What Does the Stimulus Package Mean for Start-ups?
It has been an intense week, with some great news mixed in with all the less than great bits. Let’s walk you through how the US government is boosting the economy to fight the business impact of Corona.
It's Official, $2.2 Trillion in Aid on the Way
History is in the making, as a $2.2 Trillion bill was passed by the Senate on Wednesday, approved by the House, and signed by the president on Friday- in an effort to confront the COVID-19 crisis and provide economic relief for federal agencies and the private sector.
$10.4B Emergency Fund Set to be Passed
Congress approved $9.4 billion to assist the Department of Defense to effectively cope with the effects of COVID-19. On top of that fund, there is an additional $1 billion that may become available shortly thereafter — bringing the entire package to just around $10.4 billion. This includes:
$1.5B for the Defense Working Capital Fund — a DoD fund for depot maintenance, transportation, and supply management.
Funding for the armed forces:
$160 million to the Army
$360 million to the Navy
$90 million to the Marines
$155 million to the Air Force
$828 million for defense wide funds
Making it Easier to Work with Agencies
Although the market has slowed and investors are hesitating, the US government is doing everything they can to enable small businesses to continue to work with them. This includes:
Opening new opportunities
Allowing for telework
Lowering performance thresholds
Sticking to their very large commitment of $161.5B for R&D in 2020
There are 2 reasons that Federal R&D funding MUST go on:
1. Answer the call to boost the economy.
The purpose of R&D grants from federal agencies has always been about stimulating the private sector for both business and innovation. This is not going to cease in the face of a pandemic, disaster, or recession.
2. Turning to the private sector to answer agency threats and challenges.
Just last week there was an attempted cyber security attack at the WHO which shows that hackers don’t believe in time-out. The agencies need to continue to invest in next-gen cyber. AI arms race with China also doesn’t get a time-out. The needs for data processing, edge computing, pushing the envelope on quantum, robotics, advanced materials…the world is not on time-out and so the US gov’t can’t be either.
$350 Billion in Aid to Small Businesses
As part of a new mega bill to help the US economy thrive despite the impact of COVID-19, the U.S. Senate is prioritizing small business affected by the pandemic. The relief includes close to $350B in funding for small businesses and will provide $500B in loans and assistance to big companies, states and cities.
The aid made available for small businesses is part of a greater effort to continue to recruit and retain federal agency collaborations with small businesses. This includes non-dilutive funding programs.
Business as usual for R&D Funding:
While the private market is in flux, despite facing similar challenges, it’s business as usual at federal agencies for investments in private sector R&D. The agencies are stepping up their game and publishing funding opportunities at an alarming rate. Here are a few examples:
· The Department of Energy is putting tons of money into R&D over the last few weeks.
· Air Force: Despite having to change their conference to a virtual event, Will Roper, from the Air Force’s innovation and fast funding program, AFWERX, said:
o “we pivoted from a months-planned, multi-day small business tech event to an online virtual one. With less than 72 hours to pivot, the AFVentures team hosted over 5,000 people from across the U.S. in a single-day Virtual Collider and Pitch Bowl, keeping our Air and Space Force commitment to small businesses and tech startups.”
o The event marked “the single largest small business award in government history, nearly $1B. This is the new normal of what we can achieve!”
· NASA SBIR extends it’s deadline by a month to encourage more companies to apply. There are over 24 topics covering a wide range of technologies, ranging from Artificial Intelligence to Cyber Security to Sensors and many more.
COVID-19 Centric Programs
In addition, the federal agencies are just starting to roll out COVID-19 programs, such as the Air Force’s “Unite and Fight” effort. Each agency is bringing a unique angle to fight the fight. Our focus at Eagle Point Funding is non-Life Science technologies, so we are only highlighting funding opportunities outside of key life-science developments.
For non-medical projects, take a look at some of the programs that have been opened in the last few days:
Air Force launches the “Unite and Fight” program to combat COVID-19 with a RFI (request for information) to get instant feedback on solutions available both to stop the virus and to thrive during the pandemic.
Air Force releases an out-of-cycle SBIR with focus on COVID-19.
Army Applications Lab, DARPA, FEMA, and others are seeking innovative developments that assist the non-medical aspects of fighting the virus.
Why is the Federal Government Helping so Much?
The federal R&D programs have always been there to supplement the private sector and encourage growth and innovation. On top of this, the Agencies are committed to leading the charge against COVID-19’s impact on the private sector. And more than anything, the agencies, and most of all the DoD, cannot afford to abandon the pursuit of new technologies. The US must stay ahead of the curb by pushing the envelope on key technologies being developed within her borders AND technologies that offer a competitive advantage for the Agencies to function 110%.
We’re opening up direct lines of communications for anyone with questions on how the new budget add-ons may be able to help your business at this time.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE ANTICIPATED FUNDING DEVELOPMENTS!