Montana State University

Two MSU TechLink leaders receive Champion of Small Business Innovation awards

July 26, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Will Swearingen receiving the Champion of Small Business Innovation award given by the Small Business Technology Council, June 2016. Ray Friesenhahn, Swearingen's co-awardee, was unable to attend the award ceremony. Photo courtesy Small Business Technology Council.

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BOZEMAN -- Will Swearingen, executive director, and Ray Friesenhahn, senior technology manager and Small Business Innovation Research outreach manager of Montana State University’s TechLink, recently received Champion of Small Business Innovation awards from the Small Business Technology Council in Washington, D.C.  

The awards were given for exemplary work on behalf of the nation’s Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, community. SBIR is a highly competitive, government-mandated program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research/research and development that has the potential for commercialization, according to the website.  SBIR also encourages competition among small businesses, which it said stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship in the community while helping to meet specific research and development needs.

Swearingen and Friesenhahn were the principal authors of a 2014 economic impact study of the Air Force SBIR program, the first-ever comprehensive economic impact study of any federal SBIR program.  The study was used in testimony before Congress as support for the reauthorization of the entire federal SBIR program. 

TechLink is a center under the Office of Research and Economic Development at MSU and funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Defense to help the defense research laboratories to license innovations to small businesses in order to develop products for U.S. and global markets.

Contact: Chandra Morris, TechLink, (406) 994-7702 or