Original Article | Stephanie Garcia | stephgar@nmsu.edu | Nov 04, 2021

Panelists discuss the keys to creating a strong SBIR/STTR proposal package during the 2020 New Mexico SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit. The 2021 summit, set for Dec. 15, 2021, will also take place virtually. (Courtesy image)

The New Mexico Federal and State Technology (NM FAST) Partnership Program, part of New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, will host its fifth annual New Mexico SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit virtually on Dec. 15, 2021. This dynamic event brings together small businesses, federal program managers, defense representatives, experts, and support organizations vested in driving innovation through the SBIR/STTR programs.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, promote technological innovation and commercialization by providing non-dilutive funding to small businesses focusing on research and development. Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR/STTR programs and collectively provide approximately $4 billion in federal funding to small businesses each year.

NM FAST is New Mexico’s source for SBIR/STTR proposal development programming and assistance. They work to increase participation in SBIR/STTR programs from underserved, innovative and technology-driven small businesses. NM FAST contributes to the growing technology and innovation ecosystem in New Mexico by offering micro-grants, mentoring, and statewide workshops and events like the Innovation Summit.

This year’s summit will expand on the success of last year’s event, which was held virtually and had participation from across the world. More than 1,000 people registered from 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Buenos Aires, Germany, and India.

“We are excited to bring attendees access to SBIR/STTR experts through panels and one-on-one sessions,” said Dana Catron, director of strategic operations and SBIR program director at Arrowhead Center. “SBIR and STTR funding is the best source of non-dilutive capital for early stage technologies, and this event serves as a front door to these programs. I would encourage anyone with an interest in applying for this funding to attend.”

Continuing adherence to COVID-19 safety practices, this year’s Innovation Summit will be virtual but fully functional, featuring intriguing sessions with panels led by industry experts and federal officers, and participants will have the unique opportunity to meet one-on-one with experts and key decision-makers about their innovative ideas. Attendees will hear from previous SBIR/STTR awardees about their experiences through the SBIR process, learn about data rights in government contracts, hear tips on staying responsive through changes in the SBIR/STTR programs, and how to secure third-party investments for an innovation. Experts from the Navy, Air Force, and Army SBIR/STTR programs will also present upcoming topics and solicitation cycles.

Bob Smith, director of the Navy SBIR/STTR programs, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s summit.

While the Innovation Summit is focused on SBIR/STTR funding, the event will be compelling and relevant for anyone interested in learning how to move their technology or innovation toward commercialization. Small businesses, technology firms, economic development organizations, researchers, academic faculty, inventors, and students are encouraged to attend to hear panels and presentations from several high-ranking officials and for the exclusive opportunity to visit one-on-one with program managers.

“The New Mexico SBIR/STTR Innovation Summit is a great chance for small businesses to learn more about these federal funding opportunities,” said Del Mackey, senior economic development officer at Arrowhead Center. “We are thrilled to be adding more agencies, more one-on-one sessions, and more focused panel discussions this year that will be a great benefit to attendees. If your business has questions on how to access this non-dilutive funding, I strongly suggest you attend.”

This year’s event will be free to all attendees. Registration for the Innovation Summit is now open at http://sbirinnovationsummit.vfairs.com/.

For updates, visit the event website at https://arrowheadcenter.org/program/nm-fast/innovation-summit/.

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@nmsu.edu.