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AirForce Innovation: What is Innovation?

The Department of Defense has the largest SBIR budget. But, their programs include innovation goals across many different components, which means there are many customers for which your small business might have solutions? Where do you start?

The Air Force has piloted innovative ways to better work with small businesses including funding through their SBIR program.  So, what is the Air Force customer seeking?

Late July, we listened to their three-day fusion event:  The Base of the Future.  Innovations will help the Air Force navigate changing environments; protect themselves from threats (cyber and other); protect the base if cut-off from logistics and resupply from the U.S.; and enhance the well-being of airmen and family wellbeing.  This translates into solutions that include:

  • Manufacturing,
  • Cybersecurity,
  • Health and health outcomes, and
  • Leveraging technologies towards improved support resources.

Interestingly, the Department of Defense and Air Force are open to existing solutions that require research to be redeployed for their purposes.  If you are a small business with a solution that works in education, agriculture or other, perhaps the technology could be SBIR funded towards a new application in the Air Force. Furthermore, the Air Force, via their AFWERX program, aim to help small businesses discover internal customers.  Up to $50,000 is available in their SBIR Phase 1 program to support customer discovery.

Take a look at some of the areas of interest highlighted in the AFWERX Showcase, and look for solutions of interest in the upcoming topics pre-release scheduled for August 25.  Finally, reach out to the CTC, Wisconsin’s free resource in navigating the $3.7 billion SBIR/STTR program.

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