UAF Partnership Wins SBIR Catalyst Award

November 9, 2021

Catalyst Map
The SBIR catalyst award partnership includes UAF, University of Idaho, Montana State University, and New Mexico State University.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is among four universities that will receive federal grants of $150,000 to help minority business owners access funding for research and development.

The Mesas to Mountains program is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research Catalyst program. The initiative addresses current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color, women entrepreneurs and rural communities.

UAF’s’ Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (Center ICE) is collaborating with the University of Idaho, the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, and TechLink at Montana State University to assist small businesses in those universities’ home states. The effort will begin in spring 2022.

“We’re thrilled to bring the combined SBIR expertise of New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho and Montana to small businesses owned by Alaska’s underrepresented populations, which have enormous potential to take a lead in defining Alaska’s future economy,” said Mark Billingsley, director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization, and director of the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.

In Alaska, less than 12 percent of small businesses are owned by women and minorities. Through the Mesas to Mountains program, Center ICE will help those underserved populations by offering mentorship, training and guidance to help the business owners submit successful grant proposals.

The program will provide support to help minority business owners access federal funding for research and development, helping them start or grow their business and increase their probability of success.

For more information, contact Project Manager Evelyn Jacome at