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Last Update: Monday September 27, 2021

Put your problem-solving abilities on booster rockets!

Put Your Products In Orbit

Huntsville, Alabama:  Small Business Innovation Research is partially responsible for the success of the International Space Station (ISS). Today, we visit with one small business, AZ Technology; they are responsible for much of the signage on the ISS.  One of his most innovative projects is the development of interfaces to machines on board that can now be operated remotely from the Earth by school children with Internet access.

It is just incredible. Flash Gordon. Buck Rogers. Star Trek.  You're all history!  We are all about to get beamed up!

We go to the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to document the path by which small business is playing an ever greater role in commercializing what was once top secret research. We meet Don Wilkes. He is a scientist who started a business to build machines that no one else would. The year - 1989. He founded AZ Technology. Don was quick to capitalize on a program that leverages our government's basic research to develop commercial products. It is called Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the program is administered by ten federal agencies.

These agencies annually grant more than $1 billion to small businesses, mostly through the DOD & NASA.

Don was quickly successful in finding SBIRs that he could propose and successfully complete. But take note, Don is an inventor. He is a perfectionist. He embraces the art of the impossible.  He makes the strange familiar and  finds solutions to daunting problems.  His products have been used on the US Space Shuttle missions and even on the Russian MIR Space Station.

NASA awarded over 20 SBIR contracts to AZ Technology. As a result of these contracts,  business opportunities followed.

Their trek to the International Space Station began in 1996 when AZ Technology, now over 20 people, won a Phase I SBIR contract from the Johnson Space Center in Houston to develop software systems for the "remote payloads teleoperations system." In the Phase I contract they developed and proved the concept in principle. In Phase II, they did it. They showed how people could control and monitor experiments in space no matter where they were on earth.

Go to all the Key Ideas and Videos for this episode...

Every crisis should stimulate our imagination, creativity, and motivation.

Invent solutions.  Entrepreneurs do not wait for somebody else to do it. They just do it themselves. They take on the big challenges and are not afraid that others will think they are stupid or crazy. It is so much easier to say, "That's impossible" or "That can't be done."

So what are you waiting for? Do you have that special genius?*

The energy crisis? Think about harnessing energy in new ways. Breakthroughs will come.
Clean water crisis? Create pure water from the a simple bonding of hydrogen and oxygen.
Clean air crisis? Work on the first two and this one gets mitigated along the way!
Garbage crisis. Evolve recycling and sanitary landfills as Ecology Mountains for work and play.
Open-space crisis. Create wide connectors over superhighways for wildlife and nature trails.
Global warming. We will do all of the above and global warming will be a thing of the past.
Fanaticism. Grasp a deeper insight into the foundations of religions and the sciences then become an ambassador to the nations. Fanatics, severely limited intellectually, can be redeemed.

There will be more about each of these crises within the section of the website that talks about going from $0 to over $1 Billion in less than a lifetime. More...

Chase after your dreams! Make the world a better place!

An entrepreneur always has these four options in life:

Andy Wilson, founder, Boston Duck Tours, Boston, Massachusetts Start a Business

Andy Wilson had a dream. Yet he had a job and made good money. But, he was not satisfied; he wanted to do more. He jumped ship to start Boston Duck Tours and literally changed history. He says, "Quit your job."
» Partner with an expert
» Find money to match your dream
» All the Key Ideas and video of this episode
Key Question: How do I get started in business?

Shiv Krishnan

Grow a Business

Meet Shiv Krishnan from India and now in Virginia. He started his business from his spare bedroom and today he has over 500 employees. He says:
» Be willing to start small
» Find and depend on mentors
» All the Key Ideas and video from this episode

Key Question: How do I start a business?


Buy a Business
You can always buy a franchise! Here you meet Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne's Pretzels. They now have over 900 stores in the USA and many countries. She says, "Find an angel."  Go to all the Key Ideas & Video.
Key Question: How do I buy a business?

Sell a Business
Don't let your dream turn into a nightmare! Do you feel trapped by the business you created? Hattie interviews many different business owners and reflects on what it means to sell your business and then reinvent yourself!
Key Question: How do I find buyers for my business?

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