Small Businesses Sought for Space Accelerator Program - National Defense Magazine

Small Businesses Sought for Space Accelerator Program - National Defense Magazine

Small Businesses Sought for Space Accelerator Program - National Defense Magazine

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 05:15 AM PDT

Image: iStock

The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate is reaching out to small businesses to explore space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies.

The service is looking for companies that can fill technology gaps by working alongside the Catalyst Space Accelerator program, which is a public-private partnership. KiMar Gartman, director of the accelerator, said the research lab is interested in systems such as space-based sensors that can discriminate between different objects.

The organization offers a 12-week program that connects businesses with the military and subject matter experts in areas such as finance and law, she noted. This helps companies determine if their technologies would be able to meet the needs of potential customers, she noted. The program will culminate in a demonstration day for vendors to show their products to investors, such as the other military services.

"It just helps them to get an idea of whether or not their technology is relevant to the problem statement — those commercially and in the DoD," she said. "We try to bring in the Army, the Navy [and] other Air Force units that would have interest in the technology."

The goal is to have eight companies participate in the upcoming accelerator, which is scheduled for September, Gartman said. The next demonstration day is slated for November. The events are held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is "one of the hubs of space," Gartman said.

"We're able to bring in all of these potential customers from the [military] bases and ... [other] entities that are located right in the Colorado Springs area," she said.

Connections made through the program could potentially result in federal grants, contracts or other transaction authority agreements, she noted.

"These companies can start applying for those [small business innovation research grants] and there seems to be more interest because they've gone through an accelerator," she said.

Past event topics have included positioning, navigation and timing, and resilient commercial space communication, she noted. For the upcoming accelerator, the program will exclude ground-based technologies.

"We figured if we included ground-based, we're going to get a lot of the same companies that we had in the last two," she said. "[We] felt it would just be too broad of a swipe.

They were wanting to narrow it down a little bit."

Candidates for the program are recruited through sources such as social media, websites and conferences, she noted. 

Topics: Space

River chamber lands business tech grant - Sonoma West

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 10:48 AM PDT

Grant funds to improve business tech tools

The Russian River Chamber of Commerce has won a USDA grant that will help river area small-business owners and employees become more tech savvy, the chamber announced last week.

"We're going to be rolling out a program which is all about building the capacity and the capability of the small businesses throughout this region," said Elise VanDyne, the River Chamber's former executive director.

"The USDA was really interested in helping us uplift the technical capabilities specifically of our small businesses," said VanDyne, who is now the new district field representative for Fifth District County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, but is also helping the chamber find and train a successor.

"We're going to be buying five really great high-powered laptops" installed with business tech software such as Creative Suite, QuickBooks and Office and other tech capabilities necessary "to be successful as a small business," said VanDyne. "We're going to have one-on-one mentorships; we're going to have training so people can come in and become really great at QuickBooks and really great and effective at Creative Suite and be able to up their marketing game."

The rural business development grant funds, totaling more than $70,000 in USDA money and matching grants from Kaiser Permanente and Sonoma County Community Investment support, will also provide river chamber members with "shared marketing services for all of you, who as we know, are working so hard to keep your businesses going," VanDyne told attendees at a chamber mixer last week at the reopened Rio Nido Roadhouse that was hard hit by February's disastrous Russian River flood.

"We're also building marketing tools you can use. We're going to have some social media, a photo library and a video library so you'll have really high-class, high-resolution professional materials that you can use in marketing your business," said VanDyne.

The computers and programs will be available to members through the chamber's Guerneville office on First Street, said VanDyne.

The grant funding means the chamber can "uplift what we have and the capacity of all the different small businesses so that we can all be better together at marketing and bringing people in and running our businesses more effectively," VanDyne told chamber members at the mixer.

"These are all things that our small businesses have been asking for," said VanDyne.

The river chamber now has 236 members, said VanDyne, who was hired as the chamber's executive director last year and is now helping out to find the next executive director. The search is under way and applicants have started to respond, said VanDyne, who plans to work with the new chamber director to facilitate a smooth transition.

"We've gotten some good resumes," said VanDyne on Monday, "but we're not doing interviews yet."

In the interim VanDyne "will be dedicating significant time each week towards helping hire and train a successor," said a chamber announcement of VanDyne's departure.

VanDyne will also continue "to support chamber programs and projects through this transition."


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