BOZEMAN — As part of a multistate collaboration funded with a new grant, Montana State University’s TechLink Center will expand its work to help small businesses apply for federal research and development funding to bring their innovative ideas to the marketplace.

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With $150,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Techlink and its collaborating partners will offer the Mesas to Mountains program to guide participants in applying for early-stage seed capital through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and explore opportunities to learn about technologies available for licensing from federally funded research labs and universities. These programs help businesses develop and commercialize new technologies.

Mountains to Mesas, which is led by the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University in partnership with Techlink as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Idaho, will include two virtual cohorts starting in early 2022 and a two-day virtual event next August with opportunities to meet one-on-one with technology transfer managers from several federally funded research labs and university partners. Participants will also receive one-on-one guidance and personalized mentorship.

“We are excited to expand opportunities for Montana’s rural and underrepresented tech innovators,” said Ann Peterson, program director for Montana Innovation Partnership, which is housed in TechLink and administers the SBIR/STTR assistance.

The funding is a result of the team recently being named one of eight winners of SBA’s SBIR Catalyst competition, which is aimed at addressing current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color, women entrepreneurs and rural communities. In August, Techlink won $125,000 from SBA to continue to offer additional forms of SBIR/STTR assistance.

For more information and to register, contact Ann Peterson at or 406-994-7788. The deadline for registration is Feb. 25.

- by Marshall Swearingen, MSU News Service -

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