DOD awards $2.06M to CDME to fund small business product development

Posted: May 11, 2020

Continuing its long history of successful collaboration with Ohio manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment has awarded Ohio State’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence $2.06M to offer small businesses and startups product development support.

CDME operates a 28,000 square-foot, ITAR compliant manufacturing facility on the West Campus of The Ohio State University.
CDME operates a 28,000 square-foot, ITAR compliant manufacturing facility on the West Campus of The Ohio State University.

With the investment, CDME will introduce the DOD Supply Base Resilience and Diversification Program, which aims to simultaneously increase the sustainability and resilience of Ohio’s manufacturing sector while growing the DOD supply base and advancing new technologies for the military. The program will allow CDME to not just fund, but also implement projects for inventors and small companies that result in a prototype, or minimally viable product (MVP), with immediate military and commercial applications.

“It has been shown that once a company has an MVP, it significantly improves its ability to obtain additional funding and become more sustainable in the future,” said CDME Executive Director Nate Ames. “Ohio is full of entrepreneurs with amazing ideas that in the right form would improve our national security and help protect our soldiers. This program will result in up to 21 of these ideas being developed and demonstrated to the right stakeholders at DOD.

“We’re humbled and excited to partner with OEA to propel dual-use technology in the state of Ohio while having a direct impact on the state’s growth.”

Businesses will have the opportunity to submit potential solutions to receive funding for technical assistance consistent with prototyping or product development. CDME will pool new ideas, narrow down the field of candidates, and host a technology pitch day for selected companies to present their solution and articulate how their idea supports the defense mission. Projects will be undertaken in three different rounds spanning 18 months, with approximately seven technologies chosen in each round to transition into an MVP.

CDME houses more than $12 million worth of manufacturing equipment.
CDME houses more than $12 million worth of manufacturing equipment.

At the end of each cycle, innovators will have the chance to demonstrate their technology to government entities to initiate continued development and funding opportunities.

The program will allow small businesses to reduce their costs for engineering and design while gaining access to the advanced manufacturing equipment and testing capabilities at CDME. Companies will also gain a network of contacts within the university and military communities.

“CDME’s technical experts will work with companies to help move their concepts towards commercial applications that are relevant to the needs of national security,” said Michael Gentil, a program manager at CDME. “By helping inventors and businesses learn the process of getting their products in front of DOD stakeholders will increase their likelihood of becoming a dual-use supplier.

The program will allow small businesses to cut costs for engineering and design while gaining access to equipment and testing capabilities at CDME.
The program will allow small businesses to cut costs for engineering and design while gaining access to equipment and testing capabilities at CDME.

"The goal of the program is to make companies more sustainable by reducing development costs, speeding up the innovation process, and providing access to viable market opportunities.”

Businesses and inventors interested in receiving ongoing announcements related to the DOD Supply Base Resilience and Diversification Program can opt-in to receive email updates here. Subscribers will be alerted when proposal submissions are being accepted.


About CDME

The Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence is dedicated to enhancing American competitiveness through the introduction of new technology. CDME achieves this goal with two complementary and inseparable programs targeting product and student development. Through industry-funded product development projects, undergraduate students gain hands-on, mentor-based experience integrating new technology into market-ready applications. The center operates a 28,000 square-foot, ITAR compliant manufacturing facility on the West Campus of The Ohio State University, and houses more than $12 million worth of advanced manufacturing equipment. CDME works with more than 150 national partners and has participated in over 350 applied engineering projects in the last five years advancing technical progression, economic impact, and workforce development.

About the Office of Economic Adjustment

The Office of Economic Adjustment is a Field Activity within the Department of Defense and provides technical and financial assistance to states and communities that are invested in the defense mission. OEA assistance supports the readiness and resiliency of both defense installations and defense communities, a priority for the country’s National Defense Strategy. Founded in 1961, OEA continues to assist communities across all 50 states and the U.S. territories. These communities have different economic profiles and demographic make-ups but share the goal of supporting the military mission.