Encountering Innovations

A program of the Kansas Small Business Development Center

      Connecting innovators with funders and support to accelerate technology commercialization

      Oklahoma SBDC, in conjunction with Kansas SBDC and other states, provides an opportunity for Oklahoma businesses to apply to pitch in closed-door sessions to government tech scouts looking for innovative products needed by the Department of Defense and other government agencies. Innovation can include new ideas, new methods, new products, new services, advanced methods, new uses for existing products, etc. The DoD Tech Scouts are highly focused on finding innovative solutions and are looking to small business innovators to fulfill those needs, no matter where they come from.

Just how big is the opportunity? $95B vs. $2.5B.

      The Small Business Innovation Research’s $2.5B is a set aside for Small Business. The DoD’s funding referenced above is for Discovery and for Testing with no set aside for Small Business. The Technology Transfer Regional Conferences and programs are providing effective technology innovation harvest programs that the DoD Tech Scouts are utilizing with no respect for the size of the company / innovator.

  •  $13B is for Science and Technology Innovation for Future technologies similar to SBIR Phase 1 programs.
  •  $82B for Assessing, Testing, Science and Prototyping; similar to SBIR Phase 2 awards.

      Nine Combatant Commands exist for The US Department of Defense, with six being identified as sectionalized regions across the globe. All the U.S. Armed Forces report to their regional Command in order to create a coordination of the Armed Forces. The remaining three

      Commands are Functional Commands, servicing the six regional Commands. Example: Transportation Command, TRANSCOM, is charged with the responsibility of coordinating all transportation for the U.S. Armed Forces.

      Here are the steps needed to be taken to help you get started with presenting and preparing your new technology for the Tech Scouts.

Step 1: Understand Needs

Read and understand each of the Combat Command Specific Needs and the Combat Command Common Needs.

Needs of each Combatant Command are located here.

Step 2: Match Your Technology to a Need

If you have a technology that you believe meets one or more of these needs, it may be advisable for you to proceed to take advantage of this opportunity.

Step 3: Asses the Technology’s Readiness

There are nine defined levels of technology readiness for deployment, from one to nine. In order to be of interest to these Technology Scouts for near-term deployment, your technology should be at or above Readiness Level 6. OKSBDC can help you assess the level of your product.

Step 4: Prepare to Apply

If you seek to apply for a pitch, you will find an EI 2019 conference application outline that will help you to prepare for the online application. OKSBDC can help you answer the questions in the Application Outline in a form that will best increase your chances of being selected to present. You must be an OKSBDC client to participate.

Applications are open as of July 8, 2019 and close July 28, 2019.

Step 5: Apply for Pitch and Poster Presentations

The application deadline for Pitch opportunities and Poster Presentation opportunities is July 28, 2019.

Pitch opportunities and Poster Presentation opportunities, where you can show your technology, describe and discuss it with Tech Scouts and, most importantly, learn what technology requirements and desires exist and how your innovation might fit.

Prepare before starting to submit an application by using the Encountering Innovations 2019 conference application preview questions so that you are ready with the information you will need.

Step 6: Register and Attend

Encountering Innovation Week 2019 occurs Monday, September 23, 2019 through Friday, September 27, 2019 in Overland Park, Kansas.


Encountering Innovation Week provides innovators the opportunity to present and showcase their technology to tech scouts and the public. In addition to many opportunities to connect with technology scouts, innovators and the public will be able to participate in 8 educational workshops throughout the week and attend the Encountering Innovation Week Poster Board Session on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.