New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Center has been awarded a federal grant to support and expand its commercialization efforts in the state.
The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration includes federal funding for the first year of more than $100,000 - expected to be renewed annually - and matched by an equal amount from NMSU's Arrowhead Center budget.
The grant, part of $2.5 million in funding awarded through the EDA's 2013 University Center Economic Development Program Competition, will be used to identify gaps in the regional commercialization ecosystem and create programs that increase statewide participation in commercialization efforts, accelerate innovation, and increase the number of business start-ups.
NMSU was one of 19 colleges and universities in 10 states that received the grants for $102,602 each, which will support 5-year University Center programs designed to leverage those universities' assets to promote innovation and strengthen their regional economies. The annual competition was open only to institutions in the Southwest this year, through EDA's Austin and Denver regional offices.
Arrowhead Center's commercialization efforts are also supported by an i6 Challenge grant, another program of the Economic Development Administration.
Kathy Hansen, Arrowhead Center's chief executive officer, said the grant will establish the New Mexico Regional Commercialization University Center at Arrowhead, which will build on the center's current commercialization offerings and expand its outreach to urban and rural communities across the state. It's currently the only EDA University Center in New Mexico, and Hansen said there's a need in the state for the kind of higher-paying jobs that innovation-driven business can provide.
The grant will enable the center to make existing commercialization resources at NMSU more widely available throughout the state and to serve as a single entry point for expertise and services offered at the university. That increased access has the potential to benefit not only innovators and entrepreneurs, but also regional planning organizations and agencies, state and local policymakers, and other universities and labs throughout New Mexico, Hansen said.
"Arrowhead Center and NMSU are extremely pleased to serve as an EDA University Center for Regional Commercialization," Hansen said. "As the state's land-grant institution, it's important that we reach out to all New Mexicans to promote commercialization in our state."
In a news release from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Secretary Penny Pritzker said the grants will help colleges and universities nationwide support entrepreneurship and economic growth in their regions.
"These EDA investments in University Centers are examples of the Obama administration's commitment to public-private partnerships with higher education institutions that help America stay innovative and competitive in the 21st century," Pritzker said.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration invests in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
NMSU Interim Vice President for Economic Development Kevin Boberg said the grant helps support the university's important outreach mission.
"This presents an exciting opportunity to take the enterprise ecosystem developing and available on campus at NMSU and make it accessible to underserved areas throughout the state," he said. "This grant will help Arrowhead Center continue to transform lives through discovery and, thereby, boost economic development in New Mexico."
For more information about Arrowhead Center, visit arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu. For more information about EDA's University Centers, visit www.eda.gov.