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Invest In Success Small Business Seminar March 15-16, 2016


The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network invites you to our 7th annual Invest in Success (IIS) small business conference March 15 & 16, 2016 in Havre at MSU-Northern! The IIS conference provides hundreds of Montana entrepreneurs essential business workshops on leadership, marketing, financial management, operations and technical training for specific industries. This year we are expecting over 200 attendees and 25 vendors. The 2016 conference will help you “Solve Problems by Creating Opportunities,” and learn how to meet business challenges with strategic solutions. Our goal is for you to come away with new ideas to set higher standards for performance outcomes. For more information on breakout sessions, our Shark Tank live pitch business plan competition, and our Keynote Speaker, visit

What’s happening this year?

Tuesday, March 15:

  • Tours of “Havre Beneath the Streets” and “Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump” – Starts at 2:00 PM
  • Evening networking reception featuring the Triple Dog Brewing Company – Starts at 6:00 PM
  • Opening Reception featuring Triple Dog Brewing Co., Vendor Tradeshow, Silent Auction for Montana Job Service Employer Committee (JSEC), and Networking with Montana business owners

 Wednesday, March 16:

  • Registration opens at 7:30 AM; Breakout Sessions Begin at 8:30 AM
  • Luncheon and Keynote Speaker Paul Leach of Loenbro 12:15 PM
  • “Shark Tank” Live Business Plan Competition Starts at 3:00 PM
  • Door Prize Winners Announced at 4:30 PM (Grand Prize: New Laptop for your Business!)


Where can I find more information about the conference?
Visit for more information on breakout sessions, the Keynote Speaker, Shark Tank and more.

How do I register for Shark Tank?
Registration for Shark Tank is live through Submittable. You cannot register for Shark Tank here. If you participate in Shark Tank, you will receive free admission. Do not register on this site if you are a Shark Tank participant! Please go to to register. Applications close Feburary 19.

Where can I find out more about the presentations?
Download the PDF here.

Can I change my mind about the breakout sessions later?
Yes. If you select a breakout session you no longer wish to attend, please feel free to change the day of.

Where are the conference accomodations?
The BestWestern Plus Great Northern Inn (406) 265-4200(406) 265-4200 has a conference rate of $89/night for one or $99/night for two. The room block closes on February 23, 2016.

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Numerous Coal Board Grants Awarded in Southeastern Montana


(Hardin) The Montana Coal Board met last week in Hardin and awarded numerous grants into Southeastern Montana.   “We are very appreciative and certainly excited to have been awarded these funds which will bring additional assistance to communities that have been impacted by coal,” stated Jim Atchison, Executive Director of Southeastern Montana Development (SEMDC).

Four (4) Applications that SEMDC was involved with were awarded $880,068.  “SEMDC directly assisted three of the four and supported the fourth application,” noted Atchison.

“This is an excellent state program for returning limited dollars back to coal impacted communities to improve the quality of life,” he added.  Applicants awarded funds were:

* City of Colstrip: $500,000 for a portion of a major waste water rehabilitation project,

* City of Miles City: $166,118 to assist with an airport runway paving project,

* Treasure County: $73,950 to help purchase a new ambulance and

* Town of Hysham: $140,000 to assist in paying for replacement of the town’s water tower.

Atchison also gave credit to the area state legislators in securing these addition Coal Board funds during the session.  “Senator Ankney and Representatives Berry and Custer were key drivers and supporters during the legislative session in which HB-228 was passed,” Atchison noted.  “These funds give the Coal Board additional leverage to assist these communities.”

SEMDC is a regional non-profit economic development group that was established in 1997 to stimulate and encourage economic activity in the four (4) Counties of Custer, Powder River, Rosebud, and Treasure.  Today, SEMDC continues to work with the private, public, and non-profit sectors to help create and retain jobs in these four counties.  Their track record has documented over 986 jobs created or retained and over $35 million dollars in project assistance since 1997.  Since 2005, SEMDC has been designated by the State of Montana as a Certified Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) and the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) as an Economic Development District.

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County Receives Tentative Approval For Federal Funding For Ranch Creek Road Improvements


(Broadus) Powder River County recently applied for and received approval for programming through the 2014 Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) in the amount of $7.2 million. With support from Bureau of Land Management and Montana Department of Transportation personnel, Powder River County Road Supervisor, Ty Gee and SEMDC Grant Administrator, Julie E. Korkow, teamed up to submit an application to pave a portion of Ranch Creek Rd near Biddle, MT.  The Montana Department of Transportation also pledged matching funds of over $1 Million to the project.  The portion of Ranch Creek Road that will be improved would start at Highway 59 and travel east for 4.5 miles.  The majority of work will include minor culvert and drainage work, over excavation of soft spots, shoulder work, stabilization of subgrade, new base coarse and paving meeting specifications of a standard secondary state highway.


The legislation Congress passed that implements the Federal Lands Access Program only authorizes the program for the fiscal years 2013 and 2014.  Therefore, funds from the Access Program for this project are not guaranteed.  Funding is dependent on the availability of appropriations from Congress.


The next step in the process is for the Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) to develop funding agreements with the state and local agency partners.  The funding agreement will indicate the year that funds may be available for the project.


According to the grant application submitted Ranch Creek Road (Route 544) needs to be reconstructed and paved due to the heavy amount of oil field traffic deteriorating the current road conditions.   Powder River County is responsible for maintenance but does not have the budget to fix this road because gravel and other materials are not readily available in this area.  Paving this route would make it an all-weather road and make it safe for all to use.  During inclement weather the surface turns to muddy slurry that is almost impossible to navigate and at dry times dust clouds the entire valley.


Ranch Creek Road (Route 544) serves the oil field at Belle Creek, local ranchers, recreationalists accessing BLM land, and traffic traveling from Biddle to Boyes, Mt. The Belle Creek oil field employs hundreds of workers and subcontractors that use this route for access.


Present road conditions restrict the ability of Denbury Resources, Inc. getting equipment, materials, and personnel to the site in wet conditions.   The dust created from the road in dry conditions creates concerns for the health and safety of local residents and area ranchers trying to prevent dust pneumonia in livestock.  Dust treatments have been applied to this area in the past with little benefit since the current quality of the road topping material does not accept the treatment to prevent dust and stabilize the road.


The past four (4) years of heavy oil field traffic has substantially increase the County’s maintenance requirements on Ranch Creek Road extracting equipment and resources from other parts of the county.


For additional information, please contact the Powder River Commissioners at 406-436-2657.

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Eastern Montana Impact Coalition Launches Energy Impact Study


Helena, MT, Feb. 11, 2013 – The Eastern Montana Impact Coalition (Coalition) last week announced  via meetings with eastern Montana legislators and government stakeholders that it has launched a  study to identify how and when eastern Montana communities will be impacted by accelerating energy  development. The study’s goal is to help local communities understand the timing and magnitude of  these impacts and determine the priority issues to be addressed and investments required to benefit  from energy development and build the foundation for sustainable growth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Agencies Holding Meetings to Gather Public Comment on Otter Creek Coal Mine Project


HELENA – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) will hold public scoping meetings to accept comments on the proposed Otter Creek Coal, LLC – Otter Creek Coal Mine project located approximately five miles southeast of Ashland, Montana.  Read the rest of this entry »

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MCC Energy Summit March 15th and 16th


Miles Community College is hosting an Energy Summit on Thursday, March 15-16 titled “Solutions for Eastern, MT.”  The summit will be on the MCC campus and includes discussion on topics such as community change, economic forecast, legislation, workforce training, and industry impacts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Court Hands Setback to Southeastern Montana Coal Railroad


Matt Volz, Associated Press

Helena, MT – A federal appeals court has handed a new setback to developers of a proposed $550 million railroad that would link southeastern Montana’s untapped coal reserves to Midwestern and overseas markets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Small Business Workshop For Women


Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is focusing on women in business during his eighth Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Billings on Friday.

“We wanted to get a women’s perspective of what’s going on in the business world,” he said. “I think we’ve got a pretty top-notch group of Montana success stories.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Entrepreneurship in the New Rural America


By Myers Reece, Flathead Beacon

In her recently published book, “TheNewRural.Com,” Whitefish resident Diane Smith writes that, “in our challenging 21st century economy, the experts appear to agree that entrepreneurship is more important than ever.”

So what does that mean for rural America? Smith believes it means good things, since, in her view, rural America’s landscape is filled with entrepreneurs. She’s one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cheyenne Website Being Developed


From A Cheyenne Voice

We are working on a website.  With the help of two great ladies (Emily and Julie) from Southeastern Montana Development Corporation, Colstrip, this will be possible!  It will take them awhile to get it created and then probably longer to get the publisher up to speed, but within six weeks we’ll be in cyberspace!  This will allow us to reach more people and the Internet subscriptions will be cheaper, cuz there’s no envelopes to address, stamps to lick, etc.  Stay tuned, or logged in.  Whatever.  Ain’t that exciting?

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