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Microsoft’s Peter Villano: SBA, DoD Should Reduce Barriers to Small Biz Participation in Gov’t Tech Programs

Peter Villano Azure Director Microsoft
Peter Villano, Azure Director, Microsoft

Peter Villano, director of Microsoft Azure, has urged the Small Business Administration and the Department of Defense to reform current approaches that prevent smaller companies from increasing participation in government technology research and development programs.

He wrote in an opinion piece published Saturday on Defense News that SBA should modify eligibility requirements for SBIR projects to cover incentives and leverage venture-backed companies with a strong track record.

Villano added that DoD should simplify its acquisition procedures, incentivize procurement officials that accelerate progress and expand “flexible programs“ such as the Defense Innovation Unit and the U.S. Air Force's AFWERX innovation arm.

The department should also coordinate with government-focused startup accelerators and VC firms to identify tech companies with the capacity to “drive federal missions forward,“ according to Villano.

“Use what's available today to reduce barriers and risk, reform existing methods, and increase engagement with trustworthy resources to work with more viable commercial tech companies that can move our country forward.“

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