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Last Update: Friday December 15, 2017

Go Global. Just get out of town! Get out of the country!

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...

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From Lincoln, Nebraska to Lagos, Nigeria, from San Antonio to Singapore...

by Bruce Camber.  How many nations do you have represented in your family?  How about if you were to go back to just before Mayflower (1621) or about 400 years ago?  The answer:  More than you think. You would have over a million unique genetic recombinations and it would be quickly approaching 2M. See for yourself. With each generation, about 20 years, the women bring us all that uniqueness within our gene pool. Again, if you don't believe it, look at this little apron that I did back in 1990.

You could explore the world for relatives the rest of your life and hardly scratch the surface. Far better, assume everyone in the world is a relative! Then, begin looking for those of like mind and spirit. People with your interests. People who might extend your value equation. People from whom you might find source materials and to whom you might sell your own. More...

Get your chamber involved.  Get a staff person to help set up meetings and go to eight principal cities on an around the world trip. You'll do business, see the world, and understand the future because you are creating it. More...

Our Global Model.  The future direction for Small Business School is to have stations and independent producers around the world do one-to-three episodes per year within every geography of 4 million people. The best 52 episodes  air in the USA on PBS-member stations and the Voice of America broadcasts it around the world so any station can re- air it.  More...

At the height of the distribution of Small Business School, within any given day as many as 30 different episodes could be airing. The Voice of America signal is picked up by stations all around the world. Also, just in Canada alone, up to 1500 cable stations rebroadcast the PBS-signal from stations along the border. More...

Here we all help each other on the path to economic independence with integrity.

All episodes aired on PBS stations and the Voice of America:

Shiv Krishnan

Start a Business
Homepage: Shiv Krishnan from India, now Virginia, started in his spare bedroom. Today, with 500+ employees, he says:
» Be willing to start small
» Find and depend on mentors   More...
Key Question: How do I start a business?

Pamela Rodgers

Grow a Business
Homepage: Meet Pamela Rodgers of Woodhaven (MI), a top GM dealer, says, "Do what others won't do."
» Make Service Your Backbone
» Keep growing    More...
Key Question: What is a path for growth?

Souto Brothers

Buy a Business
Homepage: Meet the Souto brothers of Cuba, now Miami. They've the global leader  in espresso coffee roasting.
» Acquire the competition
» Keep dreaming   More...
Key Question: Can my business be my legacy?

Jim Schell

Sell a Business
Homepage: Meet Jim Schell will help you get ready to sell your business.  First, Study your trends.
» Create a key indicator report   More...
» Learn eight possible ways to exit your business!
Key Question: Who is the best buyer?

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