Partner Spotlight: Congratulations to MSU, 406 Labs, and Early Stage Montana

Partner Spotlight: Congratulations to MSU, 406 Labs, and Early Stage Montana

Shelby Morris, MTIP Program Specialist

Montana State University isn’t just located in a beautiful part of the country, it’s also situated in an ecosystem with the potential for high tech companies to reach commercial success. Shelby Morris, MTIP’s program specialist, had a chance to sit down with Daniel Juliano about the i6 Challenge and what this means for Montana. Juliano, head of MSU’s Technology Transfer Office, recognized Montana’s regional capabilities and sought out an impressive grant that would coalesce inventors, the university, and commercial interests, to give this region a jump start. The i6 Challenge competition is part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration Regional Innovation Strategies Program. The goal is to leverage private and public funding to streamline the growth of innovative high-tech companies.

The $750,000 award will be spread out over three years with the intention of creating a self-sufficient environment by the end of the term. Juliano remarks that Montana is in a prime position to receive the award as MSU is a premier technical university focused on science and engineering stationed close to Next Frontier Capital, Montana’s largest venture capital fund, surrounded by the efforts of non-profit mentorship for high tech startups kindled by Early Stage Montana. The opportunity for job creation across the state will be completely supported by the efforts of this grant.

Currently, there’s a disconnect between promising technologies developed by Montana companies in the lab and venture capital investment. Often times prototypes don’t exist yet or there is no workable business plan. Dollars from the grant will ultimately create a machine to support ideas through the life-cycle; from conception to commercialization.

For MTIP this is very exciting as the SBIR/STTR program works with the end goal of commercialization. MTIP will be a part of the collaboration to help Montana innovators connect to this growth machine.

Read more here.



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