Planck Aerosystems, a technology company that develops specialized drones, was awarded a $25,000 voucher as part of its participation in the inaugural Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) Grand Prize Pitch. Launched in 2018 to help small and mid-sized defense companies in San Diego scale, the DIV Program worked directly with 15 local defense companies throughout 2018-2019, providing strategic boot camps and business consulting services via an initial $15,000 grant to aid in strengthening and expanding company operations.
“Our local defense economy supports one in five jobs, and small businesses represent 98 percent of total companies in our region,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This is why EDC is committed to building programs that promote defense innovation and build resiliency in small and mid-sized businesses.”
Five DIV companies were chosen to participate in the DIV Grand Prize Pitch, based on their accomplishments, goals and overall involvement in the program. The finalists were EpiSci (EpiSys Science Inc.), Fuse Integration, Inc., GET Engineering Corporation, Planck Aerosystems and Trabus Technologies.
A live voting audience and a panel of judges selected Planck Aerosystems as the winner.
“Planck is thrilled to win the Grand Prize Pitch event and be a part of DIV’s first year,” said Dave Twining, COO of Planck Aerosystems. “Thanks to San Diego Regional EDC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Propel San Diego for your guidance and support through the DIV program. We’ll be using the funds to scale our marketing efforts, which we hope will generate additional sales and investment in San Diego.”
In its inaugural year, the DIV program provided two primary benefits to chosen participants. Companies selected a pre-approved contractor to assist with services including marketing, certifications needed for government work, strategic planning, accounting compliance or lean supply chain & additive manufacturing support. Additionally, participants enrolled in a six-month-long boot camp, which provided best practices and strategies on topics ranging from contract procurement to fundraising to marketing and branding.
“We are proud to support the continued innovation that is a hallmark of the San Diego defense community,” said Jennie Brooks, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. “At Booz Allen, we empower people to change the world, and DIV’s mission helps empower and strengthen the small and mid-size businesses that are bringing an incredible range of solutions to all branches of the military.”
Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, DIV is primarily funded through Propel San Diego, a grant award provided to the City of San Diego from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. Additional programmatic funding for DIV is provided by Booz Allen Hamilton, the presenting sponsor.
The DIV Grand Prize Pitch event was hosted at San Diego Central Library on Thursday, May 23, with a keynote presentation by Marisa Silva, partner at Booz Allen Hamilton.