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entrepreneurship measures including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) job growth (fourth), business birth rate (sixth), R&D intensity (seventh), entrepreneurship activity (second), and small

Montana’s Place in the Rankings 1st

Budget Gap


Export Intensity Growth

STEM jobs to its economy since 2002, led by growth in engineering services, computer systems design, custom computer programming, and energy industries.


Export Growth


Entrepreneurial Activity

Montana’s Budget


Per Capita Income Growth


STEM Job Growth


Transportation Infrastructure Performance


Long-term Job Growth

individuals, and will include triggers to reduce the tax to 1.5 percent and raise the cap to $3 million. Like the budget from the last biennium, the 2011–2013 framework does not include raises for state employees, though employees at the top level are in line for raises according to state law.


Small Business Lending


Business Birth Rate

Big Sky Programs That Work


Business Tax Climate

To continue to provide support for innovation and entrepreneurship in Montana, the state has developed a variety of programs aimed at improving, enhancing, and diversifying its economic and business climate. The Business Resource Division of the Montana Department of Commerce works closely with the private sector, regional economic and community development partners, as well as other state agencies and federal programs, to enhance the economic base of Montana through business creation, expansion, and retention efforts.


Academic R&D Intensity


Gross State Product Growth


Short-term Job Growth


State and Local Tax Burden


Small Business Lending


Productivity Growth


College Affordability


Educational Attainment


Growth in Share of National Exports

After operating in the black with a $300 million surplus during the past budget cycle, Montana’s recently approved two-year budget cuts general fund spending by 6 percent to $3.6 billion. The state is holding education spending steady through the recession, while not raising any taxes. At the same time, the state will reduce from 3 to 2 percent the

development groups, Chambers, and similar organizations to help Montana communities develop their full economic potential. The state-funded Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) grant program provides grant dollars to local or tribal governments that can be used to assist businesses creating new jobs in Montana. Program funds can be utilized to assist a business with the purchase of land, building or equipment, the reduction of a lease rate 78


for lease of public or privately owned property, relocation costs incurred in connection with moving the assisted

business’ physical assets to Montana, or employee training.

set-asides are awarded to local and tribal governments in the form of direct grants. Funding may not exceed $5,000 for each new job created, or $7,500 for each new job created in a high-poverty county. Program funding is also available to assist with the completion of project development activities such as Preliminary Engineering Reports, Preliminary Architectural Reports, feasibility studies and business plans.

TechRanch is a leading business development assistance organization that is focused on the high-tech sectors. By companies, TechRanch aims to speed the development of tech start-ups and to minimize their cash burn. TechRanch helps entrepreneurs pursuing ventures in high-tech markets with less investment capital than they could otherwise. TechRanch has also developed expertise in bootstrapping, outside of traditional regions, and developing near-term as soon as possible.

Montana understands the importance of workforce training for new and expanding companies, but it also understands the cost. To meet this need, the state utilizes multiple funding sources to award workforce training grants. The bulk of these funds are reserved for new worker training, but some funds are available to train workers in existing positions. The Montana Department of Commerce manages a state-funded workforce training program that requires $1 of private funds for every $3 of state grant funds. The ceiling is $5,000, and the maximum award amount depends on the number of jobs to be trained. The Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant, administered by the Department of Commerce, funds the training of both new and existing full-time workers. $5,000 of grant funds can be provided for training each full-time employee. This program is targeted at businesses that demonstrate that 5 percent of their sales are outside of Montana, that the business is a manufacturing company with 50 percent of its sales from companies that have 50 percent of their sales outside of Montana, or that the business provides a product or service that is not available in Montana. The Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology provides a predictable, stable source of funding for research and commercialization projects to be conducted in Montana. The purpose of the program is to encourage economic development through investment in research projects that have a clear path to commercialization. Key criteria for this program are that the business has the potential to diversify or add value to a traditional basic industry of the state’s economy, shows promise for enhancing technologybased sectors or commercial development of discoveries, and employs or takes advantage of existing research and commercialization strengths within the state.

Different program elements of the TechRanch effort include the Bozeman Technology Accelerator (BTA), broadband (wireless and wired), audio-visual equipped conference space, fax, copier, networked laser printer and other executive suite services. BTA clients receive a very high degree of advising from TechRanch staff, pro bono service providers, advisors, and other professionals in the TechRanch network. Another key program is the Bridger Private Capital Network and largest angel investor network. This network is a vital part of Montana’s thriving entrepreneurial community. It convenes throughout the year to hear presentations and learn about innovative companies and investment opportunities.

Clusters in Montana Largest Cluster: Business & Financial Services, 57,608 jobs Largest Growth Cluster: Business & Financial Services, 12,552 new jobs since 2002 Most Competitive Cluster: Energy (Fossil & Renewable), 5,057 new or retained jobs due to state competitive advantage Most Concentrated Cluster: Mining, 4.33 times the national concentration level



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