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Montana Small Business Development Centers Partner with Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation

Partnership to Increase Reach of SBDC Services, Shark Tank Competition

Wednesday, January 4, 2017/Categories: Market MT, Tourism, Small Business Development Center Network

HELENA – The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has partnered with the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation to increase its reach to one of Montana’s leading industries. The Montana SBDC Network will host business consulting, business classes and its annual Shark Tank live pitch business plan competition at the conference.

“Tourism, recreation and business development go hand in hand,” said SBDC State Director Chad Moore. “This partnership is a real win for small business attendees, as they learn industry trends while also receiving consulting and training from expert SBDC advisors. They’ll also be entertained by Shark Tank, a first for the Governor’s Conference.”

Shark Tank creates a forum for local entrepreneurs to present their business plans and receive constructive feedback from a panel of industry professionals. First place in the contest will win $5,000, second place will win $2,500, and third place will win $1,000.

Ronald Turner, owner of Anchor Yanker, a Montana-based startup business based on a device that pulls, or “yanks,” rope efficiently was the winner of last year’s competition. Turner believes the winnings gave him a huge boost to help his business off the ground.

“Winning the prize money helped get manufacturing going, but it was not the best thing to come from the competition,” said Turner. “Winning was reassurance that the product I created was a good idea. It was very uplifting to know that professionals, other inventors and entrepreneurs not only thought that my invention was feasible but were excited by it, and I made many contacts that helped to get my invention from idea to production.”

Entrepreneurs interested in competing in the fourth annual live pitch competition should register for the event beginning Jan. 4. The competition is open to Montana startup/pre-venture entrepreneurs in the "idea phase" with less than one year of activity. This year’s panel of judges will include high-profile experts across the banking and finance industries in the state. Participants will first pitch their business idea to an initial screening panel on March 13, and the live pitch will be held during the closing luncheon on March 14.

In addition to Shark Tank, SBDC Business Advisors will teach classes in human resources, financials and marketing, which will be open to all attendees. Advisors will also consult clients via prescheduled appointments during the conference.

To register for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, March 12-14 in Helena at the Radisson Colonial Hotel, visit

To register for Shark Tank, go to before February 4.

For more information, contact Rebecca Ziegler at 841-2747.

The Montana SBDC Network is a cooperative program partnership between the SBA and the Montana Department of Commerce that began in 1989. Over the course of its 26-year history, the MTSBDC has assisted nearly 27,000 Montana entrepreneurs representing more than 6,000 businesses. The MTSBDC Lead Center, located in Helena, oversees administrative operations with satellite offices throughout the state. MTSBDC’s certified Business Consultants provide one-to-one management advising to small businesses at no cost to clients. For more information, visit

The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development markets Montana’s spectacular unspoiled nature, vibrant and charming small towns, breathtaking experiences, relaxing hospitality, and competitive business climate to promote the state as a place to visit and do business.


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