Collider event equips small businesses for success

Air Force logo
Air Force logo

Pitch Perfect

Small business leaders were provided with the tools and techniques to best “pitch” ideas to the Air Force and Angel investor communities during a Pitch Perfect Collider Aug. 5.

The event, hosted by the Air Force Small Business Hub and the Dayton-based Wright Brothers Institute, featured real-world advice and mentorship from private commercial investors and small business leaders aimed at helping entrepreneurs to more effectively pitch both their technical capabilities and business plan to investors in the government and private domains.

“The Air Force is looking to quickly incorporate and deliver new technologies and capabilities that small businesses have developed to the warfighter. For this to happen successfully, small businesses must be able to develop and market their capabilities to the Air Force and commercial market,” said Jeff Mellot, Small Business Programs director, Air Force Materiel Command. “The purpose of the collider was to provide small businesses the understanding of how to develop a strategic business plan and what private investors expect to hear when receiving a “pitch” for their investment. Ultimately this will allow firms to effectively pitch both their technical capabilities and business plan.”

More than 200 small business leaders attended the virtual event, with speakers including Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., AFMC commander; Roger Edwards, vice president, Accelerant Venture Capital Fund, Dayton Development Center; business consultants from the Queen City Angels; Vance VanDrake, intellectual property attorney at Ulmer & Berne; and others.

Topics addressed included identifying valid market opportunities, IP protection, developing value propositions and business models, small business financial considerations and market exit strategies. Attendees had the opportunity to interact with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders to gain insight and real-world knowledge, setting them up for better success as they move their own businesses into the future.

“What made this collider unique was that the presenters were actual private investors in the commercial market. The content was presented by real-world experts vice government instructors,” said Mellott. “This collider was the first in a series of events being planned to provide more in-depth understanding and mentoring opportunities.”

To learn more about small business opportunities at the Air Force Materiel Command, visit the small business website at