Marc Eichenberger

Hi Marc, tell us about UNHInnovation.  What is its mission – its reason for being?

UNH Innovation logo

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) represents the state’s showcase university and is a top tier “R1” research university. UNHInnovation (UNHI) advocates for and manages the transfer of UNH-derived ideas to the public to maximize their social and economic impact. UNHI protects, promotes, and manages UNH's innovations, supports start-up companies based on UNH’s intellectual property, and develops new opportunities for university and industry collaboration.

UNH has an active community of about 18,000 persons and approximately $140 million of research every year. UNH is a land-, sea- and space-grant university meaning we have research, activities, and resources in all these areas.  We have numerous opportunities to partner given leading edge faculty, facilities, and programs.

How does UNHInnovation help businesses in New Hampshire?

UNHInnovation serves as the front door to the university for our partners in the business community. Given the size and scope of the university, we serve as connector and facilitator between the university and industry. On the research front, we help companies design innovative and creative technology solutions. We provide access to student interns and full-time hires as well as to credit, certificate, and customized employee training programs. A variety of facilities and centers provide leading edge equipment and resources such as our Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center, our Veterinary Lab, farms, genomics center, incubator and marine facilities to name a few.  

Entrepreneurship is a major thrust of UNHI and our ECenter provides programs and competitions for our student and faculty population. Through programs like FOSTER (see below) and in conjunction with the SBDC we provide advice and access to facilities that would potentially otherwise be cost prohibitive for NH small businesses.

Tell us more about the FOSTER program for small businesses interested in SBIR/STTR grants.

SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grants represent a roughly $4 billion federal program and are a valuable source of non-dilutive funding for New Hampshire (NH) small technology businesses with less than 500 employees.


FOSTER offers small NH businesses a variety of services including grant identification, training, advice, and proposal support. For select companies, a competitive microgrant program is available to offer direct proposal development assistance. FOSTER also includes an important mandate to support underserved communities such as women- and minority-owned businesses, and rural as well as socially-economically disadvantaged companies. All services are free.

The SBIR/STTR program represents a great way for companies to receive needed capital to develop and build their products. To learn more, please view the FOSTER website at

How does UNHInnovation partner with the NH SBDC?

UNHI partners with the NH SBDC in a number of ways. Let me share some examples:

  • Select business planning and related activities are best provided by the SBDC, which has the resources, processes, and expertise to provide these services
  • Support for “Main Street” businesses represents a capability that in general does not reside in the university but fits well with SBDC’s mandate and resources
  • We coordinate on various outreach activities to maximize the impact of training, events, and other programs
  • SBDC leadership sits on the FOSTER program management team and is key to implementation of the program

These are just some of the ways our two organizations partner to support NH small businesses.

Marc, as Interim Associate Vice Provost for Innovation and New Ventures at UNHInnovation, tell us a bit about yourself and your role.

headshot Marc Eichenberger

My background fits well the mission of UNHI which is to maximize the social and economic benefits of UNH talent, research, and resources for our state and beyond.

For over 10 years, I served as the chief operating officer of an IP (Intellectual Property) commercialization and venture firm. There we licensed technologies from US universities and national labs in order to create products and companies based on this leading research. My experiences in innovation span both life sciences and technology and cut across all functional areas.

Prior, I spent over a decade in management consulting advising mid-size and Fortune 500 companies on a variety of strategy, operations, and supply chain issues. My clients represented a spectrum of aerospace, high-technology, services, and industrial companies. 

If a business owner is interested in connecting with UNHInnovation, whom should they contact?

The easiest way to connect with us is to reach out directly to Heather Gordon, who works with UNHI’s corporate engagement, and me. Our emails are:

Thank you for telling us more about UNHInnovation, Marc. We at NH SBDC look forward to continuing to partner with you to help NH businesses.

For more info on the UNHInnovation, visit