The National Science Foundation recently recognized the potential for the Montana State University-Bozeman College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West, and awarded the program a grant of $600,000, $116,500 going directly to the College of Business Center. The strategy from the onset was to partner resources and students from the College with two Bozeman based businesses, TechRanch and TechLink and provide a center for entrepreneurs who could significantly contribute to the economic development of Montana. In return, the program provides a framework for an outstanding educational experience for the MSU-Bozeman students. From the beginning, the model developed for the Center was unique and potent.

Richard Semenik, Dean of MSU-Bozeman College of Business had this to say about the grant, "We are honored that the National Science Foundation has found our program in entrepreneurship worthy of funding. This is one of the most prestigious federal funding agencies and their standards are very, very high.

The focus of the overall grant was the "Grow Your Own" program which focuses on the commercialization of MSU science. The Center's role in providing student research through course work offered in Management 463 is a key element of the grow your own program. Another significant part of the Center is facilitating the commercialization of science and technology that exists on the MSU campus, especially since agriculture, biotechnology and science areas are important economic factors in the Gallatin Valley and University research.

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.

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.

Will Swearigin of TechLink was the PI and main author of the grant. Mike Reilly, College of Business faculty member and John O'Donnell, Executive Director of TechRanch were key sources in the preparation of the grant.

The Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West is fast gaining momentum and is being recognized as a leading educational program. The affiliation with NSF is a solid validation of the Center's model and the key to the continuing success of the program.