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NMSU-based NM FAST program awarded fourth year of funding

The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program (NM FAST), 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 (SBA).

NM FAST, which will be entering its fourth year of programming, will use the $125,000 award to provide free proposal development assistance to small businesses in NM pursuing Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding.

The SBIR/STTR programs, which are administered by the SBA, provide critical funding support during the fragile research and development (R&D) 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 R&D funding to small businesses every year.

“SBA is thrilled to work with these organizations to increase the understanding of the SBIR/STTR programs,” said Administrator Linda McMahon. “FAST partners are an important part of the innovation entrepreneur ecosystem. They provide training, financial and technical assistance for small, next-generation technology businesses, and help them navigate federally-funded innovation and R&D programs.”

Proposals were jointly reviewed by the SBA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Special Operations Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, the Missile Defense Agency and the National Institutes of Health. Only one proposal could be submitted per state, and required the endorsement of the governor.

“We’re thrilled that Arrowhead Center is securing additional funding, by using these tools they can continue to help New Mexico companies grow and thrive,” said Matt Geisel, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary.

Since Arrowhead received its first FAST award in October 2015, the NM FAST program has held 42 workshops and events throughout NM, has assisted 94 clients with SBIR/STTR proposals, and is active in each of the state’s eight economic development districts. The program is placing particular emphasis on assisting minority-led small businesses and rural communities throughout the state, and is building a repository of resources for SBIR/STTR applicants.

“The assistance we have received from the NM FAST team over the past two years has been phenomenal,” stated Emerging Technology Ventures CEO Cliff Hudson. “Moving through all the different tools and resources that NM FAST has created, attending their workshops, receiving a micro-grant for budget development, and really, just getting that great level of direct, hands-on assistance has allowed us to focus around a core innovation for company growth.”

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 second SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit to be held in Albuquerque this December.

“We are excited the SBA sees the value NM FAST brings to small businesses throughout NM,” says Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “SBIR/STTR funding supports and encourages small businesses to pursue commercialization for their technologies, and provides the critical scaffolding they need to move forward, contributing to NM’s growing economic ecosystem.”

The NM FAST Partnership Program provides small businesses with:
• Assistance in identifying appropriate solicitations and topic areas;
• Resources, including videos, compliance matrices and 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.

For more information, contact Dana Catron, NM FAST program manager, at 505-469-8411 or dderego@ad.nmsu.edu.