The U.S Small Business Administration has awarded a seventh year of funding for the New Mexico Federal and State Technology Program, or NM FAST, which is based at New Mexico State University. For their contributions and dedication to growing the New Mexico innovation ecosystem, NM FAST was named a recipient of the 2020 Tibbetts Award. | Photo courtesy NMSU

NMSU-based NM FAST program celebrates 7 years of SBA funding

For the seventh year in a row, NMSU Arrowhead Center’s New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, or NM FAST, has been awarded funding for programming through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

NM FAST will use the $125,000 award to provide specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for small businesses in New Mexico, supporting them with free proposal development assistance for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Administered by the SBA, the highly competitive SBIR and STTR programs aim to promote technological innovation by providing vital funding support for small businesses engaging in the crucial federal research and development and pre-commercialization phase.

FAST seeks to encourage diversity within innovation and entrepreneurship, emphasizing participation from women and applicants from underrepresented or rural areas.

“We are excited that the SBA has awarded Arrowhead Center at NMSU the SBIR grant. This grant will help them provide small business owners the necessary technical assistance for research and development. Arrowhead Center, under the leadership of Kathryn Hansen, is a valuable SBA partner for our small businesses and the state of New Mexico,” said John Garcia, SBA New Mexico district director.

The NM FAST program has forged a relationship with the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s Office of Science and Technology. SBIR applicants and awardees can take advantage of their programs, including the New Mexico SBIR matching grant, the Innovation Voucher program and New Mexico Technology Transfer Grants. Leveraging the resources of both NM FAST and NMEDD positions SBIR companies to make a more profound economic impact on New Mexico.

“SBA’s FAST program has allowed Arrowhead Center to fill a critical gap in our regional innovation ecosystem,” said Dana Catron, director of Strategic Operations and SBIR program director at Arrowhead Center. “Over the last six years, we have built a SBIR/STTR support program that has provided significant impacts to regional businesses. In fiscal year 2020, NM FAST clients had an economic impact of $327 million. We are excited to continue the expansion of programming and provide assistance to businesses, particularly underserved and first-time applicants, throughout New Mexico.”

Since Arrowhead Center received its first FAST award in October 2015, NM FAST has served 255 SBIR/STTR clients. The program has facilitated 94 outreach and assistance workshops and events throughout New Mexico. NM FAST has also awarded more than $72,000 in up to $2,000 micro-grants to clients over the life of the program for proposal development assistance. Since 2015, New Mexico small businesses supported by NM FAST have received more than $11.4 million in SBIR/STTR funding.

For their contributions and dedication to growing the New Mexico innovation ecosystem, NM FAST was named a recipient of the 2020 Tibbetts Award. This award recognizes exemplary companies, organizations and individuals who demonstrate the goals of the SBIR/STTR programs, which include the promotion of innovation, commercialization, technology transfer and cooperatives between small businesses and research institutions.

Another intent of these programs is to encourage diversity within innovation and entrepreneurship. In its seventh year, NM FAST will continue to provide free proposal development assistance to small businesses via workshops, technical assistance and access to resources, and is planning a fifth SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit to be held virtually Dec. 15.

NM FAST will also continue with Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerators, designed to be intense multi-week courses in SBIR/STTR proposal preparation.

One of the major activities will be to expand the selection of SBIR/STTR training courses on the Canvas Learning Management System. While the initial build-out focused on a general “101-style” informational course, five targeted agency-specific courses will be added to the platform, covering Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy and NASA. The curriculum for these courses will be tailored to those agencies’ needs, requirements, and restrictions in creating a complete proposal package, covering technical narrative creation, scoping and budgeting for a Phase I proposal, and follow-on funding opportunities.

NM FAST also provides eligible small businesses micro-grants to cover the expenses of professional services such as commercialization plan assistance, development and research partner identification assistance, counsel on patents and technology licensing, and indirect cost rate advisement for proposal development.

For updates on NM FAST’s upcoming Innovation Summit, visit their website.

To learn more about NM FAST and the different programs and services it offers, click here, or contact Catron at 505-469-8411 or dderego@nmsu.edu.

Author: Stephanie Garcia NMSU

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