Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University is collaborating with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Idaho, and TechLink at Montana State University as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research Catalyst competition. The team will run Mesas to Mountains SBIR Support Program to assist small businesses in all four states.

Arrowhead Center receives SBIR Catalyst Award from U.S. Small Business Administration

Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University is one of eight winners to be awarded $150,000 in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst competition, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

This SBIR Catalyst award was part of a two-track, $5.4 million initiative from the SBA to promote inclusive entrepreneurship in the innovation ecosystem, which includes the SBIR Catalyst competition and the Growth Accelerator Fund.

Through these competitions, the SBA sought after-proposals from applicants whose efforts harmonized with the SBA’s goal of addressing current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color, women entrepreneurs and rural communities.

Eight collaborative partnership projects have been awarded $150,000 for the SBIR Catalyst competition to strengthen ties between stakeholders supporting the SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) applicants and awardees.

“This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity. Our awardees have innovative plans to support underserved entrepreneurs, including women, people of color and individuals from underrepresented geographic areas,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The success of the first-ever SBIR Catalyst track will ensure newly piloted regional collaboratives represent the diverse potential of the U.S. innovation ecosystem.  And President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda would enable us to ramp up this program even more, helping to reach thousands of innovators from underrepresented communities and geographic areas.”

For the SBIR Catalyst competition, Arrowhead Center is collaborating with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Idaho, and TechLink at Montana State University. Together, these organizations have a long history of providing support to diverse clients, serving women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and businesses located in rural areas.

“We are excited to collaborate with a dream team from Arrowhead Center at NMSU, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the University of Idaho to expand opportunities for Montana’s rural and underrepresented tech innovators,” said Ann Peterson, program director of the Montana Innovation Partnership at Montana State University TechLink Center.

Through this collaboration, the team will partner to run the Mesas to Mountains SBIR Support Program. This program will consist of two comprehensive and holistic virtual SBIR/STTR accelerators open to participants from all four states. These accelerators will guide participants through submitting a complete and compelling SBIR/STTR proposal package, protecting and commercializing their technology, and connecting with research institutions for technology transfer opportunities. Participants will also receive one-on-one guidance and personalized mentorship. The program will culminate in a two-day event focused on furthering participating businesses’ development and growth strategies.

“This SBIR Catalyst Award will help bolster SBIR submissions from my state, where application numbers have been stuck in the slow lane,” said Jeremy Tamsen, director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the University of Idaho. “By enhancing our SBIR accelerator initiatives in Idaho, this award will help build a new expressway for innovation.”

“We’re thrilled to bring the combined SBIR expertise of New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho and Montana to small businesses owned by Alaska’s underrepresented populations, which have enormous potential to take a lead in defining Alaska’s future economy,” said Mark Billingsley, director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization, and director of the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.

Arrowhead Center has offered support to SBIR/STTR applicants since 2015 through its NM FAST program, serving 255 clients throughout New Mexico. Arrowhead is dedicated to broadening the involvement of underserved communities, encouraging diversity within entrepreneurship.

“One of the highlights of building our NM FAST program has been the opportunity to partner with similar organizations in other states,” said Dana Catron, SBIR program director and director of Strategic Operations at Arrowhead Center. “Collectively, we’ll be able to offer more robust outreach and assistance to SBIR/STTR applicants by leveraging the unique assets at each institution. We can’t wait to get started.”

For more information on Arrowhead Center, visit

Author: Stephanie Garcia – NMSU    |  For  our complete coverage of NMSU, click here.


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