Navy strengthens defense industrial base with new small business funding opportunity

To support the national response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of the Navy (DoN) must leverage and sustain its research-and-development industrial base–and attract new small business partners.

The Navy and Marine Corps are doing so by harnessing the DoN’s agile Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs–both located at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The programs announced today $30 million in rapid-funding opportunities through a new Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), which is a request for scientific or research proposals. The BAA can be viewed at

“During this national emergency, the Naval Research Enterprise must engage all activities to ensure we accomplish our current workload, make sure vital naval partners survive current economic conditions, and bring in new partners,” said DoN SBIR/STTR Director Bob Smith. “I’m proud the DoN SBIR/STTR programs are taking bold steps to maintain the defense industrial base through accelerated funding awards.”

The new BAA, titled DoN SBIR FY20.4, will close on May 28. It seeks proposals from innovative small businesses and startups for high-impact, scalable technologies that address both naval requirements and the needs of the commercial market. Areas of interest to the Navy and Marine Corps include:

  • Modernization and sustainment (maintenance and repair of military assets)
  • Digital logistics (security, analysis, management and flow of digital information and data)
  • Deployable manufacturability (rapid, on-demand manufacturing of deployable systems supporting diverse payloads and missions)
  • Resilient communications (expanded communications capabilities for fast, coordinated response during a global crisis)

BAA FY20.4 is just one facet of a broader DoN SBIR/STTR effort to sustain the defense industrial base during the COVID-19 response, by awarding more than $250 million in funding over the next 90 days.

SBIR provides the Navy and Marine Corps with innovative advances in technology created by small businesses–while STTR transitions products developed by both small businesses and research institutions.

Navy SBIR/STTR and NavalX

In addition to promoting BAAs like FY20.4, the DoN SBIR/STTR programs also look to strengthen new approaches, like serving as technology enablers for the Naval Expeditions (NavalX) Agility Office–created by the Hon. James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.

NavalX gives Sailors, Marines and DoN civilians tools to put good ideas into action. This enables naval organizations like ONR and SBIR/STTR to better connect warfighters with experts and small businesses.

SBIR/STTR also provides expertise at NavalX’s multiple Tech Bridge locations nationwide.

A partnership between ONR, NavalX, the Navy’s Technology Transfer Program Office, and all naval systems commands, Tech Bridges are regional innovation hubs where warfare centers, government, academia and industry can team up and work together on technology research, evaluation and commercialization–as well as economic and workforce development.


Learn more about the DoN SBIR/STTR programs and BAA FY20.4 at


Things aren’t looking great…

At first glance the SBIR funding rates for woman, HUBZone* (our shorthand for companies located in low-income areas), and minority founders looks pretty grim with funding rates in the low single digits

Getting below the headline…

After talking to reps from the funding teams it sounds like the percent of applications from woman, HUBZone, and minority owned businesses is also extremely low so the chances of winning if you are a woman, HUBZone, or minority founder are actually pretty good

Where the truth lies…

Sadly we don’t have access to data on the companies that applied and lost so we don’t know the truth, but we thought this could help prospective SBIR applicants make an informed decision.

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The Neutrino Donut and LARTA – Seminar – Market Research and Consumer Landscape


Thursday, April 30, 2020 9:00AM PT | 12:00PM ET

Our goal is to help companies understand their markets, distribution and partnership opportunities, develop an understanding of strengths and weaknesses and allow the company to target their efforts toward the appropriate customers.  Market research is about defining your market and identifying individual players in the market. The competitive landscape includes direct and indirect competitors, as well as “doing nothing.” They key to a successful market entry process is the identification of specific companies and individuals for contacts. Competition is about challenging the market against the companies’ strengths and their weaknesses. We will focus on an understanding of the value and distribution models.  


About the Speaker
Earle Hager

Managing Partner,
The Neutrino Donut, LLC

Earle Hager is a thought leader with an understanding of commercialization processes in the evaluation of technologies and businesses. He has completed multiple technology assessments and business development projects in innovative technologies over the last ten years for domestic and international clients.  Project clients include grant reviews for DoE, DoD, NIH, NSF, and other agencies as well as US and foreign universities. Earle is also a member of the grant review panels with NIH and DoD.        

Larta’s mission and passion is to energize the transformation of technology ideas into solutions that elevate economic opportunities and make lives better for people around the world.  


Larta Institute – Los Angeles

The Neutrino Donut, LLC, Los Angeles and Austin