The Montana State University Bozeman College of Business celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West on April 17. Area business, university and legislative leaders as well as students and faculty attended the event which officially opened the Center, and gave the community a better understanding of the strengths the Center will bring to economic development in Montana.

An important focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West is the commercialization of science and technology that exists on the MSU campus. Research in agriculture, biotechnology and other technical fields are potentially important economic factors in the Gallatin Valley.

What sets the MSU entrepreneurship center apart from any other in the nation is the partnerships with TechRanch and TechLink. The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West is located inside TechRanch, a Montana technology venture center established to support the development of entrepreneurship and new technology ventures in the state of Montana. TechRanch's focus on the development of Montana based businesses creates an ideal learning environment for the students of MSU. Currently, students from the Center are working with a number of TechRanch's entrepreneurs, including a plant scientist, a software developer, a language translation firm and a chemist working on cancer therapies.

An MSU federally funded affiliate, TechLink has a mission to use technology developed within various federal agencies to stimulate economic development in the region. The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West will work with TechLink client firms in assessing the business promise of these new technologies.

While TechRanch provides MSU students with the environment, assistance, and connection to entrepreneurs, TechRanch entrepreneurs provide the will and the drive to achieve success. The MSU students assist the entrepreneur with the development of their organization, and learn first-hand about start-up businesses.

This fall, the College of Business will add a new minor field of study in Entrepreneurship. This minor will be available to all MSU students, regardless of their major. Students from all majors across campus will have the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills, to increase their ability to work with start-ups, and to strengthen their ability to start a new organization should they so desire.

"Students of Montana have a great entrepreneurial spirit and have a great desire to stay in Montana," said Rick Semenik, the Dean of the College of Business. The concept of teaching students from the ground up how to start and nurture a successful business in Montana will encourage the student to someday plan and begin their own business, which in turn will have a positive impact on Montana's economy.