit to NASA and the nation

Small business represents the best of the American spirit of innovation — the drive to solve problems and create capabilities that has led us to the moon, to great observatories, and to humans living and working in space, possibly indefinitely. Small businesses and entrepreneurs employ half of America’s workers, and create two out of every three new jobs. They’re an essential part of our economic engine, and they also are an essential part of President Obama’s vision for NASA, which drives us to focus again on the big picture of exploration and the crucial research and development that will be required for us to move beyond low Earth orbit.

For more information about NASA’s Small Business Programs, visit: