Entrepreneurs have been launching businesses from NSIN programs since 2016. Your solution could be next.

During National Small Business Week, the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) is highlighting current opportunities for small businesses to work on national security challenges. Join one of our accelerator programs and engage with our DoD acquisition, contracting, and private-capital subject matter experts.

There are a growing number of opportunities for small businesses to work with the Department. In fact, every year, the DoD sets contracting goals for awarding prime and sub contracts to small businesses. In FY22, the DoD’s goals for small businesses are 22% of prime contracts and 32.25% for subcontracts.

NSIN connects people and small businesses who have never done business with the DoD to work on real-life national security issues with military organizations, partner with DoD lab scientists to leverage existing intellectual property, and to work with experts to acquire the skills, contacts, and funding to have their solution adopted by the DoD.

Since 2016, NSIN has supported 370 companies to enter the National Security Innovation Base and spun out 33 DoD-funded technologies. In addition, companies in NSIN programs have raised $5.5 billion in private funding and $1.1 billion in DoD funding – and counting.

Your idea or small business could be next.

Upcoming NSIN opportunities for small businesses:

  • NSIN Reality Bytes Hackathon: Registration is open for the next NSIN hackathon to develop concepts, technologies or systems to improve the ability of personnel to visualize, monitor, and respond to cybersecurity events. A prize pot of $70k is at stake. The registration deadline is May 9.
  • NSIN Propel: Early-stage ventures with commercial applications in the Mid-Atlantic region are invited to apply for this accelerator program to develop strategies for practical acquisitions, acquire knowledge and mentorship from experts. The application deadline is May 3.
  • Future Programs and Funding Opportunities: Sign up for our newsletter to be notified about NSIN programs and events for entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as government funding opportunities.
  • DoD Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Cycle is Open: The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs. The newest DoD SBIR/STTR cycle is open for business. There are 117 specific SBIR topics and 51 STTR topics in pre-release from 11 different Federal sponsors. In addition, AFWERX also re-issued the open topic for Phase 1 and direct to Phase 2 proposals for both the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Air Force end-users. For the specific topics, the pre-release period ends May 18 with proposals due June 15. For the open topics, the pre-release period also ends May 18, and the proposals are due by September 2.
  • Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Request for Information for Weapons Systems or Commercial Capabilities for Ukraine Security Assistance: Responses are due May 6 for submitting your description of a weapon, product, or system you believe could assist the Ukrainian military (<100 words).


  • NSIN Transition Cell: Explore how NSIN subject matter experts support companies with DoD adoption, contract strategies, and navigating the private capital process.
  • DoD Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP): The OSBP maximizes opportunities for small businesses to contribute to national security by providing combat power for our troops and economic power for our nation.
  • Small Business Program Goals & Performance: How much does the DoD award to small businesses each year? Learn more from the OSBP’s scorecard.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): Helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise.
  • Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs): PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, bringing to bear their knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs. Administered by the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the program provides matching funds through cooperative agreements with state and local governments and non-profit organizations for the establishment of PTACs to provide procurement assistance.
  • National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC): NSIC is a new DoD organization that enables dual-use hardware startups to advance key milestones in their product development by addressing the shortfall of private investment from trusted sources. NSIC awards Other Transaction (OT) agreements to accelerate your productization efforts.

About NSIN

The National Security Innovation Network is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation. We operate three portfolios of programs and services: National Service, Collaboration, and Acceleration. Together, these portfolios form a pipeline of activities and solutions that accelerate the pace of defense innovation.