Business & Technical Assistance
The Montana Small Business Development Center's (SBDC) certified Business Consultants offer free one-on-one business advising to entrepreneurs statewide. The SBDC Lead Center is located at the Montana Department of Commerce in Helena and supports ten centers, each hosted by economic development and higher education institutions.
The SBDC network is a nationally accredited program through America's SBDC. Over the course of its 28-year history, the SBDC has assisted more than 29,000 Montana entrepreneurs and nearly 6,500 businesses. In 2016, the SBDC network helped launch 73 new businesses, counseled clients for 6,667 hours, and hosted 85 training seminars to reach 1,276 participants. The SBDC also created or retained 616 jobs in Montana, and helped small business owners launch or grow their companies by working with clients to access more than $45 million in financing.
For an individual that is looking to start a new business or expand their existing business, the SBDC network is the best place to start. The SBDC network supports ten centers around the state, focusing on counseling in areas such as financial analysis, business planning, training and workshops and loan packaging assistance to help small businesses achieve their goals of growth, expansion, innovation and success.
To reach a Business Consultant at the SBDC, see their website and contact them at https://sbdc.mt.gov/
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is a statewide manufacturing outreach & assistance center staffed by full-time professionals with extensive experience in manufacturing and business in a variety of industries. MMEC can assess your business operations and help you grow, innovate, and enhance profits.
MMEC can help with practices for managing your equipment, building, processes and people. Their field engineers understand manufacturing and the obstacles that affect your business. Their Business Advisors bring years of real-world manufacturing experience, a wide variety of specialized skills, and can work with you to enhance your marketing approach and enter new markets.
Their home office is in the College of Engineering at Montana State University, Bozeman, with remote offices in Billings, Missoula, Kalispell, and Great Falls. MMEC has provided worthwhile assistance to improve top-line and bottom-line growth to over 1,000 clients across Montana from Alzada to Eureka and Corvallis to Opheim.
To reach a Business Advisor at MMEC, see their website and contact them at http://www.montana.edu/mmec/index.html
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.
The Montana District Office is the only SBA office in Montana and serves all 56 counties. Montana is the fourth largest state covering approximately 147,046 square miles. Greatest distance from east to west boundary: approximatley 550 miles, greatest distance from north to south boundary: approximately 320 miles in western Montana and approximately 280 miles in eastern Montana. Thousands of miles are traveled each year providing financial and business assistance to the small business constituency of Montana.
To contact the SBA, see their website at https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/mt/helena
Domestic Tradeshow Assistance
The Tradeshow Assistance Program assists Montana based companies in exploring new domestic wholesale markets by encouraging first-time exhibition at new trade shows outside of the state. It is not only for companies new to trade show exhibition, but can also be useful for established companies who are looking to exhibit at a show that they have never been to before. It is not intended for a company to use for a trade show at which it has previously exhibited or currently exhibits. The assistance comes in the form of 50% reimbursement of qualified and approved expenses for trade show exhibition up to a maximum of $3,000 (including bonus amounts). Program guidelines are available here.
This grant program is currently unavailable, but check back for more information at another time.
International Trade Show Exhibition
Attending wholesale trade shows internationally is a great way for a company to introduce their products to a global audience as well as help maintain awareness of their products in the marketplace. However, they are capital intensive. To help mitigate risk and provide opportunity this program provides partial reimbursement for marketing expenses related to attending trade shows with international buyers.
For more information, please see this site: http://marketmt.com/STEP/TradeshowExhibition
Materials & Info Sheets
Best Practices / Trade Show Tips
Trade shows can be great for business, but they can also be challenging. Our partners at the Department of Agriculture have provided some Trade Show Training & Assistance tips on their website.
We have also put together some materials to assist you in your trade show endeavours:
Using Social Media at Trade Shows
Trade Show Fundamentals
Quiz: Are You Ready for Wholesale?
Three Tips for Using Wholesale or Trade Shows to Boost Your Biz
Guide to Wholesale and Trade Shows
As more and more buyers are requiring wholesale producers to provide UPC (Universal Product Codes) barcodes on each of their products, we decided it was time to update and rerelease our “Barcode Basics Fact Sheet.”
In it you’ll find information on what they are, how to read them, and most importantly, where to get them.
Click here for our latest information.