Defense Media Network

Forum Is Prime Opportunity to Connect Large and Small Business

Department of the Navy’s "Forum for SBIR/STTR Transition" sets the stage.



For the past 15 years, the Department of the Navy’s “Forum for SBIR/STTR Transition” (FST) – the nation’s premier small business technology venue – takes a major step forward in allying with the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition (S-A-S) on 16-18 May 2016, at the Gaylord National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

According to Kevin Traver, who manages S-A-S for the Navy League, the purpose of having the Forum conference concurrent with the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space expo is to bring the system integrators and large contractors together with small business.

“Our collaboration with the Navy League,” says Bob Smith, the Department of the Navy (DON) SBIR/STTR Director, “marries the most significant large and small business marketplaces for defense technology, with our respective policy venues that have consistently attracted top Congressional leaders, in the case of the Forum, and the most senior Navy leadership. We expect great commercialization results from this historic alignment, and an increased capacity for delivering innovation to the Fleet and Force.”


Capt. Beth Creighton, center, and Lt. Samantha Dugan, both assigned to the Office of Naval Research Reserve component, answered questions at the joint Office of Naval Research (ONR), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) exhibit during the Navy League’s 50th Annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition, Apr. 15, 2015. ONR coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

The FST – “The Forum”– has steadily evolved as the intersection of DON acquisition needs and SBIR/STTR [Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer] solutions; and its success metric from the first Forum in 2000 has been investment in or purchase of SBIR/STTR technologies averaging $1.2 million within 18 months for more than half of the Forum participants. “I’m satisfied that DON SBIR/ STTR has been a great program,” Smith says, “but our goal is to make it even better through a new initiative that closely entwines small and large businesses with the DON acquisition community, to ensure transition of SBIR/STTR solutions to the Fleet and Force.”

More than 100 SBIR/STTR companies will be exhibiting rapidly maturing Phase II technologies at the Forum. An improved acquisition-focused curriculum in the technical assistance program for DON SBIR/STTR contractors underpins the Forum; plus an industry outreach initiative designed to help larger defense firms install a strong business model for SBIR/STTR engagement. “With a heightened level of interest in SBIR/ STTR’s ability to turn innovation into Fleet and Force capability,” Smith notes, “the 2016 Forum will be evidence that we’ve stepped up our game.”

Winter 50th annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition

Rear Adm. Mat Winter, chief of naval research, holds a press conference April 14, 2015, at the joint Office of Naval Research (ONR), Naval Research Laboratory and Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory exhibit during the Navy League’s 50th Annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition. Winter talked about various ONR technologies on display during the exposition including the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle-Innovative Naval Prototype, Low-Cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Swarming Technology Ground-Based Air Defense On-the-Move, and the ONR’s Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

The Forum’s Small Business Exhibition will feature focused SBIR/STTR technology presentations and more than 100 small businesses technology exhibits in a hall adjacent to S-A-S, open throughout the S-A-S event. Both large and small businesses, as well as Naval acquisition personnel, will have the opportunity to conduct one-on-one meetings with participating SBIR/STTR contractors. As always, the Forum will host an impressive list of keynote speakers from the policy arena.

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