David Shahady, director of the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, told SpaceNews in an interview published Thursday about the SBIR program and some of the changes to the initiative.
“The financial and the contracting community have knocked down lots of barriers, everything from shortened contracts to paying with a government credit card to giving people their initial money upfront,” Shahady said. “For the companies getting awards, we’re depositing $50,000 off a credit card in their bank account right here, today. … They’re now working on our dime instead of their own, which is the proposition that we want to see.”
Shahady talked about the service’s Space Pitch Day and the three SBIR phases. He said the first phase deals with the development of a concept. Phase two focuses on prototype development and demonstration, while the third phase is the “graduation” from the SBIR program and involves the practice of matching funds or co-investing.
He said the Air Force allows companies to get matching funding from various sources under the third phase of the SBIR program. “If they can find outside money from state and local governments, other services, venture capital investors, large primes or even commercial sales, those are all great propositions because all of those things build up the industrial base. That’s a huge part of competing in a global market,” Shahady added.