Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the Missile Defense Agency recently hosted an event for small businesses to advance Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) efforts.
The SBIR program encourages scientific excellence and technological innovation by investing federal research funds in small businesses to explore ideas and their potential for commercialization.
The May 20 event involved a dozen local small businesses with active phase one or phase two SBIR contracts and featured briefings on Northrop Grumman’s air and missile defense missions, capabilities, programs and forecasted needs. Participants also engaged in “matchmaking” sessions, in which the small businesses examined how their capabilities could complement and take part in Northrop Grumman programs.
“A number of quality connections were made through the networking and brainstorming,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, integrated air and missile defense division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “We enjoyed helping the small businesses gain a broader perspective of their market space. We’re eager to expand existing and make new relationships, and the potential to incorporate niche discriminators into our current and future programs.
“To continue the momentum, we plan to host similar events on a semiannual basis in Huntsville and Colorado Springs,” added Verwiel.
Northrop Grumman’s integrated air and missile defense activities are primarily located in Huntsville and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“The technical interchange meetings have been very successful when subject matter experts have face-to-face conversations with the SBIR companies. It is the new, old way to do business,” said Christina Barnhill, SBIR commercialization and transition lead, Missile Defense Agency. “I am excited to be a part of advanced research to assist SBIR companies in transferring or commercializing SBIR end products. This is what the SBIR program was designed to accomplish.”
The Department of Defense SBIR program is divided into three phases: feasibility and proof of concept; project development to prototype; and commercialization through funding outside the SBIR program. Eligible projects must fulfill a need identified by the Defense Department and have the potential to be developed into a product or service for commercial or defense markets.
SBIR initiatives are part of Northrop Grumman’s Global Supplier Diversity Programs designed to expand subcontracting opportunities for all classes of small business concerns.