June 10, 2016 by Dana Catron, NMSU News Center
The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program recently sent several New Mexico companies to the National Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Conference held May 23-25 in Washington, D.C., with funding made available through the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
The conference, which was co-located with the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo and the National Innovation Summit & Showcase, provided opportunities to connect with representatives from all 11 federal agencies and exposed attendees to exciting innovations being transitioned to the market.
“It was great attending the conference and representing the New Mexico small business community,” said NM FAST team member Todd Bisio. “I really enjoy that the National SBIR/STTR Conference is connected to the National Innovation Summit & Showcase. This collaborative effort exemplifies the cohesiveness that needs to take place in order to move innovative ideas into the real world application space. It also enables a larger audience to see and experience how the program is evolving more towards commercialization to benefit the entrepreneurial community.”
NM FAST is based at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center.
The conference exposed attendees, most of which were not planning on attending prior to hearing about NM FAST funding, to the latest innovative technologies and put New Mexico companies in front of representatives and program managers from SBIR/STTR funding agencies, industry leaders and veteran SBIR/STTR awardees.
Speaking with agencies allowed companies to meet with numerous industry partners and representatives of SBIR agencies over the course of a few days, saving time and eliminating the frustration of trying to contact them via email or phone. It also allowed companies to get a feel for how good a fit their technology is with agency funding objectives. One company met with an operational manager from the Navy, who provided them with suggestions and tips and encouraged them to apply for a SBIR grant.
Greg Scantlen, CEO of Creative C, said that the conference not only put him in front of agency representatives for valuable feedback, it acted as a pipeline for sales. His technology is an office-based computer system for chemistry simulations, called the Large-scale Atomic Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator, or LAMMPS.
“We expect several sales of the LAMMPS Instrument or MedeA Instrument as a result of contacts made at our exhibit,” Scantlen said. “The last two contacts were Qatar University and 3M Corp., so the quantity and quality of visitors to our booth were both great.”
Seeing New Mexico businesses succeed at finding potential customers is always a highlight for NM FAST.
“My favorite role to play is getting to represent our New Mexico based small business community in front of service and agency representatives with very applicable programs,” Bisio said. “When a New Mexico-based solution is a match for the potential customer, it is a win-win scenario.”
The NM FAST program was able to gain valuable insight from meeting with agency representatives and attending workshops, which will bolster the efficacy of programmatic efforts going forward.
“We see the conference as a key platform to connect with the federal agencies, and gauge the pulse of primes’ interest in engaging with NM small businesses,” said Zetdi Sloan, program manager for NM FAST. “We are extremely satisfied with the conference attendance by NM companies and quality of everyone’s leads.”
A networking hour hosted by NM FAST was successful in bringing NM companies together and initiating relationships that will foster innovation and lead to more SBIR proposal submissions.
“We made a lot of valuable contacts that will probably turn into collaborations,” said Todd Peterson, Chief Embedded Systems Engineer at Management Sciences, Inc.
Several companies have applied for NM FAST assistance after attending the conference. NM FAST offers eligible small businesses assistance with funding efforts through SBIR and STTR programs, which offer more than $2.5 billion annually to support the development of technology by small businesses.
The NM FAST program provides free assistance to New Mexico companies applying for a SBIR or STTR grant. For more information, please visit: http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/nmfast/