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Small Business Workshop and Open House



Please join us for a Small Business Workshop and Open House

Open to anyone and everyone

December 3, 2018 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm

Colstrip City Hall

Brought to you by: MT AFL-CIO, MCC, DCC, CDKC, Job Service, SEMDC and SBDC


Small Business Flyer

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Growth Through Agriculture Grants Due November 1st


Southeastern Montana Development Corporation wants to inform people of the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) funding cycle. The GTA program works to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry by offering grants and loans to qualified agri-businesses for new agricultural products and processes.

Applicants are encouraged to contact SEMDC for assistance with their GTA application, financial projections, business and marketing plans. Projects may potentially be funded in a single application for a maximum total amount of $150,000 in the form of grant funding up to $50,000 and loan funding up to $100,000. Examples of project activities involve equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services such as engineering costs. A dollar-for-dollar match is required for all proposals.

The Council may make a grant or loan if it determines that the project is consistent with the goals of the Growth Through Agriculture Act and:
1) primarily adds value to Montana’s agricultural products,
2) has the prospect for commercial success given current personnel, experience and resources of the applicant,
3) has the prospect to create and/or retain jobs in Montana,
4) primarily processes or adds value to Montana’s agricultural products currently produced or potentially produced in the state, and
5) has the management structure to allow the Agriculture Development Council to reasonably conclude that the applicant will comply with ongoing reporting and monitoring activities.

For more information about this funding opportunity go to or contact Julie Emmons at 406-853-6900.

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15th Annual Energy Open Held in Colstrip


Please see the link below to see results from the 15th Annual Energy Open Golf Tournament held in Colstrip, MT.

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15th Annual Energy Open Scheduled for August 16th and 17th


The 15th Annual Energy Open Conference and Golf Tournament will be held on August, 16th and 17th, 2018 in Colstrip the “Energy Capital of Montana.”

SouthEastern Montana Development (SEMDC,) and Colstrip UNITED cordially invite the public to participate in this unique event which “showcases the economic benefits of responsible energy development.” This is a great opportunity to tour unique energy facilities, network with energy leaders, decision makers, legislators, and golf one of Montana’s most challenging public courses.

The Energy Open starts at 9:00 am on Thursday August 16th at Colstrip High School with registration and networking opportunities. Numerous speakers will round out the morning. Lunch will be served prior to the attendees departing on two different tours. The two tours will feature the Colstrip Power Plant Complex (coal fired power generation,) the Boilermakers Training Center (workforce training,) Rye Park, and Castle Rock Lake (environmental and quality of life benefits,) and the Western Energy Rosebud Coal Mine (mining, safety, and award-winning reclamation efforts.) The first day will conclude with a dinner in  Mulligans at the golf course.

On Friday, August 17th, the Ponderosa Butte Golf Course in Colstrip will host the Energy Open 18 Hole Golf Tournament with lots of prizes, a shot at the “Coal Cup” Corporate Trophy and the $20,000 Hole In One prize. The golf teams will be treated to a breakfast prior to the tee time of 10 am. The day will conclude with a scholarship raffle and a tournament awards presentation.

The Energy Open is free to the public, but prior registration is required. For more general information, please contact SEMDC at (406) 748-2990 or email or Additional information is available at our website

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Strengthening Economies in Montana – A Forum For Coal Reliant Communities


Is your county or region experiencing economic challenges due to the contraction of the coal industry? Are you seeking effective approaches to support economic diversification, workforce development and improved quality of life in your community?

Join the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation in Billings, Mont., on April 18–19th for Strengthening Economies in Montana, a free forum designed for coal-reliant counties and regions from across Montana. This convening will bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors for an educational and interactive gathering to share best practices, lessons learned and new opportunities to support economic diversification. Prepare for a mix of interactive sessions and small group discussions designed to deepen and foster new partnerships aimed at promoting innovation and prosperity throughout Montana and the Western regions.

The forum will offer ample opportunity to network with your peers, state and federal officials and other practitioners who are promoting economic and community development at the local, regional and state levels. All interested community stakeholders from Utah are welcome to attend, including: county and other local officials; regional development organization staff; workforce development professionals; non-profit and philanthropic leaders; business owners; and representatives from K-12 and higher education institutions.

This forum is funded through the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration – Denver Regional Office, as part of NACo and NADO RF’s larger four-state initiative: Strengthening Economies in the West, which provide tailored  economic diversification support and technical assistance for coal-reliant counties and regions in Colorado, Montana, Utah & Wyoming. This initiative kicked off in April of 2017 with an educational forum in Denver.

Attendance for this forum is encouraged for Montana counties and regions economically linked to the coal industry and forum content will primarily focus on strategies and opportunities specifically unique to Montana. Through this regional initiative, a similar forum was held in Utah in October 2017, while forums will later take place in Wyoming and Colorado over the course of 2018.

Please visit this link to register for the forum.

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SEMDC CEDS Document Featured on NADO Website


The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) has the potential to be a true road map that brings together many voices from your region to form a common vision for economic prosperity and resilience.  Through the CEDS Spotlight case studies series, the NADO Research Foundation is highlighting best practices and innovative elements of CEDS planning, development, and implementation from EDDs and other regional development organizations across the country.  Click here to view the SEMDC CEDS featured on their site.

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Energy Open scheduled for August 17th and 18th


The 14th Annual Energy Open Tours and Golf Tournament will be held on August 17th and 18th, 2017 in Colstrip, the “Energy Capital of Montana.”

Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) and Colstrip UNITED cordially invite the public to participate in this unique opportunity which “showcases the economic benefits of responsible energy development.”  This is a great opportunity to tour unique energy facilities, network with energy leaders, decision makers, legislators and golf one of Montana’s most challenging public courses.

The Energy Open starts at 9:30 am on Thursday August 17th at Colstrip High School with registration and networking opportunities.  Lunch will be served prior to the attendees departing on two different Tours.  The two Tours will feature the Colstrip Power Plant Complex (coal fired power generation), the Boilermakers Training Center (workforce training), Rye Park and Castle Rock Lake (environmental and quality of life benefits) and the Western Energy Rosebud Coal Mine (mining, safety and award winning reclamation efforts).  The first day will conclude with a dinner at the Wagon Wheelz Café / Moose Lodge.

On Friday August 18th, the Ponderosa Butte Golf Course in Colstrip will host the Energy Open 18 Hole Golf Tournament with lots of prizes, a shot at the “Coal Cup” Corporate Trophy and the $20,000 Hole-In-One prize.  The golf teams will be treated to a breakfast prior to the tee time of 10:00 am.   The day will conclude with a scholarship raffle and the tournament awards presentations.

The Energy Open is free to the public but prior registration is required.  For more general information, please contact SEMDC at (406) 748-2990 or email or Additional information is available at

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SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to Montana Small Businesses


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Small nonfarm businesses in 22 Montana counties and two neighboring North Dakota counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought in the following primary counties that began July 4, 2017, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

Primary Montana counties: Fergus, Petroleum, Phillips, Richland and Rosebud;

Neighboring Montana counties: Big Horn, Blaine, Chouteau, Custer, Dawson, Garfield, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Roosevelt, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux and Yellowstone;

Neighboring North Dakota counties: McKenzie and Williams.

“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 3.215 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The Secretary declared this disaster on July 10, 2017.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for these loans is March 12, 2018.

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Unveiling of Colstrip Economic Diversification Strategy


Colstrip, MT, May 16, 2017 – The City of Colstrip and Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC) are pleased to invite you to a press conference unveiling the Colstrip Economic Diversification Strategy, Friday, May 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm MDT at Colstrip City Hall.  

This strategy is a cooperative effort of businesses, civic and economic development organizations, and the public to outline economic development projects and goals that will diversify and strengthen the community of Colstrip. Through the six-month study and public engagement process, multiple concepts have risen to the surface as opportunities for Colstrip to consider to bring balance and increased diversity to their economic drivers, while staying true to the core industries of coal mining and power generation that have built Colstrip into the vibrant community it is today.

“Thanks to all that were involved in the preparation of the Colstrip Diversity Strategy.

Now is the time for us all to come together and take up the challenges and work together using the economic diversification strategy as a road map.  Our plan of action is a destination to remain a continuing vibrant community with a quality living environment.” John Williams, Mayor, City of Colstrip.

The Colstrip Economic Diversification Strategy will serve as a roadmap to empower Colstrip to establish goals and objectives, develop and implement a plan of action, and access and utilize resources efficiently and effectively.

The complete economic diversification strategy can be found at after May 19th.

If you would like more information about the Diversification Plan, please contact Jim Atchison at 406-748-2990, or email at





Misc. Quotes:


“This is a huge day for Colstrip! Our community has had a great deal of attention in relation to the closing of Colstrip Units 1 & 2. Now is the time to showcase how we as a community, are going to work together to ensure Colstrip remains alive and vibrant, despite the economic challenges facing us.” Jim Atchison, Executive Director SEMDC



“To be successful, this collaboration between the Private, Public and Non-Profit Sectors needs to evaluate and most importantly, act upon the numerous opportunities before Colstrip.  The present challenges are significant, yet we as a community accept the responsibility to move forward  – – – – – today!”

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Colstrip Economic Diversification Strategy Process


(Colstrip) In December of 2016, after nearly a year of planning activity, Southeastern Montana Development (SEMDC) kicked-off the Economic Diversification Strategy planning session for Colstrip.

Even before the announcement in July of 2016 that Colstrip Units 1 and 2 would be closing by July of 2022, the community identified a need in their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) to conduct a diversification and marketing study in hopes of stabilizing the local economic base. As a result, SEMDC wrote and received grants from Montana Coal Board, Montana Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund and the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) to hire a consultant to conduct the work. In November of 2016, KLJ was selected.

In partnership with SEMDC, KLJ representatives kicked off the project with two nights of public meetings in early December, 2016. Local, regional and state community members, along with private sector parties and government officials attended, providing essential information and feedback as to the current economic drivers and challenges in Colstrip and ideas about potential diversification strategies.  In addition to strategies addressing clean coal and energy related technologies, the group identified a number of additional new manufacturing, tourist, construction, agribusiness, place making, and workforce development concepts. KLJ has taken this information and in conjunction with extensive research related to regional and national diversification best practices, is preparing a draft community diversification strategy.

A second public input session had been scheduled for January 31st, however, due to weather related road conditions, the meeting had to be postponed.  The second Public Input Session is now scheduled for Monday, March 20, 2017 at the Colstrip City Hall (6:00pm).  KLJ will present the draft strategies and will be asking for input and comment from the community and key stakeholders before finalizing the plan.  The general public is invited and encouraged to attend.

SEMDC and KLJ would like to acknowledge the tremendous support for this project thus far and encourage continued support as it moves forward. From local officials at the city and county to the Montana Department of Commerce, Governor’s office, the EDA, numerous Unions and even the White House, Colstrip and the future of coal and energy in Montana has received publicity, inquiry and genuine bi-partisan discussion which has propelled the success of this endeavor.

For more information or to provide input prior to the public input session on March 20th, please contact SEMDC at 406-748-2990 or visit their website at

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