BOZEMAN — With a new grant, Montana State University’s TechLink Center will continue to help small businesses apply for federal research and development funding to bring their innovative ideas to the marketplace.

The $125,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration will support TechLink’s ongoing assistance to Montana businesses who can benefit from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which provide early-stage seed capital to help businesses develop and commercialize new technologies.

“At the end of the day, our small business clients are doing the hard work to bring innovative products to market to address critically important problems facing our nation,” said Ann Peterson, program director for Montana Innovation Partnership, which is housed in TechLink and offers the assistance. “Our role is to help these companies tell their innovation story and navigate the SBIR process to tap into this valuable source of seed funding.”

In the past year, the SBIR/STTR programs have distributed roughly $4 billion in early-stage seed capital through more than 7,000 awards to small businesses nationwide. TechLink has helped Montana businesses secure more than $20 million from the programs in the past three years.

TechLink “has an impressive track record in helping Montana tech-entrepreneurs win SBIR/STTR awards,” said Wayne Johnston, business assistance bureau chief at the Montana Department of Commerce, noting that TechLink’s success rate for the awards is more than double the national average.

TechLink’s program, which is offered free to Montana businesses, has grown in the past three years to include resources and trainings designed to help under-represented entrepreneurs successfully prepare their first SBIR/STTR proposals, Peterson said. Women-owned, veteran-owned, rural and other under-represented tech businesses make up more than 35 percent of clients, she said.

The new grant through SBA’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership will allow TechLink to offer quarterly workshops and intensive proposal preparation assistance. The funding will also enable six microgrants to help applicants defray some of the costs involved with preparing competitive proposals. TechLink will continue providing dedicated consulting on agency requirements, intellectual property and technology commercialization as well as collaborations with mentors and expert SBIR proposal reviews.

“Promoting SBIR goes hand in hand with our mission,” said Brett Cusker, TechLink’s executive director. “Our expertise helps Montanans learn how to leverage SBIR/STTR funding to launch new companies, solving our most salient technological challenges while setting the stage for Montana’s future economic growth.”

The new TechLink funding was one of 33 FAST grants awarded nationwide. In addition to its SBIR/STTR outreach program, TechLink is the authorized, nationally focused technology transfer partnership intermediary for the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. TechLink is integrated with MSU’s land-grant mission and economic development outreach and also manages MSU’s Technology Transfer Office.

For more information about SBIR/STTR, visit To learn more about the Montana Innovation Partnership at TechLink and to request assistance, visit or email Ann Peterson at