HELENA, Mont. – Three Small Business Development Centers are expanding access to services and outreach to rural areas by hiring additional staff to better serve small business owners and entrepreneurs across Montana.
The Great Falls SBDC, based at the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA), has hired a rural business adviser – a new position created to make business assistance more accessible to facilitate opportunities for business growth and job creation. The new GFDA rural business adviser is based in Cut Bank and will focus on outreach to Glacier, Teton, Pondera and Toole counties.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s Main Street economy, and we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners launch or grow their companies,” said Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice. “Having more staff covering three regions of Montana means we can make our services available to even more Montanans who are looking to expand their business or who want to get a new business up and running.”
Additionally, two other regional SBDCs have hired business advisers to increase access to the free one-to-one business assistance services SBDCs offer through regional offices across the state. The new advisers at the Butte SBDC and the Billings SBDC serve the southwest and east-central parts of the state, respectively.
“The increased efforts in our rural areas are designed to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem as strong as the ones already existing in Montana’s fastest growing urban centers,” said GFDA Vice President and Great Falls SBDC Regional Director Jason Nitschke. “These efforts will be most successful by further developing collaborative relationships amongst the other resource partners also serving this region.”
Certified business consultants at Montana’s statewide network of SBDCs support entrepreneurs at every stage of their business at no cost to clients. The Montana SBDC program advises nearly 1,000 businesses every year. Montana SBDCs, which celebrate their 30th anniversary this year, have assisted nearly 33,500 Montana entrepreneurs and helped to create and retain more than 15,000 jobs since 1989.
The three new positions were made possible in-part through an additional $200,000 in funding provided to Montana’s SBDC network by the 2019 Legislature through HB 52.
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 that began in 1989. The Montana SBDC Lead Center, located at the Department of Commerce in Helena, oversees administrative operations with 10 satellite offices throughout the state. For more information, visit SBDC.MT.GOV.