RALEIGH, N.C. — August 1, 2022 — On Monday, June 27, 2022, at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, Emil Runge, program director, First Flight Venture Center, Fiona Baxter, associate executive director, NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Michael Mullins, director, NC State University IES North Carolina Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (NCDIDI), welcomed the pilot cohort of entrepreneurs to graduate from the Propeller Pre-Accelerator Program and the program consortium actively engaged in the North Carolina Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (NC DMCSP).
Propeller is a six-week entrepreneurial design thinking program that helps founders and entrepreneurs determine whether there is sufficient value to pursue a product or service idea. The program helps entrepreneurs identify potential markets, develop a path to market strategy, and learn how to communicate the value of the idea to early stakeholders and adopters. Propeller serves as a first-step program for early-stage science and technology innovators by helping them bridge the gap between a brilliant idea and the business value it represents.
In 2021, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) awarded North Carolina State University IES a grant under the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (DMCSP). The DMCSP is designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of the defense manufacturing industrial ecosystem. The program was created to recognize communities that demonstrate best practices in attracting and expanding defense manufacturing by bringing together key local stakeholders and using long-term planning that integrates targeted public and private investments across a community’s entire defense industrial ecosystem.
The purpose of the NC DMCSP grant is to support innovation in advanced textiles and wearables for the survivability, performance and lethality of the warfighter. The DMCSP team built a state-wide industrial production ecosystem that involves collaboration with 20 entities across the state focused on innovation in five key areas: manufacturing and modernization, ideation and product development entrepreneurship and commercialization, workforce development and defense manufacturing advocacy and outreach.
NC DMCSP partners include:
The June 27 event provided insight from two of the DMCSP Innovation groups. Dominick Stephenson, Assistant Director, Research Development & Evaluation, NC State University IES explained the processes of the Manufacturing Innovation Group and Steve McManus, Innovation Advisor, RTI International, and Emil Runge, Program Director, First Flight Venture Center provided an overview of the Product Innovation Group. Manufacturing USA Institute representatives from Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) and Manufacturing x Digital (MxD) explained their roles in the DMCSP initiative. The event also provided an opportunity for the six companies who are currently in the DMCSP ecosystem to showcase their advanced textiles and wearables projects. Following the product showcase, a small reception was held at First Flight Venture Center Center.
The six companies that participated in the 2022 NC DMCSP showcase included:
The Southwest Piedmont region of North Carolina produces 45 percent of the goods for the U.S. textile industry. Therefore, NC DMCSP is currently focused on identifying manufacturers and entrepreneurs located in six counties in North Carolina (Iredell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Rowan and Montgomery) that are interested in participating in the 2023 program.
The Southwest Piedmont Region in North Carolina, N.C., DMCSP is seeking:
Contact Michael Mullins, Director of Defense Industry Initiatives, NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) at firstname.lastname@example.org.