RELEASE: Montana’s Small Business Development Centers Support Statewide Business Growth, Job Creation

montana department of commerce
 Steve Hix, owner of Action Plumbing Plus, Inc. in Great Falls

Steve Hix, owner of Action Plumbing Plus, Inc. in Great Falls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

Emilie Ritter Saunders | | 406.841.2557
Samantha Offerdahl | | 406.841.2893

Montana’s Small Business Development Centers Support Statewide Business Growth, Job Creation

New Report Shows Montana SBDCs Across the State Supported Launch of 61 New Businesses, 2,300 Jobs in 2019

HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Commerce today released a new report showing that Montana Small Business Development Centers supported more than 2,300 jobs last year through assisting small business growth across the state.

“Small businesses strengthen local economies, create jobs and contribute to our state’s overall economic health,” said Commerce Director Tara Rice. “Montana’s Small Business Development Centers are at the vanguard of small business growth, serving as a no-cost resource to turn an idea into an opportunity.”

Montana’s SBDC network, which is made up of 10 satellite offices across the state and is headquartered at the Department of Commerce, also assisted Montana entrepreneurs in successfully launching 61 new businesses in 2019.

One of those businesses is Trovare, a high-quality cooking supply store in Whitefish. Trovare’s owner, Julie Hickethier, relied on the expertise at the Kalispell Regional SBDC led by Dan Gorton to start her business. She opened her doors to customers in November 2019.

“Dan Gorton challenged my thinking, urged me to explore more profitable options, probed my level of confidence in assumptions, and independently analyzed data,” Hickethier said. “He offered suggestions, unbiased criticism, and essentially helped me develop a solid plan. It’s people like Dan who help people like me turn a dream into a reality.”

Montana is consistently one of the top states in the nation for entrepreneurial activity. In 2019, the state ranked number one in the U.S. for the share of the workforce employed by small businesses.

Since forming in 1989, the Montana SBDC Network has provided free business assistance, supporting more than 29,000 entrepreneurs through technical assistance, business planning and access to capital.

In 2019, Montana’s SBDCs helped small businesses obtain 102 loans, resulting in almost $29 million in financing.

Another Montana business, Missouri Breaks Brewing in Wolf Point, is expanding the brewery’s production to begin distributing their beer across Montana, with the help of the Wolf Point Regional SBDC.

The brewery’s owner, Dr. Mike Zilkoski, said, “I have relied on the expertise the SBDC has provided me for financial projections, business planning and loan packaging. We would not have been able to expand to reach our production goals without their assistance.”

Find additional SBDC success stories from across the state this year in the 2019 Annual Report. The following small businesses have shared their 2019 success stories:

The Montana SBDC Network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Montana Department of Commerce. For more information, visit SBDC.MT.GOV.