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Dr. Alison Brown, CEO of Navsys Corporation and a resident of Salida, will be testifying on Capitol Hill this week, before the Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development. The session, titled “SBA Programs Spurring Innovation,” is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST (8:30 a.m. MST) on Thursday, Sept. 19, in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The focus of the hearing will be an examination of how SBA’s programs, such as the Small Business Innovation Research Program, (SBIR), the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR), and other growth accelerators create jobs.

The hearing topic: ways government assistance for small businesses encourages entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses to continue to innovate, breaking new product ground and creating jobs.

Brown’s testimony will include her experience leading a small business focused on United States weapons programs.

“NAVSYS has been developing innovative positioning, navigation and timing solutions for the government and private sector since 1986. Much of our success has been from the technology we developed with funding through the SBIR program,” said Brown. “As an example, an early device we developed for use on Air Force radiosondes through an SBIR contract transitioned into the first emergency cell phone location system, deployed in Colorado in 1995 ….this unit, LocaterNET, is now on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the LocaterNET system was instrumental in establishing the FCC-mandated E-911 standards that are in place today, which have resulted in the saving of countless lives.

“We have been able to bring innovations to the warfighter and field these solutions rapidly because of the Phase III contracting authority granted through the SBIR program. We are the only small business which has received the prestigious AFEI Excellence in Enterprise Integration Award …for our Talon NAMATH system, developed under a Phase III contract,” added Brown. “Working with Air Force Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) and our industry partner Boeing, we fielded a networked solution to improve the precision of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guided weapons in less than a year, enhancing warfighter operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

History has shown that large companies, which tend to be risk-adverse, are less likely than small and start-up companies to focus on innovation. Unlike large corporations, significant product innovation has occurred in small and start-up companies, which are often willing to take more risks.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, small businesses have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years. Prompting former President Barack Obama to dub small business the “backbone of our economy.”

To view a live stream of the Capitol Hill hearing, Ark Valley Voice readers can click here once the hearing is underway on Thursday.

Editor’s note: Alison Brown is an investor in Ark Valley Voice.