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SBA administrator visits NMSU’s Arrowhead Center

U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator Yolanda Garcia Olivarez visited Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University last week to learn about Arrowhead programming and discuss areas for increased collaboration between the SBA and Arrowhead.


As a 2009 appointee of President Barack Obama, Olivarez oversees SBA activity in the South Central Region, which is comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The visit also included SBA El Paso District Director Phillip Silva, El Paso Deputy District Director Jose Campos, Albuquerque Deputy District Director Kerrie Hurd, and Lead Business Opportunity Specialist Mary Drobot.

Arrowhead director Kathryn Hansen gave a presentation on Arrowhead programming, highlighting Arrowhead’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New Mexico. Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Technology Incubator, and Dana Catron, Arrowhead program coordinator, gave a presentation on the New Mexico Federal and State Partnership Program, or NM FAST, which is funded by the SBA and helps small New Mexico businesses find and apply to Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants. NM FAST Tech Advisor Paul Furth also provided input on the program and engaged with the SBA visitors.

Discussions included programmatic highlights and plans for future programming. Arrowhead officials said Olivarez was impressed with the work Arrowhead has accomplished, and noted multiple points for collaboration between the SBA and Arrowhead to make leveraging resources for small businesses even more successful. One collaborative opportunity that NM FAST is planning for this fall is a panel event that will feature successful SBIR/STTR winners. Experts will answer questions and discuss concerns first-time businesses have when preparing for and submitting a SBIR/STTR proposal.

Created in 1953, the SBA strives to “aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation,” something the agency achieves by providing small businesses with loans, contracts, counseling and more. Paired with Arrowhead Center’s suite of entrepreneurial resources and programming, a stronger collaboration between the two organizations will enhance the assistance available to small business throughout New Mexico.

Arrowhead representatives said they look forward to working with the SBA on future events, and thanked Olivarez and her team for their visit.