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NM FAST program awarded sixth year of funding to help New Mexico small businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded a sixth year of funding to the New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program (NM FAST), housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, to provide programming for small businesses in the state.

Building photo
The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded a sixth year of funding to the New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, which is housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center. The funding will help the program provide programming for small businesses in the state. (NMSU photo by Justin Santiago)

NM FAST will use the $125,000 award to provide small businesses in New Mexico 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 indispensable funding support for small businesses engaging in the crucial federal research and development and pre-commercialization phase. 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.

“Our FAST partners address the unique needs of next-generation, high-tech small businesses. The program supports innovative entrepreneurs from underserved communities by helping them start and grow – a primary mission for SBA,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. “Programs like FAST are more critical than ever as the SBA is laser-focused on helping small businesses recover and once again propel the national economy forward. The SBIR and STTR funding can be the early seed capital to jumpstart companies today and make them successful in the future.”

The SBA’s FAST program provides $3 million a year in funding for state and regional organizations to build the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through outreach, technical assistance and financial support for small businesses with potential for commercialization. FAST seeks to encourage diversity within innovation and entrepreneurship, emphasizing participation from women and applicants from underrepresented or rural areas.

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 some 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 the New Mexico Economic Development Department positions SBIR companies to make a more profound economic impact on New Mexico.

“New Mexico relies on the expertise of our partners at NM FAST to help support new technology businesses so they can better compete, create jobs and diversify our economy. I congratulate them on their continued success,” said Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes.

Since Arrowhead received its first FAST award in October 2015, NM FAST has served 201 SBIR/STTR clients, assisting an average of 37 clients per quarter and nine new intakes per quarter. Across 90 outreach and assistance workshops and events throughout New Mexico, 12 communities have been reached, with 75 percent of them being rural. NM FAST has also awarded more than $62,000 in 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 over $9.4 million in SBIR/STTR funding.

“We are excited to continue our work supporting New Mexico small businesses as they pursue SBIR/STTR funding,” said Dana Catron, SBIR program director at Arrowhead. “FAST funding allows us to focus on developing robust tools, resources, and forms of assistance – like our SBIR accelerators – that can help new applicants identify, apply for and receive funding from these important programs.”

In its sixth 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 fourth SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit to be held virtually Dec. 9. NM FAST will also continue with new programing implemented last year in the form of Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerators designed to be intense multi-week courses in SBIR/STTR proposal preparation.

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.

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 more information, contact Catron at 505-469-8411 or dderego@ad.nmsu.edu.