BBCetc’s Michigan SBIR/STTR support program was honored to welcome Richard McNamara, NAVSEA SBIR Transition Manager, and Jonathan Leggett, NAVSEA SBIR Outreach Coordinator, to a recent DoD Proposal Prep workshop in Ann Arbor, MI. Throughout the session and during their brief about the NAVSEA SBIR program, McNamara and Leggett offered advice for applicants to consider as they pursue Phase I, II and III opportunities with organizations such as NAVSEA. Here are four useful tips from the presentation:
Keep the stated needs of your DoD client first and foremost in your proposal.
NAVSEA and other Syscoms (System Commands) have specific, well identified cross-cutting priorities where they focus their R&D spending. The specific topics in the SBIR/STTR solicitations are linked directly to those NAVSEA needs and must be evaluated by proposal reviewers as offering a high likelihood of addressing those problems to receive funding. They are always looking for products/processes that reduce risk, solve obsolescence, introduce competition and improve performance. Remember, it’s all about them.
Know your customers.
Your customers and end users will include sailors/warfighters as well as the Naval labs and technical experts. Depending on your technology, they may also include prime contractors or lower tier suppliers. Develop a flexible and appropriate business model to engage these various customers at all levels.
Keep your POC (Point of Contact) engaged throughout the project.
Your POC serves as your independent technical expert regarding the needs and requirements of your customers, as well as serving as your advocate with the government. Maintain regular contact and provide timely updates–keep the relationship active throughout the process.
Don’t forget that Phase IIs (and sequential Phase IIs) can be granted at any time after completing your original Phase I or Phase II.
Even if your Phase I or Phase II project from ANY agency did not progress beyond that Phase, DoD has begun to “reach back” and grant a regular or sequential Phase II award without time limitations. So if you’ve had a prior award (even many years ago), consider new or renewed applications as an opportunity for the procurement office to provide additional SBIR/STTR funds without further competition. This allows them to move forward with technologies that have already been at least preliminarily proven.
Becky Aistrup is a Principal Consultant with BBCetc