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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Montana Economic Revitalization and Development Institute


Butte, Montana

Project Name

Manufacturing Consortium of Montana Mansfield Prototyping Center



Award Amount


Matching Amount


The Manufacturing Consortium of Montana has determined that gaps in outreach and mentoring programs and in prototyping capabilities prevent Montana’s manufacturing sector from flourishing.  MERDI will address these gaps at the Mansfield Prototyping Center (housed at the Mike Mansfield Advanced Technology Center), which incorporates a mixed-use business incubator and a machine shop makerspace focused on assisting high-growth entrepreneurial manufacturers in taking their operations to the next level.

The requested EDA i6 Challenge funding will strengthen and enhance the Mansfield Center’s ability to offer early stage prototyping (technology readiness levels 3-6) of fledgling manufacturers to assist them with prototype development, proof-of-concept assistance, business mentoring, and product commercialization assistance.  Once a Mansfield Prototyping Center client outgrows the Center, they graduate to the Montana Connections Industrial Park for full-scale production and distribution of their manufactured products.  Outreach, networking, and partnerships are essential elements for the viability and sustainability of Mansfield Prototyping Center.

With this approach, which addresses both business and technology gaps in Montana’s rural economic ecosystem, MERDI’s programs aim to foster an entrepreneurial culture that will allow small businesses—the lifeblood of rural communities—to develop and grow.