Saying the proposal will help boost entrepreneurship and innovation, this week, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., helped get a bill expanding participation in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) through the U.S. House.
Last month, Webster joined U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Tex., Dan Lipinksi, D-Ill., and Frank Lucas, R-Ok., and U.S. Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Todd Young, R-Ind., in unveiling the “Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act” which will increase “participation in the successful National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program and provides additional training for innovators to learn how to turn their research into new products and businesses.” Lipinksi is the chief sponsor of the bill in the House.
On Monday night, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill on a 385-18 vote. All of the opposition came from the GOP including Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Greg Steube and Ted Yoho while 28 members did not vote including Florida Democrat U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel and Al Lawson and Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Francis Rooney.
The bill “expands the eligible pool of applicants for the I-Corps program, allowing the participation of aspiring entrepreneurs who have already demonstrated their merit by being awarded Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer grants from a federal agency.”
“We know small-businesses are the backbone of our economy and our chief job creators,” said Webster after the vote. “With the assistance of this course, the next creative mind is better equipped to open a small business and achieve success.”
“I’m pleased my colleagues and I were able to get this important bill through the House with bipartisan support,” said Lipinski. “Increasing the accessibility of I-Corps is something I’ve long supported because it allows us to ensure the money we invest in research and development will spur job growth and boost our return on investment. This bill has been endorsed by a wide range of technology, venture capital, and academic stakeholders, and we’re optimistic it will become law.”
Since being launched in 2012 to link scientists, tech experts and engineers with the business communities and entrepreneurs, the I-Corps has trained more than 1,300 teams and helped launch almost 650 startups around the nation, bringing in more than $300 million in funding.