The Small Business Innovation Research program was established by Congress in 1982 with the goal of identifying small businesses that could provide a solution to the warfighter in a faster, more efficient manner than was previously available. Fast forward almost 40 years, and the program is reducing barriers and accelerating processes, seeding the future of the U.S. Air Force through innovation and forward-thinking technology. The SBIR/STTR program offers three open solicitations per year. Specific focus areas are determined by the Air Force and posted as focus areas under an Open Topic solicitation where small businesses can submit a proposed solution to the identified are of concern. AFWERX is the Air Force's team of innovators who encourage and facilitate connections across industry, academia, and military to create transformative opportunities and foster a culture of innovation. Their mission is to help solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of the service by enabling thoughtful, deliberate, ground-up innovation. AFWERX was established in 2017 by the Secretary of the Air Force and reports to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Through the AFWERX open topic solicitations, small businesses are able to submit innovative solutions that have not yet been identified as a need by the warfighter.