A unique new military-civilian collaboration to promote aerospace innovation in Wisconsin has received a competitive federal grant.
The Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) is one of 33 organizations around the country to be awarded $125,000 by the U.S. Small Business Administration for specialized training, mentoring and technical assistance under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.
FAST seeks to improve outcomes in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs for underserved communities by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses.
CTC, which has worked since 2005 to help clients secure SBIR grants from such agencies as National Institutes for Health and the National Science Foundation, is expanding its work to connect small manufacturing and engineering firms to the growing funding opportunities at the U.S. Department of Defense.
“We’re creating a communications conduit across small businesses, the UW System and the Wisconsin Air National Guard, with potential to expand even further,” said Idella Yamben, CTC director. “We also want to engage Guard members around the state in professional development to solve real-world problems to make the military more resilient.”
“These sorts of public-private partnerships and investments are instrumental to continued innovation in aerospace and military technology,” said Brig. Gen. David May, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Air. “A culture of innovation is instrumental as the military faces complex problems on a daily basis that require us to employ advanced technology to maintain advantages over our adversaries.”
Outreach will include training from the AeroX aerospace and defense accelerator, the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison, as well as a dedicated cohort in 2022 for CTC’s SBIR Ready program.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a committed financial partner for other CTC programming, is also providing matching funds for this opportunity.
“Building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is a key initiative for WEDC, and we are fortunate to have our military as a valuable partner in achieving that goal with this program,” said Ed Javier, entrepreneurship program director for WEDC.
CTC’s previous FAST efforts resulted in a 2020 Tibbetts Award from the SBA.
“The Center for Technology Commercialization has helped so many Wisconsin businesses transform their technology into viable businesses,” said Eric Ness, district director for the SBA in Wisconsin. “These funds will boost their reach and help more businesses achieve this goal.”
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