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In Montana, Innovation is All Around Us

Tuesday, June 27, 2017/Categories: Community Development Division, Market MT

A man stands on a bluff near Sidney, Montana

Perhaps it’s one of Montana’s best-kept secrets, that our state has long been known as an incubator for innovation. Our state continually ranks number one in the U.S. for startup activity, and high on similar lists for entrepreneurship. Our wages are growing faster than in most states, and large and small businesses can grow in Montana and create good-paying jobs. That’s not surprising to us, because we’ve all chosen Montana as the place to turn ideas into opportunities.

It’s often true that the remarkable landscape we live in, and the unique people we work with inspire new inventions, businesses, and products. In Whitefish, a retired skier saw a need to offer backcountry skiing opportunities, so he retrofitted trail grooming machines with fiberglass cabins to get groups of people to mountains of untouched snow. Now, Great Northern Powder Guides is a world-class cat skiing company right here in Montana.

Montana is also the home-base for a growing parenting media company. What started as a local magazine, Mamalode has turned into a national resource for parents. Its founders credit our state with inspiring the authentic company that reaches parents in all 50 states and 10 other countries.  

In Bozeman, a professor and his student have launched a company that could revolutionize how diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are studied – and potentially treated -- with optics technology. Revibro Optics makes high-speed flexible mirrors for use in microscopes and other optical instruments.

Established companies in Montana are spinning off new ventures at a pace that makes us proud. Our colleges and universities are partnering with innovators and nurturing new business ideas every day. Research is underway to expand the use of biofuels, photonics, and promising new medical treatments.  We know it’s easy to see that innovation is truly all around us.

June 27, 2017 is Innovate Day, a day to recognize the tenacity of Montanans from every corner of Big Sky Country. Hard work and innovation run through our veins, and this day just reminds us of the incredible work and big ideas being developed by Montana’s innovators.

Well, our secret is getting out. The New York Times wrote “Silicon Valley gets all the glory, but the real hotbed of American entrepreneurship appears to be a few hundred miles to the northeast: Montana.”

Join us July 12-13 in Billings for the second annual Innovate Montana Symposium, where we will continue connecting innovative ideas with economic opportunity.


Pam Haxby-Cote, Director

Montana Department of Commerce


Ken Fichtler, Chief Business Development Officer

Governor's Office of Economic Development


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