Innovation Industry Days event to educate small businesses, academia

  • Published
  • By Tim Tresslar
Small businesses, academics and government officials involved in emerging technologies will gather Jan. 24-26, 2023, at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas for Innovation Industry Days, a networking and educational event sponsored by AFWERX and the Air Force Installation Mission Support Center, or AFIMSC.
This three-day event, which is open to the public, will offer training sessions on navigating the Department of the Air Force, or DAF, innovation ecosystem and interacting with technology developers, academic institutions, government acquisition professionals and private investors. 
“Doing business with the federal government can be challenging, especially for nontraditional companies that don’t have a lot of experience working with the federal government,” said Garrett Custons, AFWERX Spark deputy division chief and event organizer. “This event will give people a chance to learn more about DAF priorities and processes and give industry direct access to DAF end users to discuss their pain points, making them more comfortable doing business with the government/military.” 
During the event, government presenters will provide overviews of contracting, finance and acquisition as well as offer information on major commands and program executive offices, which play a key role in research and development funding decisions and acquisition of critical technologies. 
DAF officials will also explain such funding sources as the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, or SBIR/STTR, programs and the Strategic Funding Increase/Tactical Funding Increase, or STRATFI/TACFI, programs.
Featured speakers and panel members from AFWERX, National Security Innovation Network, Defense Innovation Unit and Air Force Gaming will also provide training. Topics and programs will include AFVentures, SBIR/STTR, Defense Ventures Fellowships, AFWERX Refinery, DAF data science efforts and the National Security Innovation Network.
Attendees from industry and academia will also have a chance to engage with government officials, where they can discuss technologies and DAF problem areas for potential use case discovery. Additionally, government partners will be available in both main and breakout sessions, highlighting successes, failures, lessons learned and paths taken to implement projects.
“A collaborative event of this nature nourishes the innovation ecosystem exponentially,” said Pitman Kennedy, program manager, AFIMSC Innovation. “Whenever industry experts collide with academia and government professionals, the innovation needle moves forward. We are excited to unveil new mission capabilities, share success stories on current projects and expand the networking repository. Our team here at AFIMSC is extremely excited to partner with AFWERX in bolstering innovation,” Kennedy said.
The event will also provide attendees from government and industry with an opportunity to hear directly from DAF senior leaders and more than 100 experts from throughout the innovation ecosystem.
For more information and to register for the event, click here:
About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit:    
AFWERX is an Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate that connects innovators across government, industry and academia. Through innovation and collaboration with our nation’s top subject-matter experts, AFWERX harnesses the power of ingenuity of internal talent while expanding technology, talent and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability. Additional information is available at: