Crane to Bridge Navy to Entrepreneurs

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NSWC Crane is located within Naval Support Activity Crane, one of the largest naval bases in the U.S. NSWC Crane is located within Naval Support Activity Crane, one of the largest naval bases in the U.S.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division has been designated as one of five national tech bridges, a new initiative of regional hubs, to connect the resources of the U.S. Navy with small businesses and entrepreneurs. Often hidden behind the secured gates of the naval laboratory at Crane, this effort will allow for collaborative partnerships with small companies or academics who may not usually have such access.

"It really makes it an opportunity for folks who may not have engaged with the government before in a contractual way to actually make it into our system a little bit easier," explained Monica Hutchins, director of the Midwest Tech Bridge to our partners at WTHI-TV.

Hutchins says this new endeavor meets a part of NSWC’s mission to accelerate the development and transition of technology to Department of Defense end users. The Navy Tech Bridges will partner with start-ups, academia, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and private capital.

“These five spaces will lower barriers that traditionally hamper external collaboration,” said James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. “I envision these as the first five, of a great number of tech bridges, to enable the Department of the Navy to achieve its goal of agility at scale.”

Geurts says the tech hubs are part of the U.S. Navy’s new Naval Expeditions Agility Office, or NavalX.  That office is looking for better ways to innovate and develop the technology.

“Creating a gathering spot, kind of a combustion chamber for innovation, idea, thought,” said Geurts. 

In addition to Crane, the other Navy tech bridges will be in Orlando, San Diego, Newport, Rhode Island, and Keyport, Washington.

Hutchins told our partners at WTHI-TV that Midwest Tech Bridge will open two facilities off base that will allow for workshops. "Having an outpost outside of the base fence-line. To be able to have a location that industry, small businesses, entrepreneurs, folks in academia can actually come to easily. Be able to meet with us."

Hutchins says the tech bridge will also give organizations or entrepreneurs a chance to seek financial backing through federal grants.

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