Army Holds Cash Prize Contest for Small Business Tech.

Author:Lee, Connie

The Army is looking to attract new technology ideas from small businesses by holding a contest with cash prizes.

Through the Army Expeditionary Technology Search program, the service invited companies to pitch systems that match its operational needs. Proposals ranged from tracking devices to portable pathogen-detection technologies, specialized material coatings and post-silicon semiconductors.

"We recognize that these technologies are critical, but we need to make sure there are ways that they can be integrated within our Army systems so we can get them into the hands of the warfighter," Matt Willis, director of laboratory management in the office of the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said in a March announcement of the top 10 finalists. "Through this competition, we've lowered barriers and expanded opportunities for nontraditional partners to do business with the Army."

The selected vendors each received $120,000 before moving on to compete for the final prize of $250,000. An event to choose prize winners is slated for October at the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., according to a news release.

By holding the contest, the service hopes to gain insight into industry advancements that can potentially help soldiers, Willis said.

"The intrinsic value of this program includes many non-monetary benefits, including direct engagement with Army stakeholders...

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