New NM law expands labs' business assistance program - Albuquerque Journal

New NM law expands labs’ business assistance program

SANDIA LABS PHOTO/RANDY MONTOYA
This 2012 file photo shows Albuquerque ER physician Scott Forman, left, and Sandia engineer Mark Reece looking over a prototype of improved trauma shears they worked on together as part of the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program.

Starting Monday, Sandia National Laboratories will be able to greatly expand its services to New Mexico small businesses seeking technical assistance.

A new state law doubles the cap on the value of services Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories can offer companies seeking help in fields ranging from engineering to material sciences from $10,000 to $20,000 for businesses in urban counties and from $20,000 to $40,000 for businesses in rural counties

Genaro Montoya, program manager for the small business assistance program at Sandia, said the change allows the labs to work with small businesses on more complicated projects for longer periods of time.

“It’s been well over a decade that the levels of allocation increased,” Montoya said.

In 2000, the Laboratory Partnership with Small Business Tax Credit Act, which designated tax credits to allow Sandia — and later Los Alamos — to partner with New Mexico-based small businesses to solve a wide range of technical challenges.

Montoya said companies, ranging from engineering firms to breweries, seeking assistance can submit a request to one of the labs. Once they determine that the companies meet the program qualifications, a project manager from one of the labs will assess the scope of work and find a lab employee who meets the qualifications .

To date, Sandia has provided $38.8 million in technical assistance to 2,263 businesses through the program since 2000. The overall program has contributed $62.5 million in technical assistance, according to the program website. Still, Montoya said the funding cap hasn’t expanded since 2007, and work has gotten more expensive since then.

“Just inflation alone ate away at it,” he said. “We’re just bringing it up to date.”

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