Will Roper: Air Force to Hold First Pitch Day in March

The U.S. Air Force plans to host an event on March 6 and 7 in New York City in a push to transform how the military service collaborates with startup companies.

Will Roper, USAF's acquisition chief, wrote in a Fast Company article posted Friday the service will award up to $40M in contracts via credit card transactions to small businesses that have been invited to showcase concepts and proposals on Pitch Day.

He said the service will release details on its “challenges” online via websites such as LinkedIn before selecting companies as well as primary Air Force contractors and commercial investors to take part in the military branch's first pitch day. Participants have the chance to secure up to $150K if they have PayPal accounts.

“We need to energize startups to see that tackling our challenges can be a means to accelerate their own growth and vitality, even if their business plans are ultimately commercial,” Roper noted.

He added USAF awarded 100 contracts in 40 hours during the event’s trial run.

According to the event's official website, U.S.-based for-profit companies with a maximum of 500 employees are eligible to participate. Interested firms can submit short proposals and pitches through Feb. 6.

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