NASA has awarded $50 million in funding to hundreds of small businesses. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected small businesses and research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration.
The awards are being managed by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The program provides early-stage funding to start-ups, as well as access to a network of diverse entrepreneurs and innovators. It also gives small businesses the chance to work with NASA programs and other government agencies. The scheme is designed to help participants hone business skills to complement technical skills.
The investments extend over 39 states and Washington. NASA will select from 333 proposals put forward by 257 small businesses and 41 research institutions.
The technology being selected for the awards span diverse areas, including space technology, human exploration and science and aeronautics.
Innovative Solutions for Space Exploration
NASA investments in small businesses and research play a key part in providing the innovation required for the agency’s development of commercial space and technology sectors.
Pam Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator spoke of what the Administration the vital role small businesses and research institutions play in maintaining NASA’s leading position in space exploration.
“NASA is working on ambitious, ground-breaking missions that require innovative solutions from a variety of sources – especially our small businesses.
“Small businesses have the creative edge and expertise needed to help our agency solve our common and complex challenges, and they are crucial to maintaining NASA’s leadership in space. The SBIR program is one of the key ways we do that as well as creating jobs in a growing, sustainable space economy,” Melroy continued.
Each proposal team will receive $150,000 to determine the feasibility and merit of their innovations.
Value of Partnerships for Small Business Growth
NASA’s investment program highlights the significant role small businesses play in driving innovation. It also underscores the importance of partnerships and for small businesses to find the right resources, funding, advice, and support to sustain growth.
As Gynelle Steele, Deputy Program Executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program comments: “Finding and building a diverse community of entrepreneurs is a central part of our program’s outreach, and the efforts to reach them can start even before Phase I.”
The selected proposals for Phase I will receive fundings on their technical merit and commercial potential. Dependent on their progress during Phase I, small businesses and research institutions may submit proposals for $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop a prototype.
Almost 25% of the businesses selected for the program are women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged, and /or HUBzone small businesses. HUBZone businesses are part of the HUBZone program designed to fuel small business growth in historically underutilized business zones with a goal of awarding at least 3% of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified businesses each year.
In selecting proposals from minority-owned small businesses, the NASA investment program emphasizes the importance of minority-owned businesses and how organisations continue to support them.
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Source : SmallBizTrends