State to help defense contractors seeking U.S. conversion aid

May 05, 1993|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

The federal government has made a pot of money available to help struggling defense contractors convert to new markets. And state economic development officials are out to help Maryland companies get their fair share of the goodies.

With an eye toward capturing as much of the $472 million in funding as possible being offered by Washington, the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED) has scheduled two briefings aimed at instructing Maryland executives on how they can cash in on the program.

The money is part of the $1.7 billion defense conversion plan that President Clinton announced in March during a visit to Linthicum's Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant.

The object of the sessions is to bring in federal officials and have them explain how companies can apply for financial assistance, according to Audrey S. Theis, an assistant secretary at DEED for Business Resources.

She suggested that some small companies might want to come together and form a consortium or partnership in vying for federal grants administered by the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Science and Technology of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Funding to be used for new product creation, dual use (military and commercial) technology and the creation of new technology for the military will be on a matching-fund basis. This means that each dollar from the federal program would have to be matched by a like amount from a company or group of companies.

Money is also available to states and local government to help small businesses increase their competitiveness through technology.

The federal plan also is designed to assist small manufacturing and technology-oriented companies, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, state and local governments and companies with strong research and development operations.

A formal solicitation for proposals by the federal government is expected in mid-May, and the deadline for submission is scheduled for July 23.

The first briefing will be held tomorrow at the Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County Center, 9601 Medical Center Drive, in Rockville. The second will be Friday at the university's Homewood campus in Shriver Hall Auditorium. Both are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m.

The state agency suggests company representatives planning to attend either of the free briefings call

in advance. The telephone number for the Rockville session is (301) 762-6325, at Homewood: (410) 333-6990.

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