The Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) hosted an in-person and virtual seminar on the SBIR program February 9, from 9am-1pm ET, in the conference room of our office building in DC, as well as on zoom.
The first two panels featured industry SBIR experts representing some of the most successful SBIR winning firms. These experienced SBIR winners offered advice on best practices for winning SBIR Phase 2 and Phase 3 awards. They also answered questions and responded to comments from zoom participants. Below are some of the broader points made during the discussions:
Phase 2 discussion points
- No company wins every Phase 2 – Even good proposals lose often
- Have Phase 2 in mind when working on Phase 1 proposal
- Work closely with TPOC and PMs on what they need
- Have a credible strategy for how to transition/commercialize lined up in proposal
- A detailed Work Plan is everything in a good Phase 2 – not just what you do, but how you do it
- Have to show that your company is capable of performing the work
Phase 3 discussion points
- Should begin thinking about Phase 3 even before applying for Phase 1
- Focus on not just technology, but building business for customer base who wants it
- Shouldn’t even apply for Phase 1 if technology is not part of your business
- Get to know your customer, know what primes or PMs need early
- Customers who have SBIR money don’t always have additional money for Phase 3 – Need to cast a broad net and cultivate as many customers and interested parties as you can
- Agencies can award Phase 3 even if they didn’t award initial Phase 1 or 2
GSA’s Jim Ghiloni, Rodney Couick, and SBIR Executive Director Jere Glover
The next panel featured representatives from the GSA. SBIR Program Advisor Rodney Couick touted the success of GSA’s Assisted Acquisition program, which has facilitated and contracted for nearly $10 billion worth of SBIR phase 3 funding since 2018. He promised faster contracting and greater growth as GSA continues to staff up and meet the overwhelming need from agencies and small businesses for GSA’s contracting expertise and resources.
Jim Ghiloni discussed a brand new initiative from GSA called “IDIQ Labs”, which would create a government-wide contracting vehicle that would function like the GSA Schedule program, in that it would always be open to companies that finish phase two of an SBIR contract and have a technology they are ready to sell. Those companies would then submit a proposal to get a spot on the vehicle, then market that technology to government agencies. The initiative is still awaiting approval, but has the potential to be a major game changer for SBIR firms looking to get their technologies across the valley of death. He encouraged those interested in this initiative to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click the links below to view the two presentations from GSA:
Next up was our Keynote Speaker, Under Secretary of Defense for R&E Dr. Heidi Shyu. Her recorded remarks touched on a number of new initiatives in the R&E directorate, including the new Office of Strategic Capital, which will identify gaps in investment that limit DOD’s access to critical technologies, and partner with private capital markets to fill those gaps. The OSC will partner with SBA to focus on highly innovative small businesses, and SBIR/STTR winning firms should factor heavily in its scope.
Follow the link below to read Dr. Shyu’s keynote speech to our membership on February 9:
The final panel featured SBIR Program Managers from Army, Air Force, Navy, and DOD. The panelists spoke about the changes to the SBIR law and how their offices plan on coming into compliance with the new provisions, as well as initatives to streamline and speed up the awarding and contracting process. They also answered questions and responded to concerns from members regarding administration of the DOD agency SBIR/STTR programs. Follow the link below to view DOD SBIR Program Manager Susan Celis’ presentation:
SBTC is thankful to all our speakers and participants for their time for helping us put on a productive and successful event. Below is the full agenda and list of speakers.
SBTC 2023 SBIR Seminar Agenda
9:00am – Industry Panel on winning Phase 2s
- Charles Cohen, Cybernet Systems Corporation
- Vincent Harrand, CFD Research
- Mike Dingus, TRI Austin, Inc.
9:45am – Industry Panel on winning Phase 3s
- Ron Shroder, Frontier Technology Inc
- Jay Rozzi, Creare
- Ken Mahmud, Triton Systems
10:30am – GSA SBIR Assisted Acquisition Brief
- Rodney Couick, GSA SBIR Program Advisor
- Jim Ghiloni, GSA Innovation Sector IDIQ Labs Group Manager
11:30am – Keynote Speaker
- The Hon. Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for R&E
12:00pm-End – SBIR PM Panel Discussion
- Matt Willis, Director of Army Applied SBIR/STTR programs
- Bob Smith, Director, Navy SBIR/STTR programs
- Susan Celis, Director, DOD SBIR/STTR Program Office
- James ‘Sass’ Bieryla, Deputy Director, AFWERX