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Small Business Ideas / July 27, 2021

LAKE WALES, Fla. — DARPA, the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, funds big ideas that sometimes become gigantic successes, after taking on equally gigantic risks (many projects fail). Often groups from universities or researchers get the funds. Now the little guy with a big idea can access DARPA's funding through its Commercial Performer Program, which aims to harness unfunded big ideas from small businesses and individual inventors.

"An alluring reach-out strategy, unprecedented within the DoD, " said DARPA about non-government entities that have had less than $50M in contracts with the DoD in the last year.

Called the Commercial Performer Program, and directed by DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) the original solicitation (DARPA-PA-17-0) states that:

"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) is seeking to support innovative ideas relevant both to the commercial sector and to Department of Defense (DoD) applications. This solicitation specifically invites commercial entities with non-incremental ideas to apply."

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has created a new program for the little guy called the Commercial Performer Program.
(Source: DARPA)

Non-incremental means DARPA is looking to start new programs from new ideas, so put your thinking caps on out there. If you have had an idea that you thought was too far out to fit into any of their existing categories, here is you chance to spread your wings. The application, they say, should be "no more" than 10 pages long and is described in detail in MTO’s Commercial Performer Program Announcement.

DARPA's MTO has already advanced the state-of-the-art in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), flash memory and radio frequency (RF) communications that have become the glue to our current connected society. But new ideas will be coming from a wider audience than ever, DARPA reasons, since an increasing number of people are becoming technically savvy and just need the seed money to get started (witness Kickstarter).

Vista presented to represent the fact that the U.S. government's mission already encompasses outreach to small and disadvantaged business communities, including Indian economic enterprises, small disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran-owned, service disabled veteran owned, small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones. URL: https://www.doi.gov/pmb/osdbu
(Source: DoI)

Recipients will also be able to negotiate more flexible agreements under DARPA's "Other Transactions" authority, including reporting requirements that resemble traditional venture capital agreements.

The bottom line, according to DARPA, is that you can "tap into DARPA’s innovation network and partner with a organizations that have developed some of the most consequential technologies of our times."

Source: www.eetimes.com