Have you heard of the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)? How about the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)? If you said no on either count, then you may want to find out if you qualify.
Both programs are administrated by the Small Business Association and are funded through portions of budgets from several government bodies, including the Departments of Defense, Commerce and Energy, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation.
The SBIR and STTR were established to provide small businesses with the financial incentive to conduct R&D that they couldn’t otherwise afford. To participate in these highly competitive programs, shops and manufacturing businesses must meet preliminary qualifications (they must be American-owned and independently operated; must be for-profit; the principal researcher need not be employed by small business; and the company size is limited to 500 employees). There are other criteria for non-profit entities.
Both programs can provide as much as $850,000 over a 2 1/2-year period. Accepted participants also have access to a myriad of technical resources and support. For more information, visit www.sba.gov/sbir/indexsbir-sttr.html.
British Metalworking Site
We just stumbled upon this site, and thought it was worth a mention. MWP Online (www.mwponline.com) is the extension of Metalworking Production magazine in the United Kingdom. While many of the site’s features are distinctively British, the collection of technical articles (MWP calls them case studies) are worth a bookmark. There are “production zones” for grinding, tooling, CAD/CAM, and other machining disciplines and topics.
Is Your Business A Lean, Mean, Chip-Slinging Machine?
The Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) is a not-for-profit enterprise that looks to enable small- and medium-sized manufacturers to become more competitive. Like many of its brethren scattered across the United States, MAMTC (located in Kansas) provides help mostly to companies in its region. However, if you’re interested in lean, 5S and other disciplines and techniques, then this Web site deserves a bookmark. The MAMTC Lean Enterprise section (www.mamtc.com/lean/) offers a nice collection of data related to lean manufacturing and many of its subsets, including kanban, visual controls, value stream mapping and others. There are also FAQ and descriptions of other companies and their own lean experiences.
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