On February 16, the CTC hosted a quick chat (view recording) with MSgt. Coenen to provide more context towards the IG Challenge posted by CTC. Because we had to run through quickly, this Q&A post is to encourage any last-minute Wisconsin business to explore the challenge via the March 1 deadline for SBIR Ready. If you didn’t catch the live event, check out the recording.
What is a Challenge? Challenges are a Wisconsin pilot effort to help you align your core capabilities towards a military, mission-specific problem. Access to competitive DoD funding is often limited to how well you communicate your fit, which includes both technical specifications & methods to overcome integration barriers. A Challenge brings business innovators in alignment with military needs and provides a conduit to discuss strengths, barriers and approaches to integrate into the military ecosystem.
Is there an Open BAA for this SBIR? Challenges are responsive to Air Force’s Open Topics SBIR program. Unlike the traditional broad agency announcements (BAA), open topics encourage small businesses to pitch ideas against known military needs. This is a new entry-point for small businesses to engage with the Air Force market. Companies selected for the Open Topics program enter a cohort and are augmented by specific networks, programming and tools towards new funding and investment.
What is SBIR Ready? SBIR Ready is a Wisconsin accelerator and workshop supporting businesses to understand the traditional and Open Topics SBIR programs. Companies develop ideas, networks, and templates to apply for Open Topics and traditional DoD SBIR funding. Support encompasses the Challenges and guided discussions with military points of contact to develop a competitive proposal in alignment with SBIR Phase 1 and Phase 2 funding outcomes.
What are SBIR Ready demands for my time? Companies engage with CTC for four, 1.5 hour events starting March 15 ending April 5. Companies pursuing submission are enabled through additional programming via CTC networks of vetted service providers and Air Force support organizations.
What if we cannot address the Air Force Challenge: SBIR Ready supports networking with military contacts to discover a fit for your core capabilities. It is true that not every company aligns with DoD SBIR funding, but innovative companies and partnerships may continue via the Wisconsin Ideadvance program.
Does SBIR Ready guarantee Air Force funding?: No. Unfortunately participation in SBIR Ready does not guarantee that the Air National Guard will buy your product. At this stage, the focus is on innovation, not acquisition. SBIR Ready WILL provide you with core knowledge to align your solution making it a much better target for future acquisition possibilities.