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NM FAST’s sixth annual Innovation Summit open for registration

The New Mexico Federal and State Technology (NM FAST) Partnership program, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, will host its sixth annual New Mexico Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Innovation Summit virtually Dec. 14, uniting small businesses, federal program managers, defense representatives, experts and support organizations vested in driving innovation through SBIR/STTR programs.

Although based in New Mexico, the summit will be valuable to businesses nationally, as topics will cover federal-level information.

The SBIR/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 offer about $4 billion in federal funding to small businesses annually.

NM FAST serves the entire state of New Mexico with SBIR/STTR proposal development programming and assistance, working to increase participation in SBIR/STTR programs from underserved, innovative and technology-driven small businesses. NM FAST contributes to the state’s growing technology and innovation ecosystem 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, with more than 340 attendees from 38 states and four countries.

“We are excited to once again bring summit attendees access to SBIR/STTR experts through panels and one-on-one sessions this year in support of innovation in economic development,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “The work done by NMSU’s Arrowhead Center, in assisting small businesses, is enormous and an important part of our commitment to the communities we serve across our region.”

The Innovation Summit will feature intriguing sessions with panels led by industry experts and federal officers. 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 experts during panels that will break down the SBIR/STTR process for first-time applicants, discuss innovation as a business practice, and illustrate the importance of teaming and partnering. Federal agency program managers and representatives will offer rapid-fire pitches about some of the biggest differences among SBIR/STTR agencies and what types of innovations they are funding. Attendees will also learn about the differences between grants and contracts and what they mean for businesses. Representatives from the Navy, Air Force and Army SBIR/STTR programs will also present upcoming topics and solicitation cycles.

John Williams, director of Innovation and Technology for the Office of Investment and Innovation within the SBA, will deliver the keynote address at this year's summit.

The Innovation Summit is for anyone interested in learning about funding through the SBIR/STTR programs and 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 from federal agencies, including the Navy, Air Force, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and more.

“We are excited to bring attendees access to SBIR/STTR experts through panels and one-on-one sessions,” said Dana Catron, deputy director 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.”

This year’s event will be free to all attendees. Registration for the Innovation Summit is now open at

For more information, contact Catron at or Del Mackey at