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NM FAST offers free, self-paced small business training through Canvas

  • By Stephanie Garcia
  • stephgar@nmsu.edu
  • 575-646-4965
  • May 20, 2022
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Enrollment is now open for a free program to help entrepreneurs in Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer.

Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s New Mexico Federal and State Technology partnership program – funded in part by the United States Small Business Administration – is providing free SBIR/STTR proposal development assistance to small businesses via Canvas Advanced Learning Management System courses.

Expanding on an already robust library of resources, NM FAST is offering the self-paced Canvas LMS courses to guide SBIR/STTR applicants through the proposal creation process. Like the Arrowhead Center SBIR/STTR Accelerator that catalyzed the concept, the courses are broken into two categories, an SBIR/STTR 101 course and agency-focused courses.

“The NM FAST program is always looking to expand on the value that we bring to the innovation ecosystem, not only in New Mexico but across the country,” said Del Mackey, NM FAST program manager. “We hope the effort that went into developing these courses and the curriculum will allow more innovative small businesses to submit a complete and compelling proposal package. The SBIR/STTR programs are a valuable asset for our state and having more businesses that can leverage this type of funding is always one of our primary goals as a program.”

The SBIR/STTR 101 course introduces participants to SBIR/STTR programs, focusing on the value of the programs, how to know if you are qualified for SBIR/STTR funding, tips and tricks for creating proposal packages, and overviews of the different agencies that fund these competitive programs. The agency-focused courses build on the foundational information in the 101 course, tailoring the content specifically for the agency and the requirements for a proposal package for that agency, how the agency defines innovation and commercialization, and companion or follow-on funding offered by the agency.

The goal of these courses is for participants to achieve a baseline of understanding of the programs, the agencies and solicitations so the NM FAST team can further assist businesses by focusing on their specific needs in their proposal package. The online nature of the courses allows businesses to engage with content on their own time, and at their own pace.

SBIR and STTR programs, often referred to as “America’s Seed Fund,” are an excellent source of non-dilutive funding but are highly competitive. Administered by the SBA, 11 federal agencies participate in the SBIR/STTR programs and collectively provide about $4 billion in federal funding to small businesses each year. 

NM FAST provides the resources, support and expertise necessary for innovators to submit a highly competitive proposal, and works to improve participation in SBIR/STTR programs for innovative, technology-driven small businesses. NM FAST contributes to the growing technology and innovation ecosystem in New Mexico by offering micro-grant awards for eligible small businesses, accelerators, access to tools and resources, mentoring, statewide workshops and the annual Innovation Summit.

Seven online courses are open for self-enrollment, including SBIR/STTR 101, and six agency-focused courses: Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, NASA, National Science Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture. 

The NM FAST team will be creating more agency-focused courses in the next year and expanding the capabilities of these courses, including built-in quizzes and digital badges so participants can demonstrate their competence in the SBIR/STTR programs and create their own certifications.

To learn more about NM FAST’s Canvas courses or to enroll, visit https://arrowheadcenter.org/program/nm-fast/canvas-courses/.