Commerce Connection

montana department of commerce

Welcome, Director Osterman!

Scott Osterman

Scott Osterman is a visionary leader with a private sector background of guiding successful strategy and execution to realize growth, develop strong partnerships and lead companies through transition.

Osterman is a north central Montana native whose roots date back to an 1860s miner’s cabin on Helena’s Last Chance Gulch and to an 1880s homestead in the Missouri Breaks. Mostly recently, Osterman served as senior director of business unit operations at Applied Materials in Kalispell.

Over the course of his 30-year career, Osterman has served as a senior executive in Fortune 500 companies and venture start-ups in the semiconductor, automobile, and high-tech hardware and software industries. His broad experience in business includes strategic planning, rapid growth initiatives, operations, sales, market development, and turnaround execution.

Osterman is a graduate of the University of Montana and continued his graduate studies at Washington State University.

New Film Office Website Goes Live

MFO Homepage

The Montana Film Office is very excited to announce its newly designed website! We wanted to make the new website easier to navigate, more user-friendly, and more appealing to producers and filmmakers worldwide looking to make Montana their Ultimate Location.

We aspire to provide our clients and partners with the most accurate, up-to-date information while maintaining focus on our mission to enhance Montana’s economy by: expanding film production in the state, advertising Montana as open for business, increasing job opportunities, promoting the growth of small businesses, and promoting tourism.

Producers have come to depend on the Montana Film Office to help navigate permitting, regulation processes, and location nuances. And we are thrilled to showcase our new website to aid in that endeavor.

Our web address has not changed – you’ll still find us at MONTANAFILM.COM

SBDC Montana

Commerce Department, Prospera Business Network Announce New Small Business Development Center Partnership

The Montana Department of Commerce today announced that the Prospera Business Network will join the Montana Small Business Development Center Network. The local business and community development nonprofit will continue to serve Gallatin and Park counties in its new capacity.

The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, headquartered at the Montana Department of Commerce, consists of 10 centers across the state. The SBDC offers no-cost technical assistance for entrepreneurs to start a new business or to help small businesses navigate new or existing demands.

"We are excited for Prospera to join the SBDC team,” said Chad Moore, SBDC State Director. “This partnership with the Montana SBDC will be an incredible asset to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the region they serve.”

As part of the new partnership, former business owner Jeff Turczyn (pictured right) will join the Montana SBDC Network as the Southwest Montana Regional Director. Owner and manager of the Lone Mountain Gymnastics and Swim School for 21 years, Jeff orchestrated a major expansion of the business that earned him Entrepreneur of The Year in 2008 from the Prospera Business Network. After selling his business in 2017 Jeff is now excited to be joining the Prospera Business Network and using his knowledge to assist the small business community in Gallatin and Park counties.

“Prospera has a high demand for our business development services,” said Paul Reichert, Prospera’s Executive Director. “Hosting the SBDC will increase our capacity to help businesses navigate their plans to stabilize, pivot, or expand. The SBDC will make a big positive impact for our region.”

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. In 2019, the SBDC Network helped launch 61 new businesses, supported 2,303 jobs in Montana and helped small business owners launch or grow their companies by working with clients to access more than $28 million in financing.

Prospera Business Network is the leading non-profit organization advancing and supporting community-centered economic development in southwest Montana. Prospera is also formally designated as Gallatin and Park County’s Certified Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) by the Department of Commerce, and is the official home of the Montana Women’s Business Center (WBC), a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Learn more about Prospera at and request an appointment with Jeff at

For more information about the Small Business Development Center Network, visit SBDC.MT.GOV.


Emergency Rental Assistance Program Coming Soon 

Montanans who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for rent and utility assistance. 

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program is being developed following the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which became law on December 27, 2020. We are assessing the legislation, reviewing newly released guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department, and awaiting action required by the Montana Legislature. Additional information will be updated as it becomes available, including the application launch date once determined.

Renters can prepare for the application now by filing their 2020 taxes, and landlords should prepare a W-9.


Registration for the 2021 Housing Partnership Virtual Conference is now open!
May 18-19, 2021

The Montana Housing Partnership Conference is a highly anticipated event for housing authorities, community development agencies and affordable housing developers in Montana.

This year’s virtual conference will use the Whova platform, which offers features allowing for ease-of-use and networking among peers and sponsors. It also allows participants the opportunity to return to the platform to view content from sessions they may have missed.

The conference will include more than 20 session opportunities, with topics such as:

  • Renters, Landlords and Eviction Prevention
  • Homeownership Solutions
  • Economic Development Approaches to Housing Affordability
  • High Impact Multi-Family Development: LIHTC and Supportive Housing
  • Messaging, Communications and Funder Relations
  • State and Local Policy


There are two ways to register this year! Registration for an individual is $150, or new this year, you can purchase a $500 organization ticket to cover up to 10 of your staff or Board. With organization tickets, we will be in touch upon your purchase to gather individual information for each attendee in your organization. For information about scholarship opportunities, please contact Katie Biggs.

You won’t want to miss this year’s conference and be sure to register before April 9 to receive special conference swag in the mail.

Join us as a sponsor!   

Events like this are only made possible through the support of dedicated sponsors, and we would love to include you as an event sponsor! Opportunities are filling up quickly, please visit our web page for more information and to sign up. Questions about sponsorships can be directed to Michelle Rogers or call 406.604.4547.

Maria Valandra

Office of Indian Country Economic Development Program Manager

We are excited to announce that Maria Valandra has been selected as the Program Manager for the Office of Indian Country Economic Development.

Since July 2020, Maria has served as the interim Program Manager in addition to fulfilling her duties as the Entrepreneur Development Program Manager. We are currently recruiting to fill that position and hope to make an announcement soon. Please join us in welcoming Maria to her new role.

Community Need and Customer Satisfaction Survey

We want your feedback on Montana's use of Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds and general feedback on the administration of the state's community development programs.

The following survey can be completed in approximately 5 minutes.  


The first part of the survey includes questions soliciting feedback on community need for use of the state’s Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds.

The second part of the survey includes questions soliciting customer feedback on our grant administration, technical assistance, and overall responsiveness. Programs administered by the division include: Montana Coal Board, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Community Technical Assistance Program (CTAP), Hard Rock Mining Impact Board, HOME Program, Housing Trust Fund, Montana Historic Preservation Grant, Montana Main Street Program, and Treasure State Endowment Program.

Please respond by Friday, March 5. We appreciate your feedback.

COVID-19 Resources

  • Montana COVID-19 Hotline: 1-888-333-0461 or 
  • Montana Coronavirus task force: COVID19@MT.GOV
  • If your question relates to unemployment insurance/benefits, please contact the Department of Labor and Industry at 406-444-2545. If you think you are eligible for unemployment benefits accessible to workers laid off due to COVID-19, you can apply for benefits online at: or contact the Unemployment Insurance Division over the phone at 406-444-2545.

  • Visit Montana: VISITMT.COM or 1-800-847-4868


Upcoming Application Deadlines