A new effort to help clean energy startups in New Mexico get the support they need to develop and grow their technologies is seeking participants.
The New Mexico Clean Energy Resilience and Growth cluster – funded in part by the United States Department of Energy and housed at New Mexico State University – provides startups with the support they need to commercialize clean and renewable technologies. NM CERG’s model establishes a pipeline for success, guiding participants through the steps necessary for growth and development.
To qualify for NM CERG, businesses must be developing a technology that is impactful for New Mexico, working on clean or renewable energy technology, and have technology with both commercial and technical merit. Applications are being accepted on a continual basis, with some modules running at specific times during the year and most modules running continuously. The intellectual property and investment preparedness courses are online and self-guided.
Under NM CERG, qualified participants gain access to activities such as market capture and technology development through testing and evaluation with federal lab partners, and receive ongoing support throughout the commercial market pipeline.
In March 2019, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Energy Transition Act, which sets a zero-carbon standard for 2050. Through this, New Mexico will establish a pathway for transitioning away from coal- and carbon-based energy, and will include workforce training and transition assistance to communities affected by reductions in carbon-based energy.
“We are excited to help startups navigate the challenges of commercializing clean and renewable technologies,” said Dana Catron, NM CERG program director and deputy director of Arrowhead Center. “We envisioned NM CERG to serve as scaffolding over the valley of death most startups face, which can be discouraging as they try to bring a technology to market.”
Efforts for clean energy are also realized through NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, who was recently named to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. His experience as a director and chief executive of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory guides NMSU as a leader in clean energy research.
“Helping to foster economic development is part of our land-grant mission, and it’s why Arrowhead Center plays such an important role for our university,” Arvizu said. “We’re eager to see what kinds of work startups are doing in the area of clean energy, and how we might be able to help them take their operations to the next level.”
Through NM CERG, startups will gain access to multiple assistance modules that focus on different aspects of business growth and technology development, including: federal funding opportunities, third-party investment, customer and market identification, and testing and evaluation services.
NM CERG will accept applications for its upcoming Arrowhead Center Small Business Innovation Research Accelerator, which is focused on supporting applicants through the SBIR Phase I proposal process, beginning the first week of October and are due by Nov. 28. In fiscal year 2019, the Department of Energy awarded $308 million in SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer funds.
The 12-week virtual cohort provides targeted support in areas such as aligning with a Department of Energy topic area, submitting a compelling letter of intent, and creating a complete proposal package that adheres to Department of Energy requirements. Each week focuses on an aspect of proposal package development and culminates with a submission to the Department of Energy before the October deadline. Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator participants will also gain access to a suite of SBIR/STTR tools and resources, and a professional proposal review.
“Approaching the Department of Energy SBIR/STTR programs can be overwhelming for first-time applicants,” said Del Mackey, NM CERG program manager. “We are excited that we were able to add a new version of our Arrowhead Center SBIR/STTR Accelerator program specifically tailored towards the Department of Energy through NM CERG, as we see this being a critical gap in New Mexico’s innovation ecosystem.”
This 12-week program will run from the week of Dec. 12 through the week of Feb. 27, 2023. To apply, visit https://arrowheadcenter.org/program/nm-fast/acsa/acsa-doe/.
To learn more about NM CERG, visit https://arrowheadcenter.org/program/nmcerg/.