401 Tech Bridge partners with the U.S. Navy to accelerate technical advantage

401 Tech Bridge was the first entity to partner with the Department of the Navy’s NavalX Tech Bridge initiative, and our collaboration is now a national model for the twelve NavalX Tech Bridge sites across the country. We are the hub for  NavalX North East Tech Bridge activities, building partnerships to innovate in the Navy’s focus areas: maritime composites and textiles, undersea vehicles, sensors, and technologies.

401 Tech Bridge, a nonprofit economic development organization, serves as a super-connector, reaching deep into the Navy, small business, government, and academic communities to make connections and foster collaboration, helping the U.S. Navy expand their technical advantage and accelerating solutions to the war fighter.

Examples of our recent collaborations with the NavalX North East Tech Bridge include:

Naval Prize Challenges

401 Tech Bridge and Northeast Tech Bridge have launched a US Navy Prize Challenge: Rapid Design Tool for Advanced Manufacturing. This Challenge carries a $30,000 prize and was originally due 13 July 2021 but has since been extended until 27 July 2021 23:59 EDT.

Expanding understanding of Navy Contracting Mechanisms

Working with NavalX, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport, the Rhode Island Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) and Rhode Island Commerce, 401 Tech Bridge helps small and nontraditional businesses understand the Navy’s contracting mechanisms and learn about business opportunities. We hosted a two-part webinar to explain the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, and to review the details of Navy, Marine and Air Force SBIR releases with technical experts.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization. U.S. Government agencies and the Department of Defense are interested in working with small and non-traditional businesses.

To help companies navigate the SBIR process, 401 Tech Bridges offers access to experts to help small businesses understand the SBIR program, navigate the proposal process, and connect with potential collaborators from the primes, other companies and academia. 401 Tech Bridges provides mentoring and expertise to help businesses find commercial or dual-use applications for their technology, and partners with the Naval X Northeast Tech Bridge to offer webinars and events to introduce companies to the Navy’s R&D priorities and focus areas.

The SBIR program and STTR, a sister program to SBIR, are competitive three phase programs that fund a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses to stimulate technological innovation, meet federal R&D needs and transition R&D into commercial use. Phase I grants are typically proof-of-concept studies awarded at $150-$200k and lasting 6-9 months. Phase II grants are on the order of $1M and the period of performance is typically 2 years. By the end of Phase II, the product should be ready for sale. Phase III programs are acquisition programs.

Webinar: Session 1 – Overview of the SBIR Process and Engagement with Local Naval and Community Leaders

Webinar: Session 2 – Exploring Topics in the August SBIR Cycle

Lee Silvestre

Contact Lee Silvestre, NavalX Northeast Tech Bridge Coordinator, to discuss how 401 Tech Bridge can help.

Connecting Small Businesses to Opportunities

In 2021, we’ll host Virtual Demo Day and Tech Showcase events, where companies can present their capabilities to an audience of defense contractors who are looking for new R&D partnerships or supply chain partners.

Helping Domestic Manufacturers Remain Competitive & Grow

401 Tech Bridge connects growing companies with the services they need to remain competitive and grow, whether it’s support from Polaris MEP to improve quality systems or comply with the DFARS cybersecurity requirements; with PTAC to understand government contracts; with faculty at the University of Rhode Island and other regional universities for help developing, testing  and validating solutions; and with opportunities to find dual-use applications for technology developed with the Navy.  401 Tech Bridge increases the capabilities of the Rhode Island maritime manufacturing community, culminating in fertile ground for collaboration on Navy challenges.

Capt. Michael R. Coughlin, Commanding Officer, Naval Undersea Warfare Center and Christian Cowan, director at Polaris MEP, complete the ceremonial signing of the Partnership Intermediary Agreement for the 401 Tech Bridge Advanced Materials Center, Monday at Innovate Newport. [DAVE HANSEN PHOTO]

“The warfare centers recognize that to be successful, whether it is on a submarine, on a ship or solving a technical challenge, you need a good team. We realize that expanding the advantage means reaching out beyond our Navy partners, warfare centers and traditional defense contractors. We need our team to include small businesses and educational institutions that don’t traditionally work with the Navy.”
— Capt. Michael Coughlin, Commanding Officer, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport