Thursday, September 27, 2007

LA Times: Bill could open door for venture capital firms

"Here we go again.

That's the concern of some small-business owners who worry that a bill scheduled for a House vote today would open a door for billion-dollar companies to benefit from federal small-business programs.

The Small Business Investment Expansion Act, which has been fast-tracked for a House vote with little debate since it popped up about 10 days ago, would allow a small firm that is majority owned by a venture capital firm or other investment company to continue to qualify for federal small-business programs.

Proponents say it's needed to ensure that small biotech and high-tech firms get the backing they need to survive their long product development time frames and produce crucial drugs and devices.

"It's really a necessity," said Steve Mento, president and chief executive of San Diego-based Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has nine employees and four venture capital investors."

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