RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – A new report produced by RTI International recommends that North Carolina utilize “networking and collaboration” as well as other means to bring more Department of Defense business to the state.
Specific recommendations include:
Networking and collaboration
a. Provide opportunities and venues for the local innovation ecosystem in each of the technology areas to engage with the DoD and national security customers to identify opportunities to transition research out of academic labs to the government and commercial sectors.
b. Host “innovation days” to showcase North Carolina’s nontraditional and entrepreneurial companies to both the DoD and venture capital funders.
c. Proactively connect teams of researchers, startups, and companies to DoD end users within each technology cluster area using human-centered design to spur new innovation and provide opportunities for North Carolina organizations to better understand defense customer operating cultures and needs.
d. Provide mentoring and peer-to-peer interactions and functional integration between the varied practitioners and stakeholders, both within and across the cluster areas, giving non-defense companies the opportunity to learn from and partner with prime contractors.
The report also suggests “Contracting Assistance”
a. Raise companies’ awareness of existing resources and training to help them navigate proposal writing, accounting, and contracting requirements.
b. Build a directory of service providers with DoD contracting experience.
c. Partner primes with DoD experience with companies new to DoD contracts as part of
the DoD Mentor Protégé program.
And the state move to remove “barriers to entry:”
a. Promote certifications in ISO 9001, AS 9100, International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), and NIST 800-171 to strengthen companies’ ability to conduct DoD business.
b. Assign one coordinating organization to manage third-party service providers in certifications and training to make it easier for companies to navigate the complexities of DoD contracting.
c. Incentivize companies to consider entering the DoD market by educating them about revenue opportunities and access to Small Business Innovation Research nondilutive capital and to consider creative tax incentives for capital equipment or revenue from
Further, leaders should encourage “agency outreach:”
a. Develop marketing materials for North Carolina’s value proposition in the six technology areas and communicate that information to DoD funders and prime contractors.
b. Recruit a major DoD acquisition, rapid innovation office, or best practices work cells to the region to increase visibility of North Carolina’s innovation capability and attract high-tech and high-performing companies to North Carolina.
c. Position North Carolina to be home of a new national technology center in one of the six technology areas, such as quantum for data and knowledge management, emerging biotechnology for national security for human performance, or a ground vehicles center of excellence for advanced manufacturing.