TechLink Center Receives FAST Award

Montana State University’s TechLink Center has been awarded a federal grant to expand its assistance to technology-related businesses across Montana.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced on September 18, 2020, that it had awarded a Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program grant for $125,000 to fund TechLink’s Montana Innovation Partnership. Montana is one of 24 states to receive a FAST grant for the upcoming fiscal year. Grants are awarded through a competitive application process. Montana has received this grant in eight of the last 10 years. 

FAST partners provide outreach, financial support, and technical assistance to next generation research and development (R&D) focused small businesses. The program places particular emphasis on helping women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and applicants from underrepresented or rural areas compete in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

“Montana State University is committed to addressing the world’s greatest challenges through opportunities for Montana entrepreneurs,” said Brett Cusker, executive director of TechLink. “Our FAST partnership plays an important role in Montana’s technology-based economic development by helping Montana small businesses learn about and compete for early-stage R&D funding through the SBIR and STTR programs.”

Montana small technology firms will have access to no-cost proposal writing workshops, events with National SBIR program managers, webinars to learn more about intellectual property, market research and commercialization strategies for early-stage technology, and expert guidance and proposal reviews from Montana Innovation Partnership consultants. TechLink assistance is also designed to help businesses in rural areas and those owned by women and socially or economically disadvantaged inventors to navigate the unfamiliar world of federal R&D funding for small businesses.

TechLink’s FAST program receives matching funds from Montana State University and the Montana Department of Commerce (Commerce).  “Commerce is pleased to support TechLink’s outreach and services for Montana’s technology start-ups,” noted Wayne Johnston, bureau chief of the Montana Business Assistance Bureau. “SBIR and STTR funding has been an important source of start-up capital for many of Montana’s successful technology businesses; companies that are now providing high-paying jobs here in the state.”

The MSU TechLink Center is integrated with MSU’s land-grant mission and economic development outreach. In addition to its SBIR outreach program, TechLink is the authorized, nationally focused technology transfer partnership intermediary for the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. The center also manages MSU’s Technology Transfer Office and a software engineering and analysis laboratory.

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