Are you Thinking Like a Small Business or a Research Program?

The Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) hosted BBC etc for a special training on accessing the Department of Defense (DoD) funding. Of the $3.7 billion federal SBIR/STTR program, the DoD is pushing close to $2 billion in funding to this program.  However, Wisconsin lags behind other states in accessing these critical PRODUCT development funds.

If you missed this webinar, BBC walked through important strategies to network, compete and leverage this funding for product and company development.  Check out the CTC micro-grant program if you are interested in working with BBC on future SBIR projects.

What strikes me about the opportunity with DoD funding is not the money, but the opportunity to think like a small business vs. a research program.  Jerry, our trainer, highlighted that the SBIR program is fundamentally a product development program; not a research funding program. While you may be doing research, your focus is on DEVELOPMENT.  Having an operational AND technical mindset positions your business to write competitive proposals for DoD and other agencies. Highlights from today’s webinar include:

Operational Readiness:

  • Do you have a strategy to work with research partners? This includes IP policy, consulting arrangements, conflict of interest policies, and practices to communicate with others outside your business.
  • Do you have the necessary certifications and regulations completed including cybersecurity protocols?
  • Do you have an appropriate team including technical, customer discovery, IP & regulatory, fundraising and management & administration?

Technical Readiness:

  • Do you have a customer in mind for product development?
  • Are you meeting the goals to deliver value?
  • Do you have quantifiable goals relevant to product innovation?
  • Are your tasks reasonable to help you meet objectives AND build trust with program officers?
  • Do you have contingency plans to be successful?

Accessing DoD and SBIR funding is complicated with numerous rules and options.  However, your mindset for how to use this funding can help your small business not just compete in SBIR, but also be ready for follow-on funding, strategic partnerships and customer acquisition. Contact CTC, check out our quick chats series, get Tips from Todd and the CTC crew, and look at our funded programs to help you get started!  It’s never too early to chat with CTC.