3 Reasons Why the Midwest Will Excel in American Defense Innovation

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Midwest universities and defense partners are working together to improve innovation. Outstanding schools in the region have access to exceptional learning opportunities. The educational infrastructure supports innovation, engineering and entrepreneurship students through fascinating interactions with national laboratories and defense technologies. Direct interactions with innovative inventors and cutting-edge inventions can help students to be excited about dual-use innovations.

1. To develop national security solutions, we need to keep talent from the Midwest.

More than fifty students from Midwestern universities took part in the NSIN X Force Fellowships to be placed in labs such as the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC), Crane, Indiana. Many schools also have faculty that consult with Department of Defense customers in order to establish new partnerships with institutions that benefit from research funding. Washington University receives $500,000 annually through the National Security Academic Accelerator 2 (NSA2) to help develop dual-use medtech startups with defense applications. This financial support allows faculty researchers to concentrate on advancing technology, not the distraction of writing grant proposals.

The Midwest is hot for dual-use technologies that are both commercially and defense-related. With the announcement of the National Science Foundation I-Corps Great Lakes hub selection, momentum is building in investment in innovation ecosystems. This renowned program offers mentorship and entrepreneurial training for STEM academics. It is led by the University of Michigan. The Midwest is home to universities from Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana as well as Illinois, Missouri, Missouri, Missouri, and Iowa.

Although the Heartland does not have any coasts, it has excellent research institutions, deep talent pool of STEM professionals with high-educated backgrounds, and entrepreneurs who are eager to make a difference in the world. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency saw the benefits of the Midwest, and built a $1.7B western headquarters near St. Louis. This will make the region a leader in geospatial technology for decades to follow.

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2. 2. Entrepreneurial support organisations are integrating defense technology into the startup scene

The success of unicorn companies arising from the Heartland in the past has attracted investor attention. This momentum is expanding across the Midwest. Entrepreneurial and patriotic make it fun to create defense-funded innovations and help advance America's interests.

My startup, which I co-founded, has already benefited by dual-use technology excitement. It was awarded the GeoSeed grant by the National Security Innovation Network and the Technology Entrepreneur Center (T-REX), St. Louis, Missouri. T-REX houses the first national geospatial innovation centre and Moonshot Labs. Capital Innovators and the National Geospatial Agency Accelerator (NGA) have invested $100,000 in sixteen geospatial startups. The Midwest offers a more attractive alternative to moving to the east coast for entrepreneurs. They have access to funding and support to help them develop deep-tech dual-use ventures. This has been evident by many entrepreneurs across the country.

Similar: Hacking for Defense

3. Future is inclusive and collaborative innovation

St. Louis has sparked interest in inclusive innovation, and excitement for equitable entrepreneurial opportunities across the Heartland. St. Louis has more female entrepreneurs than any other American city. This dedication to diversity is driving the startup scene to grow faster than ever. It allows all founders to be welcomed to bring the best talent, teams, and startups to the region. The Midwest still has untapped human resources. This is especially true in the national security area, where the Heartland has traditionally underperformed when compared to other areas.

The best way to help the region is to create an innovative infrastructure that allows for quick development and implementation of solutions to security problems. As entrepreneurs and national laboratories develop dual-use technologies, the future looks bright for American defense innovation. The level of interest in defense tech is at an all time high because it combines business, academic, and government research with substantial funding.

Entrepreneurship is available to anyone in America who has a great idea, and is passionate about pursuing it. It doesn't matter where their business is located. By extending the runway for startups, the Midwest helps them reach escape velocity and soar. This is the beginning of a new era for innovators and entrepreneurs who call the Midwest home.

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