Companies often shut out from government contracts are accessing resources in NSIN Propel-EDI to extend economic and technology opportunities in new locations for the DoD.

Small businesses in often overlooked locations for defense opportunities are expanding economic development efforts and spurring new technologies for dual-use, commercial and military markets in the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Propel-Economic Development Initiative (EDI) program.

Propel-EDI engages untapped potential for the Department of Defense (DoD) in companies across the country where most small businesses have not gained knowledge of defense opportunities. In the cohort, five companies located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones and Opportunity Zones will develop skills to do business with the DoD by exploring new ways of solving technical challenges for Air Force Spark Cells.

The selected small businesses have commercial solutions for the military. Participating in NSIN Propel-EDI makes it easy for them to work with organizations like the Air Force by matching government funding opportunities with their companies to build the tools and technologies needed to support warfighters.

Over the next two months, the companies are working to solve two challenges to next-generation DoD operations: supporting flight operations in austere environments and operating autonomous technologies on military bases.

Problem: Mobile Instrument Landing System
Air Force Partner: Shogun Sparkcell, Kadena Air Force Base
Mission: Small businesses will develop a mobile instrument landing system to support airfields and landing zones anywhere, anytime, and in any weather. However, the technology must also enable small teams to operate, communicate, and navigate with energy independence during operations in austere environments.

Problem: Robotics and Automation Solutions
Air Force Partner: Raiderwerx Sparkcell, Ellsworth Air Force Base
Mission: Small businesses will develop autonomous solutions supporting machine-driven operations of existing military base security solutions, facility operations, and military maintenance functions. However, solutions must leverage innovative power sources and sensors to solve threats, weather, and other events affecting the control of autonomous technologies on base.


  • HEBI Robotics
    Pittsburgh, Penn.
    HEBI Robotics produces an agile platform for robotics development, working to put robot development in the hands of users. HEBI’s platform is especially effective for creating lightweight and easily deployable robots with low power requirements. HEBI components enable tools such as robotic arms to be quickly built, integrated with additional sensors, and combined with other robots

  • Analytical AI
    Birmingham, Ala.
    Analytical AI develops agile algorithms to integrate software for companies. Analytical’s artificial intelligence can augment human screeners by rapidly triaging images and integrating information from multiple sensors and image types. In addition, Analytical technology detects and prevents security breaches such as unauthorized entry and unauthorized removals of technology.

  • IoTAI, Inc.
    Fremont, Calif.
    IoTAI provides sensor technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning processes for commercial solutions. IoTAI’s sensors, analytic networks, radios, and geospatial technology can help develop solutions for critical Internet of Things (IoT) and power capabilities during endeavors on the edge.

  • Sagetech Avionics Inc.
    Bingen, Wash.
    Sagetech Avionics, Inc. develops and manufactures low size, weight, and power (SWaP) solutions for airspace situational awareness and combat identification. With experience and technology in aerospace, Sagetech can rapidly create new solutions for the Air Force because the team understands the air domain.

  • Tomahawk Robotics
    Melbourne, Fla.
    Tomahawk Robotics provides a modular robotic control solution for unmanned systems to operate in all combat environments. Tomahawk’s software can integrate across joint-DoD systems and accommodate most emerging autonomous platforms.

Propel-EDI companies will interact with government stakeholders, problem sponsors, and end-users during the cohort to learn more about the problems and discuss solution concepts. The ventures will engage with experts from NSIN, DoD mission partners, and delivery service partner, ACME General Corp., who will guide their solutions to meet DoD needs, help adjust their strategies to overcome the burdensome DoD acquisition process, and provide resources to the cohort for additional funding and programs to support DoD ventures.

The cohort demonstrates their technology concepts for potential DoD partners and submits their solutions for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award at the conclusion of Propel-EDI, and selected companies will receive $5,000 to continue developing their solution with the DoD.

“The NSIN economic development initiative will help engage businesses traditionally shut out of DoD problem solving and help deliver the best technology and tools to our warfighters,” said Nina Archie, NSIN Propel-EDI program manager.

Contact for more information about the companies and DoD mission partners in NSIN Propel-EDI or to learn more about NSIN’s efforts in HUBZones and Opportunity Zones.

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.