CORONA, Calif. - In its next round of Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funding, the Navy will accept proposals from innovative startups and small businesses beginning June 3.

The 20.2 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) details millions of dollars in available funding for businesses that can provide innovative solutions responsive to any of 55 Navy-specific topics while meeting unmet market demands.

Pre-release for 20.2 opened May 6 and is ongoing until proposal acceptance begins. The latest announcement introduces new opportunities beyond those offered in the previous 20.4 announcement, which closes May 28.

“This funding opportunity can really be an injection of capital to the Inland Empire’s local technology-based economic development efforts,” said Jennifer Stewart, NSWC Corona technology transfer and SBIR manager. “Our region is rich with resources for entrepreneurs to grow their skills and abilities and increase their capacity for successful innovation. I encourage small businesses to take advantage of these resources and explore new ways of strengthening their businesses.

“The goals of the program are to stimulate tech innovation, increase small business participation, foster participation by disadvantaged firms and increase private sector commercialization of technical research and development,” Stewart said in an SBIR webinar for the Corona Chamber.

“The Navy’s SBIR topics are really getting down to the nitty-gritty of providing very specific solutions so our Sailors and Marines can execute their missions. It’s a great opportunity for startups and small businesses to propose solutions," Stewart said.

The SBIR program was established by Congress in 1982 to strengthen the role of innovative small businesses in federally funded research and development. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, SBIR funding can also be a valuable tool for businesses struggling to stay afloat or forced to rethink business models.

“I like to think of SBIR topics not only as an opportunity for small businesses to offer solutions within the tech space they operate, but for some, it can be an opportunity to reimagine their business and evolve their offerings,” Stewart said. “Maybe with the pandemic, your business is suffering, but how could you pivot your resources to a new customer, in a new direction?

"SBIR can help you open the door for that new customer. Even in times of adversity, there are resources we have, and sometimes we can deploy them differently.”

Southern California’s Inland Empire region has resources to assist startups and small businesses in applying for all SBIR opportunities and can assist with submitting proposals for Navy SBIR 20.2. The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), within the Riverside Community College District (RCCD) Office of Economic Development, and the Small Business Development Center hosted by University of California, Riverside, offer a variety of services to support SBIR proposal submissions.

“All of our services are free, and we serve people from Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” said Julie Padilla, director of the RCCD PTAC. “We can assist you with understanding the program, but also with completing the basic requirements according to guidelines and responding to the announcements. We can assist you with the entire process.”

The Navy announced NSWC Corona would anchor the new Inland Empire Tech Bridge May 12 as it doubled the size of the NavalX network. The designation is the next step in the command’s strategic engagement with leading academic research institutions, world-class industry partners, renowned federal laboratories and state organizations.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona, headquartered in Norco, California, is the Navy's premier independent analysis and assessment agent, using measurement, analysis and assessment to enable our warfighters to train, fight and win. The center analyzes warfare systems readiness and performance, engineers the Fleet’s Live Virtual Constructive training network and environment, and advises and administratively manages the Navy and Marine Corps metrology and calibration program.

Capt. Khary Hembree-Bey commands the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity with a workforce of more than 3,700 scientists, engineers, contractors and support staff.

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