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  1. Science and Technology Directorate
  2. News Room
  3. Honoring S&T Commitment to Women-Owned Businesses

Honoring S&T’s Commitment to Women-Owned Businesses

Release Date: March 13, 2024

Special Women’s History Month Guest blog from Megan Mahle, Director of the Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Office of Industry Partnerships (OIP)

Portrait photo of Megan Mahle.
Megan Mahle

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, women own over 12 million businesses and employ more than 10.1 million workers across the United States, with total sales surpassing $2 trillion. The impact of women-owned businesses on the economy and the research and development landscape cannot be understated. And here at S&T, we make every effort to join forces with these dedicated, forward-thinking innovators. I am honored to celebrate Women's History Month by highlighting a few remarkable advancements S&T’s women-owned business partners have made in recent years in designing and delivering technology solutions that address pressing homeland security challenges.  

NAS-LIION co-owner Dr. Sharon Simmons (center, in red), was presented with the Judges Award at Converge 2023.She is joined here by (left to right) S&T Technology Transfer and Commercialization Branch representatives Ben Henry, Jenny Peters, and Branch Chief Kalpana Reddy.
NAS-LIION co-owner Dr. Sharon Simmons (center, in red), was presented with the Judges Award at Converge 2023. She is joined here by (left to right) S&T Technology Transfer and Commercialization Branch representatives Ben Henry, Jenny Peters, and Branch Chief Kalpana Reddy. Photo Credit: S&T.

NAS-LIION: The 2023 S&T Homeland Security Startup Studio (HSSS) Converge winner, NAS-LIION co-owner Dr. Sharon Simmons accepted the Judges Award for the company’s battery leak detection technology, which uses a colorimetric indicator to detect electrolyte leakage from lithium-Ion batteries. Eight teams pitched their efforts to commercialize groundbreaking technologies sourced from U.S. laboratories and universities, and an expert panel of judges chose the woman- and minority-owned small business, as having the winning pitch. HSSS is an innovative program that pairs the next generation of entrepreneurs with federally funded cutting-edge technologies to help move them from lab to market. The 2023 HSSS cohort was our most diverse yet, with 30% of participating entrepreneurs identifying as women.

Floodbase, PBC and FloodMapp: As a result of its successful partnership with S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), women-owned startup company Floodbase, PBC, which specializes in designing real-time graphical maps of flooding, had its S&T-funded graphics utilized by three national media outlets to demonstrate areas of California flooding during the recent deluge. Their maps reached approximately 89.550 million people nationwide. A second female-owned company in the same space, FloodMapp, has also partnered with SVIP and FEMA to successfully reduce insurance premiums for the community of Norfolk, Virginia, by integrating FloodMapp’s real-time flood intelligence into the navigation app Waze to alert and redirect drivers around flood hazards in the area.  

Dignari: DHS Prize Competitions crowdsource innovation and harness the creativity of the American public to find solutions to homeland security challenges. In 2021, Dignari was the grand prize winner of the Trusted User Interface for Digital Wallets Challenge for its solution that improves overall user experience for the management of digital wallet-based credentials. Since then, Dignari has gone on to work with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Transportation Security Administration and was recently awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement to provide Identity, Credential, and Access Management Support Services to all of DHS. In 2023, Dignari was named to the Women Presidents Organization's annual listing of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies.

Design Interactive, Inc. (DI): Funded through the DHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, DI developed a patented algorithm compatible with wrist-worn devices to provide real-time stress measurements to improve PTSD, stress, and anxiety therapy for veterans. The success of this venture led to additional funding, enabling DI to apply their core technology to other domains, including special operations, deception detection, federal law enforcement training, and firefighter training. In 2020, DI received a Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, an award that recognizes companies that exemplify the very best in SBIR/STTR achievements.

At S&T, we are proud to recognize and support the innovative spirit and ingenuity of female entrepreneurs who are leading the charge in developing groundbreaking solutions to our toughest homeland security threats. OIP remains committed to engaging with underrepresented groups, businesses, and communities—including our continued support of women-owned businesses—to aid in their ability to achieve even greater success in the years to come.

Happy Women's History Month!

Last Updated: 03/13/2024
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