The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, was one of just 24 universities and organizations nationwide to receive a FAST grant this year from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
NM FAST, which will be entering its fifth year of programming, will use the $125,000 award to provide free Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer proposal development assistance to small businesses in New Mexico pursuing funding.
The SBIR/STTR programs, which are administered by the SBA, provide critical funding support during the fragile research and development and pre-commercialization phase, a time when many small businesses are forced to shelve innovations from lack of funding. Eleven federal agencies have SBIR/STTR programs, and collectively support more than $2.5 billion in federal research and development funding to small businesses every year.
“FAST partners support an important role in attempting to fill various gaps that R&D-focused small businesses may have to help them win SBIR/STTR awards,” said Acting Administrator Christopher Pilkerton. “They focus on the needs of next-generation high-tech firms and support them through the entire cycle from ideation to commercialization. SBIR funding is one way to do that. Additionally, a number of these awards are going to partners that are located in Opportunity Zones where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”
Proposals were jointly reviewed by the SBA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research, and the National Institutes of Health. Only one proposal could be submitted per state, and required the endorsement of the governor.
The NM FAST program has been fortunate to have the support of the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s Office of Science and Technology, which has several programs – such as the NM SBIR matching grant, the Innovation Voucher program, and NM Technology Transfer Grants – that SBIR applicants and awardees are able to take advantage of. Leveraging the resources of both NM FAST and NMEDD position SBIR companies to make a more profound economic impact on New Mexico.
“The fact that we have a business development program here in New Mexico that is recognized nationally speaks to the high-quality assistance that we can offer,” said Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department. “I want to encourage those who need help in these areas of research and technology transfer to take advantage of the tools at Arrowhead Center so we can grow jobs and diversify our economy.”
Since Arrowhead received its first FAST award in October 2015, the NM FAST program has held 54 workshops and events throughout New Mexico, has assisted 129 clients with SBIR/STTR proposals, and is active in each of the state’s eight economic development districts. The program places particular emphasis on assisting minority-led small businesses and rural communities throughout the state, and continues to build a repository of resources for SBIR/STTR applicants.
“We are launching a revolutionary, science-based, very R&D-intensive startup. Our road to launch has been long and complex,” said Roy Montibon, CEO of Montibon Provenance International. “The NM FAST team has been instrumental in helping us move things forward and keep our progress on track. It would literally not be possible for us to be doing some of the things we are doing without the thoughtful assistance, expertise and enthusiasm we receive from the NM FAST program.”
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 third SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit to be held in Albuquerque this December. NM FAST will also add new programing this year in the form of Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerators, designed to be an intense six- to 10-week course in SBIR proposal preparation.
“We are excited to have the SBA’s continued support via the FAST grant,” said Dana Catron, SBIR program director at Arrowhead Center. “As the only organization that offers free, comprehensive SBIR proposal development assistance in New Mexico, the NM FAST program fills a critical need for inexperienced SBIR applicants who are pursuing funding.”
The NM FAST Partnership Program provides small businesses with:
– Assistance in identifying appropriate agencies, solicitations and topic areas;
– Resources, including videos, compliance matrices and proposal templates;
– How-to information on agency registrations and electronic proposal submission;
– Guidance on proposal preparation, including assessments of technical objectives and hypotheses and drafting supporting documents such as biographical sketches, resources and budgets;
– Specifics on the target agency’s requirements for commercialization content in Phase I/Phase II proposals; and
– Technical reviews and edits of proposals with feedback.
In addition, NM FAST 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.