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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the United States.
The SBA coordinates and oversees the efforts of the 11 agencies currently participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. SBA coordinates the agencies’ schedules for issuing solicitations — announcements of opportunities for small businesses to apply for awards — and provides access to these solicitations through its Web site.
As part of its oversight effort, SBA collects SBIR data from the participating agencies, aggregates the data, and uses the data to, among other things, monitor the program and report to Congress. SBA also provides guidance to participating agencies on the general conduct and operation of the program, which it periodically updates, for example, in response to changes in the program’s authorizing legislation.