Commerce Connection

montana department of commerce
Red Ants Pants Music Festival

Special Event Grant Application Cycle Opens Feb. 1

A special application cycle of tourism event grants will open on Feb. 1. The grant awards of $5,000-$25,000 are to support an event being held in Montana before June 30, 2021. The purpose of this grant is to attract non-resident or out-of-area resident visitors to the event, enhancing attendance and increasing visitor-generated revenues.

To prepare for this special application cycle for events only, attend one of our events application workshops on Tuesday, January 28 at 2:00 p.m. and Wednesday, February 5 at 10:00 a.m. The workshop will include an overview of the program, who is eligible, what types of events qualify, and a timeline of the application cycle. Register here for the workshop.

Awards will be based on the number of total applications received, in addition to a review and evaluation process led by Montana Department of Commerce staff and a member of the Tourism Advisory Council. 

See the 2019 event grant recipients here.

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Governor Bullock Announces almost $1.4 Million in Funding to Create Jobs and Grow Main Street Businesses

Governor Steve Bullock today announced that almost $1.4 million will be available to support growing Main Street businesses to train new workers and create up to 221 jobs.

“Montana businesses are the backbone of a strong economy for our state and job opportunities for Montana workers,” Governor Bullock said. “Investing in the future of Montana means investing in the future of Montana businesses, and that’s exactly what these funds will do.”

A total of $1,255,000 will be awarded through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Job Creation Program at the Montana Department of Commerce. Additionally, four businesses will receive a total of $130,900 in Workforce Training Grant funding to train new workers. These competitive reimbursement programs help to support long-term, sustainable business growth.

Click here to see the complete list of awardees.


29 Montana Communities to Receive Planning Grants

The Montana Department of Commerce announced Thursday that 29 Montana communities will share more than $900,000 of federal grant funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program. These grants will support the planning of critical infrastructure and community development projects in Montana. 

“Planning is at the foundation of building healthy and vibrant communities,” Commerce Director Tara Rice said. “These planning grants will help Montana communities develop and preserve affordable homes, plan for community projects, and create and retain jobs.” 

See the complete list of planning grant awardees here.


New Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program Accepting Applications

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 Missoula Will Host 2020 Innovate Montana Symposium

Governor Steve Bullock announced that Missoula will host the fifth annual Innovate Montana Symposium, a speaker series and networking event for Montana entrepreneurs, on September 24 and 25 ahead of homecoming weekend.

“The Innovate Montana Symposium offers entrepreneurs, whether seasoned experts or first-time business owners, tangible tools and resources to confidently start and successfully grow their venture,” Governor Bullock said. “Innovate connects new businesses with some of the most successful leaders in the state to bolster Montana’s entrepreneurial and industrious spirit, and will offer business leaders networking, mentorship, and educational opportunities.”

In its fifth and final year under Governor Bullock’s Administration, attendees will hear from top business leaders in the state and across the country. The Innovate Montana Symposium is being co-hosted this year by the Missoula Economic Partnership (MEP), the public-private entity responsible for economic development in Missoula and Missoula County. 

Missoula has experienced incredible recent investment in their downtown, with new startups, restaurants, and expanding businesses eager to call Missoula home. The two day event will allow attendees to tour through Missoula’s thriving downtown attractions, explore business clusters, and meet some of the top business people in Montana and beyond.


Montana 2020 Census PSAs Now Airing

Montana’s first Census 2020 public service announcement started airing on broadcast television and radio stations statewide this week.

The “About the 2020 Census” is the first of four PSAs that will be released by the State Complete Count Committee. “About the 2020 Census” features Montana veterans and public safety officers as they explain why responding to the Census is so important.

Distributed by the Montana Broadcasters Association, these public service announcements will also be available for individual download and distribution on CENSUS.MT.GOVFacebookYouTube, and Vimeo.

Three additional PSAs will be released between now and when the count begins in mid-March. These spots will be available in :30 second and :60 second radio and TV ads.

Tourism Awards Nominations Open Until 2/16

Recognize your peers with a Tourism Award nomination. 

These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that strengthen Montana's tourism and recreation industries. Nominations are open until February 16, 2020

Winners and finalists will be honored at the Tourism Award Banquet on April 27, 2020 in Billings as part of the Governor's Conference on Tourism and Recreation on April 26-28, 2020. 

Now Hiring Skiing


We're hiring an Outreach Coordinator to provide a comprehensive, strategic plan for promoting awareness, partnerships, and statewide representation of and engagement with the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund program.

Learn more and apply here:

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Funding Opportunities

  • The Tourism Grant Program is opening a special cycle of event grants on Feb. 1. Application deadline is March 1. Learn more here.
  • ExportMontana has grant dollars available to help companies translate promotional materials into foreign languages. Learn more an apply 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.
  • Agriculture Innovation Center grants are available from USDA. Learn more and apply here.

Save the Dates

  • MADE IN MONTANA TRADESHOW | March 13-14 at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena | MADEINMONTANAUSA.COM
  • SBDC DAY | March 18 | Billings + Nationwide
  • EQUAL PAY DAY | March 31 | Statewide
  • CENSUS DAY | April 1 | Statewide
  • INNOVATE MONTANA SYMPOSIUM | Sept. 24-25, Missoula

Governor Bullock Craft Malt Ribbon Cutting

Governor Bullock Celebrates Launch of Montana Craft Malt

Governor Steve Bullock recently celebrated the completion of construction of Montana Craft Malt, a facility that will produce 10,000 tons of malt per year from world-class Montana-grown barley.

“It’s no secret that Montana’s craft beer industry is thriving, and the state’s growers continue to produce some of the highest quality grain in the world,” Governor Bullock said. “The Montana Craft Malt facility will capitalize on both strengths to help the state’s breweries deliver products that are made in Montana from seed to a pint glass and elevate Montana grown products to an international level.”

Governor Bullock was joined by Commerce Director Tara Rice and Montana Malt Craft President Jennifer O’Brien to celebrate the completion of the facility after two years of construction. Montana Craft Malt seeks to capitalize on the high quality and quantity of barley grown in Montana and supply specialty malt to the booming brewing industry in Montana, across the country, and internationally.

“Montana Craft Malt’s story is a perfect example of how the Department of Commerce is supporting business growth from an idea to a realized innovation, and every step along that path,”Commerce Director Rice said. “I’m proud to say this is a project borne out of Commerce research and supported by a variety of business development grant and technical assistance programs. I have no doubt Montana grown specialty malt will soon be found in craft brews around the globe.”

The project was inspired after the Research and Information Services Bureau at the Montana Department of Commerce completed a market analysis report in 2014 and has been supported by the agency with grants and technical assistance. The report was presented to Butte agri-businessman Ron Ueland, who personally invested and developed the project. Ueland used the report as guidance when seeking investment, financing, and assessing potential markets. Construction of the 30,000-square-foot facility began in 2018 and was continued by Ueland’s daughter Jennifer O’Brien after her father died in May of 2018.

“This project is enormous, and construction has taken almost two years, with extraordinary circumstances around every corner. The impossible was made possible through partnerships with public and private entities at the local, state, and federal levels,” O’Brien said. “We're all incredibly proud of what we've been able to do together. This facility represents a lot more than just malt.”

Continue reading the story here.