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Published July 02, 2020
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Kelly Haigler Cornish, Wyoming SBIR/STTR Initiative program manager, Wyoming SBDC Network
Did you know the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, the world’s first human-made satellite in 1957, led to modifications in the U.S. government’s purchase policy with the creation of what is now called Other Transaction Authority (OTA)?
In 1958, the United States passed the Space Act to create the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Additionally, the act gave NASA a new, highly flexible purchasing tool called space act agreements, which sped up the innovation cycle of much-needed products and services.
Congress followed this same model and passed a law to create OTA, allowing federal agencies to encourage the rapid implementation of emerging technologies by making purchasing decisions outside the routine procurement procedures outlined in the Federal Acquisition Regulations and other government contracting rules and laws. These purchases are called Other Transactions (OT).
While 11 federal agencies can use OTAs, the Department of Defense (DOD) is the biggest user of the OTA, spending $10 billion annually to ensure it has the most advanced technological innovations. DOD makes OT agreements to fund cutting-edge research to develop prototypes and production of products.
The goal is to emulate Silicon Valley to be more agile, innovative, fail fast and pivot when necessary to find solutions to DOD needs. Some examples of technologies in development with OTs are high-tech targeting/night vision goggles, anti-aircraft and counter-drone weapons mounted on armored vehicles, and networks to coordinate combat operations.
Additionally, OTAs encourage nontraditional organizations such as small businesses and universities to partner with prime contractors to form consortia specializing in a unique field to bid on federal opportunities. Examples of consortia include the Vertical Lift Consortium, Supply Chain Consortium Initiative, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Consortium and the Sensors, Communications and Electronics Consortium.
If you want to learn more about other transactions and OTAs, the Wyoming SBDC Network is hosting Iain Skeete and Ben McMartin, two nationally recognized experts, Thursday, July 9, for a no-cost webinar, titled “Other Transactional Authorities: Funding for Research and Prototypes.”
With more than two decades of federal contracting and OTA policy development experience, Skeete and McMartin will provide a behind-the-scenes look at how OTAs are used to capture technology solutions for the DOD, and how companies must position themselves to operate in this acquisition space. To register for this event or to learn more about OTAs, visit www.wyomingsbdc.org.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2019 alone, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 108 new businesses; create or save 3,402 jobs; and bring a capital impact of more than $24 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.