Developing experiences to do business with the DoD.


Propel-EDI is an iteration within the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Propel program designed to source talented companies from economically challenged areas across the country to meet the objectives of NSIN’s U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) partners. The Propel-EDI Cohort seeks to match problem-holders within the DoD with non-traditional commercial solution providers and align potential government funding opportunities.

Specifically, NSIN is looking to partner with small, non-traditional companies located in Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zones, Opportunity Zones, or low-income states*.

*Please reference the Small Business Administration (SBA) Hubzone Map.


For the upcoming cohort, NSIN has partnered with the U.S. Air Force Spark Cells (Spark Cells) – recognized as innovation thought leaders within the DoD. These Spark Cells have identified multiple challenges that provide key foundational elements for next-generation DoD operations, including those that support flight operations in austere environments and autonomous operations on military bases. The specific problems the Spark Cells seek to solve in this Cohort include:

  • Synthetic Personnel Training - Tactical Emergency Response – technologies capable of increasing the quality and volume of training for personnel involved in responding to tactical emergencies, including, but not limited to, active shooter threats. Technologies of interest include artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for training.
  • Synthetic Personnel Training - technologies that can assist units in simulating and responding to disaster scenarios. Technologies must include the ability to train incident commanders, search and rescue responders, and personnel responding in hazardous environments. Technologies of interest include AI and AR/VR for training.
  • Digital Aircraft Part Rendering for Reproduction - technologies that can create and interact with digital renderings of out-of-production aircraft parts through various means, including, but not limited to, 3D scanning, AR/VR, photogrammetry, and reverse engineering and/or technologies that can produce usable reproductions of these parts based on digital renderings to sustain long-term maintenance of aging aircraft and support equipment.


NSIN is looking to partner with small, non-traditional companies located in HUB Zones, Opportunity Zones, or low-income states to help solve part or all of the Spark Cells problems (noted in the prior section). The DoD and NSIN believe there is untapped potential in non-traditional companies across the country. By working together to explore and understand our technical challenges, we can build the best technology and tools needed to support our warfighters.

Apply by March 28, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT

Apply to be a part of the Propel-EDI cohort. As part of the cohort, we ask representatives from your company to commit to attend virtual programming for an eight-week period. This virtual time will include interactions with government stakeholders, including problem-holders and end-users, as well as time spent with the Propel-EDI team to develop and refine your concept. Your company will be expected to develop a brief to inform the government of your proposed concept. Finally, your company will work with the Propel-EDI team to help answer questions as you prepare relevant documents for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) submissions. Applicants should be located in HUB Zones, Opportunity Zones, or low-income states for consideration for this opportunity.

Apply for NSIN Propel-EDI by clicking on link below to complete the application on the SmartSheet platform. The application will take less than 30 minutes to complete.

Apply Now

If you experience accessibility issues or the submission form is unavailable on your browser, please email to request an email problem submission form.

Timing and Commitment

The Propel-EDI Cohort is from April 10 to Jun. 2, 2023. Your company will participate in approximately 10-15 hours of programming per week during this time.

During the Cohort, the Propel-EDI team will support your company in developing your Direct to Phase II SBIR submission for the AFWERX Open Topic due May 4, 2023.


Please direct any questions to