LAS CRUCES, NM – New Mexico State University (NMSU) has announced that a collaboration between the Arrowhead Center and three other universities has resulted in Tables to Mountains, an effort to support underrepresented businesses in New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.
The institution reported that thanks to a $150,000 award from the 2021 Small Business Innovation Research Catalyst competition administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Arrowhead Center began collaborating with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Idaho and Montana State University’s TechLink.
Through this partnership, they will host the two-day virtual SBIR Innovation Summit October 11-12, an event that will bring together small businesses, federal program managers, innovation ecosystem representatives, experts and local organizations with an interest in driving innovation through the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, connecting companies to the innovation ecosystem for growth and development, and technology transfer and intellectual property protection.
“Tables to Mountains is an incredible example of how the collective strengths of different states can come together to support SBIR/STTR applicants in underserved regions,” said Dana Catron, deputy director of the Arrowhead Center and SBIR program director.
The collaboration between the Arrowhead Center and the three universities was intended to support the SBA’s initiative to promote inclusive entrepreneurship in the innovation ecosystem by addressing current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color, women entrepreneurs and rural communities.
With the collaboration, it is intended to provide a targeted approach to SBIR/STTR support for underrepresented companies in each state and guiding them through agency selection, proposal creation, award management and commercialization practices.
Leveraging the strengths of each institution, two multi-week accelerators have been chosen, offering personalized support to participants. Throughout the initiatives, participants were in weekly discussions and teaching sessions, one-on-one meetings with experts in their respective states, and had the opportunity to connect with researchers from national labs to further their innovations.
“The Tables to Mountains collaboration is shrinking the boundaries of our large rural states by connecting founders of promising new technologies with a national network of partners, SBIR support organizations, university and federal lab technology transfer offices, and other successful founders,” said Ann Peterson, program director of the Montana Innovation Partnership based at Montana State University’s TechLink Center.
The event’s roster of speakers includes SBIR program managers from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, business legal and accounting service providers, patent professionals, and technology transfer officers from federal laboratories and institutions of higher education.
The first day of the summit will focus on SBIR/STTR, with panels on how these programs can help bring innovative ideas to commercialization. The second day of the event will focus on patenting and licensing, with panels highlighting what you need to know about these processes, how to protect your intellectual property, and how to partner with research institutions. Both days will offer virtual booths and one-on-one opportunities with federal program managers, ecosystem supporters, IP and patent professionals, and research institution staff.