Small Business Guide to Direct Defense

The ability for small manufacturers and other modest sized service organization to break through the veil which shielded them from participation with the U.S. Department of Defense and other national security agencies has been penetrated. The Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative (DeVenCI) has developed a program that helps managers within these agencies bypass the usual larger defense contractor and deal directly with small scale enterprises to seek new rapidly deployable technologies. Under the direction of Bob Pohanka, DeVenCI matches defense manager who have problems they need solving with small companies that can offer solutions.

DeVenCI sponsors events several times a year in the Washington, DC area where the small companies get the opportunity to pitch their technologies and wares to an audience of defense agency manager in the hope that a match will occur. To stay on top of which companies and what specialized technologies are available, Pohanka enlist the aid of volunteer venture capitalist across the country. The venture capitalists are provided extensive briefing on the Department of Defense and national security agencies needs. Armed with this information, they network to locate the relevant companies and invite them to a DeVenCI sponsored event.

If a match is made the selected firm is invited to working group meetings to learn more about the potential government buyers needs and is provided with information to help them customize their offer to fit the agencies needs. Once a firm has been accepted, the potential to talk with other defense agency managers also becomes available.

According to Pohanka, DeVenCI initially focused only on the Information Technology needs of the defense agency managers but has since expanded to include offerings from small business involved in biotechnology, sensors, energy, electronics, space, and nanotechnology. Smaller organizations have the ability to quickly adapt to defense agencies needs and make changes without extensive internal reorganization, massive re-engineering, and on a lower budget. This makes small business defense contractors the perfect solution for small level projects which were once assigned to the big company defense contractors.

If you are a small enterprise that is involved in goods or services which may benefit DeVenCI’s defense manager’s needs, but are not on any of the list within the volunteer venture capitalist network, there is still an opportunity for you to get invited to a DeVenCI event. You can submit your company information directly to them at their web site. Go to and complete their information form online. The ability to become a national defense contractor just got easier.

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