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Defense grant to Ohio State facilitates small business product development

The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment has awarded Ohio State’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) $2 million to provide product development support to small businesses and startups.

CDME will introduce the DOD Supply Base Resilience and Diversification Program, which will help fund and implement projects for inventors and small companies that result in a prototype, or minimally viable product (MVP), with immediate military and commercial applications.

Nate Ames in CDME manufacturing bayCDME operates a 28,000 square-foot, ITAR compliant manufacturing facility on Ohio State's west campus“It has been shown that once a company has an MVP, it significantly improves its ability to obtain additional funding and become more sustainable in the future,” said CDME Executive Director Nate Ames. “Ohio is full of entrepreneurs with amazing ideas that in the right form would improve our national security and help protect our soldiers. This program will result in up to 21 of these ideas being developed and demonstrated to the right stakeholders at DOD.

“We’re humbled and excited to partner with the Office of Economic Adjustment to propel dual-use technology in the Ohio while having a direct impact on the state’s growth.”

Businesses will have the opportunity to submit potential solutions to receive funding for technical assistance consistent with prototyping or product development. CDME will pool new ideas, narrow down the field of candidates, and host a technology pitch day for selected companies to present their solution and articulate how their idea supports the defense mission. Projects will launch in three different rounds spanning 18 months, with approximately seven technologies chosen in each round. Upon completion, each company will demonstrate their technology to government entities to initiate continued development and funding opportunities.

The program will allow small businesses to reduce their costs for engineering and design while gaining access to more than $12 million worth of advanced manufacturing equipment and testing capabilities at CDME. Companies will also gain a network of contacts within the university and military communities.

“CDME’s technical experts will work with companies to help move their concepts towards commercial applications that are relevant to the needs of national security,” said Michael Gentil, a program manager at CDME. “By helping inventors and businesses learn the process of getting their products in front of DOD, stakeholders will increase their likelihood of becoming a dual-use supplier. 

"The goal of the program is to make companies more sustainable by reducing development costs, speeding up the innovation process, and providing access to viable market opportunities.”

Businesses and inventors interested in receiving ongoing announcements related to the DOD Supply Base Resilience and Diversification Program can opt-in to receive email updates hereSubscribers will be alerted when proposal submissions are being accepted.

Tags: College