View Original Post Here | Writer: Cassie McClure, McClure Publications | April 13, 2020

Two participants speak during the 2019 WE Mean Business Conference hosted by Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University. Applications for this year’s WESprint business accelerator will be accepted until April 20. (Courtesy photo)

For New Mexico women entrepreneurs, it is time to apply to the five-week business accelerator at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center. Created in part thanks to the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the WESprint program will accept applications until April 20.

The accelerator will run from May 13 to June 10. In 2019, the SBA announced Arrowhead Center as one of its winners for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, enabling the entrepreneurial hub to start a women-focused business accelerator with a $50,000 award.

The accelerator will test the feasibility of their ideas and explore funding opportunities through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Participants in WE can receive travel stipends to attend workshops and conferences and microgrants up to $1,500 to cover expenses typically tied to startups, like hiring a patent lawyer to solidify and protect emerging and new technologies.

“Arrowhead Center is a place for what we call inspiration capital,” said Dana DeRego Catron, director of Arrowhead Accelerator Programs. “We want to connect women entrepreneurs who are starting out and building their business with women and men who have a record of being successful in launching companies and securing investments. Our network of advisors is focused on creating a strong female-led push for economic development in New Mexico.”

The SBA coordinates the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provide more than $3.7 billion in early stage and seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.

“SBIR/STTR funding is one the only sources of equity-free capital for early stage technologies,” said Catron. “Arrowhead is excited to explore how participants in our first WESprint can take advantage of these programs.”

Contact Isabella Pedicone at iped@nmsu.edu to learn more about or apply for WE Sprint at https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/program/sprints/wesprint/