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Dept. of Commerce, Universities Partner to Serve Small Businesses

Tuesday, April 19, 2016/Categories: Market MT, Small Business Development Center Network

Entrepreneur Assistance

HELENA – The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network at the Montana Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced the University of Montana and Montana State University (MSU) as new SBDC hosts.

Entrepreneurs in Missoula and Bozeman, both hotbeds of small business development in the state, will have new resources available to them thanks to the partnerships. For example, both universities host the Blackstone LaunchPad program, designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and to develop entrepreneurial skills.

UM will serve Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli and Sanders counties while MSU will serve Gallatin and Park counties.

“The strategic partnership between the Department of Commerce and the university system has always been strong, and bringing the universities on board as hosts even better positions the SBDC to lead the state in entrepreneurship education and small business development,” said DOC Director Meg O’Leary.

Each location is now taking clients and looks forward to evolving the entrepreneurial landscape.

“The University of Montana is thrilled to partner with DOC for the benefit of Montana businesses,” said Joe Fanguy, president of MonTEC and director of technology transfer at UM. “This addition of the SBDC to UM’s portfolio of economic development services will now push engagement numbers closer toward the goal of 1,000 businesses/entrepreneurs per year.”

MSU officials echoed their Missoula counterparts.

“Along with the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development, we are now able to more effectively provide direct assistance to the small business owners in the region,” said Kregg Aytes, dean of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. “Having a university host an SBDC Regional office also provides excellent opportunities for getting both students and faculty involved in helping small businesses.”

UM and MSU are two of 10 SBDC Service Centers in the MTSBDC Network, a program nationally accredited through America's SBDC. For more information, visit:

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