Commerce Connection

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Big Hole

New Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program is Now Open

The Montana Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program. The new grant program is designed to support the preservation of historical sites, societies and museums in Montana.

With awards of up to $500,000 for each eligible grant recipient, the funding will be used to improve historical sites, historical societies or history museums in Montana.

Applications are due by Feb. 28, 2020. Grant recipients will be determined by the Montana Legislature during the 2021 legislative session. 

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Governor Bullock Announces $320,000 in Grants to Native American Businesses

Governor Steve Bullock has awarded $320,000 in funding to support the growth of 25 Native American-owned businesses across Montana through the Indian Equity Fund Small Business Grant program.

“Encouraging the growth of Native American-owned and operated businesses boosts not only the businesses themselves, but also helps strengthen local economies in the communities they operate in,” Governor Bullock said. “Indian Equity Fund dollars are an important investment in the future of businesses and tribal communities across Montana.”

Each business will receive between $7,000 and $14,000 to help with costs related to land purchases, building, equipment, assets, technology, operational costs, and working capital. See the full list of grant recipients here.

Circle Finance

Reminder: Annual Update to Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation Grants

New average wage rates affecting the next round of applications for funding through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Job Creation Program are available now.

Local and tribal governments applying for funding on behalf of new or growing businesses to create good-paying, permanent jobs in Montana should check whether wage rates for their county have changed. Visit the BSTF website to determine the correct matching wage rate when applying for funding. Also check to see if your county qualifies for a higher award and match rate.

The annually updated wage rates are based on average wage data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

The next application deadline for funding through the BSTF Job Creation Grant Program is March 11, 2020. 

For application guidance or further information, contact Annmarie Robinson at 406.841.2250.


Governor Bullock Announces New Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

Governor Steve Bullock recently announced the release of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which will provide the state with a five-year strategic framework for identifying trends, issues, and challenges facing the state’s outdoor recreation and natural resources and offers recommendations for outdoor recreation priorities across the state.

“It’s no secret that Montana is an incredible place to live, work, play and raise a family. The quality of life that our state offers is second to none, with unparalleled access to world class recreational opportunities,” Governor Bullock said. “The plan addresses how we, as a state, can protect and enhance the outdoor recreation assets that sustain our economy and our livelihoods and support opportunities for residents and visitors alike.”

Learn more and read the plan here.


Small Business Workshops Available 

The Montana SBDC Network offers a wide variety of training and workshops for small businesses in all phases of business development, from start-ups to those looking at growth and expansion. Click here for a list of popular training offered in the SBDC Network.

Re-launched Census 2020 Website!

Visit the re-launched Montana Census 2020 website featuring easy-to-find resources, social media graphics, talking points, and an interactive map of "Be Counted" locations.

Recently, 11 new fact sheets and flyers were added in the “Resources” section. They include flyers geared toward complete count committees, group housing, military, college students, rural healthcare, children, and security. Additional flyers will continue to be added on a regular basis in the following weeks.  

Coming soon: Video and radio public service announcements! 

Census homepage

Billings Rims

Registration is now open to attend the 2020 Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation!

The annual conference celebrates and advances Montana’s thriving tourism and recreation economy. This year’s conference will be in Billings from April 26-28. Hundreds of stakeholders from across the state are expected to attend.

Tourism and recreation contribute billions of dollars to Montana’s economy each year. Last year, 12.4 million non-resident visitors traveled to Montana and spent an estimated $3.7 billion in state. That was a nearly 11 percent increase in visitor spending from 2017.

Additionally, the outdoor recreation industry in Montana generates $7.1 billion in consumer spending and supports more than 71,000 jobs. According to a report released this fall, Montana recently ranked second in the nation for the impact outdoor recreation has on the state’s economy.

Register and find more details at MTGOVERNORSCONFERENCE.COM.

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Funding Opportunities

  • ExportMontana has grant dollars available to help companies translate promotional materials into foreign languages. Learn more an apply here.
  • The Montana Coal Board is accepting grant applications until Jan. 27, 2020 for its March 12 meeting. Application materials are available here.
  • The DNRC Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program (RRGL) is accepting planning grant applications. Register and apply at The current grant cycle closes Jan. 31, 2020.

Save the Dates

  • MADE IN MONTANA TRADESHOW | March 13-14 at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena | MADEINMONTANAUSA.COM
  • EQUAL PAY DAY | March 31 | Statewide
  • CENSUS DAY | April 1 | Statewide