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Arrowhead to host third annual NM SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit

The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, will host its third annual New Mexico Small Business Innovation Research Innovation Summit. This important event will take place Dec. 11 in Albuquerque and addresses opportunities for technology-based innovative businesses to connect with the Department of Defense (Navy and Air Force) and other funding organizations.


The Innovation Summit presents an opportunity for small technology firms to learn how their innovative ideas or capabilities – either technology or services – can be delivered to Department of Defense and other innovation funders. Currently, the Navy invests $350 million every year in innovative ideas; in the 2018 fiscal year, the Air Force SBIR/STTR budget was $663 million, a significant leap from previous years.

“Arrowhead is excited to host the SBIR Innovation Summit again this year,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “For New Mexico-based small businesses, traveling to a national conference to learn about SBIR and meet with program managers is often out of reach. Events like this bring resources to our state, and contribute to a growing tech-drive ecosystem.”

This year’s event will build on last year’s success. More than 140 people attended, including attendees from other southwestern states such as Utah, Arizona and California. The proceedings were also broadcast to satellite locations in 10 states, adding 156 attendees from Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Montana, North Dakota and Washington. The summit was also live streamed on Facebook and YouTube, expanding the scope of the event’s audience.

The structure of the 2019 Innovation Summit will differ from previous years. Representatives from the Navy and Air Force SBIR/STTR programs will be present to discuss recent changes and address recent and new processes for applying to their programs. The Navy will discuss its new Technology Acceleration effort, which has eased the SBIR process for applicants. Through this program, the requirements for proposals have been decreased from 20 pages to five, the evaluation and selection process has decreased by two-thirds, and awards will be granted in 30 days.

The Air Force will provide an overview of its new BlueSHIFT concept, which aids small businesses through the processes of obtaining and securing contracts. In this new initiative, proposal requirements have been decreased to mitigate the former lengthy procurement process, ensuring faster turnaround times for companies.

The project will also host Pitch Days and special topic events. Earlier this year, the Air Force hosted 12 Pitch Days where more than 450 research and development contracts were awarded, totaling $140 million. After a five-page proposal and brief pitch, successful participants are awarded contracts and payment via government credit card within an average of fifteen minutes that same day.

A broader range of topics will be featured, including a cybersecurity presentation by the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, as well as more organizations available for private one-on-one sessions. This year’s panels will be led by industry experts and federal officers to offer attendees exclusive behind the scenes access to the entire SBIR process, information on funding and development opportunities not directly linked to federal programs, and tips and tricks on ensuring financial success in account management.

“The Arrowhead Center at the NMSU has done an outstanding job the past three years hosting the annual SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit. They have successfully provided a unique opportunity for small businesses across the country to learn about SBIR topics and to sit down with experts from government, industry, and academia,” said Dean Putnum, NAVSEA SBIR/STTR Program Manager. “The SBIR/STTR Program solves problems and speeds technology to the warfighter, helping the Navy conquer urgent priorities. We couldn't achieve these goals and deliver cutting edge technology without our innovative small business, university, research, and industrial partners.”

The NM FAST program, which is supported by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, works to improve the participation of small businesses in federal SBIR and STTR programs for innovative, technology-driven small businesses. NM FAST has gained traction in New Mexico by offering statewide workshops, mentoring, and micro-grant awards for eligible small businesses.

Tech companies, small businesses, economic development organizations, researchers, academic faculty, inventors, and students are encouraged to attend the Innovation Summit for an exciting chance to visit one-on-one with program managers and hear panels and presentations from several high-ranking officials. While focused on SBIR/STTR funding, the event will be compelling and relevant for anyone interested in learning how to move their technology or innovation towards market.

“We hope regional small businesses will take advantage of the opportunities presented at this event, and consider applying for SBIR/STTR funds,” said Dana Catron, SBIR program director at Arrowhead Center. “SBIR is one of the best sources of early-stage equity-free funding, and the new programs developed by the Air Force and Navy are making it faster than ever to secure that funding.”

Registration for the Innovation Summit will open Oct. 21. For updates, visit the event website at http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/program/nm-fast/innovation-summit/.

The event is sponsored by Arrowhead Center and the City of Albuquerque. Sponsorship packages are available. For information on how your organization can benefit from partnering with this one-of-a-kind event, contact Catron at 505-469-8411 or dderego@ad.nmsu.edu.