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Latest Montana Skim. Stay informed. Live Smarter. Join the Conversation.

Rain or shine (and it's looking more like rain than shine in Montana...sigh), the Memorial Day weekend is almost here! Get informed on what's happening across the state before heading into the weekend with this week's skim of Montana business news below. Figure Technologies in Helena luring engineers to Montana Figure Technologies ( hiring ), a San Francisco-based startup with offices in Helena and Bozeman, has been turning heads and is drawing the tech eye to Montana, much the same way the co-founder’s first company, SoFi (also hiring ), did. While SoFi is focused on student loans, Figure is focused on home equity. The company sells products that allow customers quick, low-cost access to the equity in their homes, including a home equity line of credit and a home purchase/leaseback offering. The company was founded last year by former SoFi co-founder and CEO Mike Cagney. It launched its Helena office in February 2018 and its Bozeman office in May 2018. There are 36 engineers working in Montana and about 43 total staff, 25 in Helena and 18 in Bozeman. Not to mention, hiring still is underway. Nate Lampert, who leads people operations for Figure in Helena and Bozeman, said luring people to Montana can be a challenge, but that the company is dedicated to remaining here because of the “tech ecosystem” that has grown in Montana over the last 10 to 15 years. “Our focus is to hire people who live and work in Montana,” he said. [ Independent Record ] Kalispell-based ClassOne Technology recognized for export success Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice visited ClassOne Technology’s plant in Evergreen, Montana, last week for a ceremony recognizing the company as the state’s 2018 Exporter of the Year. ClassOne ( hiring ) designs, builds, tests and ships production equipment used to manufacture microchips. The company shipped $6 million in semiconductor equipment outside the United States in 2018, and has already surpassed that figure in exports before the year is half through. “It’s a testament to this team,” CEO, Bryon Exarcos said. “This is one of the best engineering teams in the U.S. This couldn’t have happened to a better group of people.” Exports are an increasing source of revenue for ClassOne Technology. In 2016, the company took in $2.2 million from foreign sales, with $3.5 million in 2017 and $6 million in 2018. During those two years, ClassOne also grew from 45 to 75 employees in Kalispell. Exarcos said he expects ClassOne Technology, a sister company to Atlanta-based ClassOne Equipment , to cross $20 million in revenue this year, with 40 to 50 percent of that coming from exports. [ Daily Interlake ] Governor Bullock announces economic development grants to help businesses create nearly 200 Montana jobs Governor Steve Bullock announced this week more than $1.3 million in economic development grant awards that will support the creation of up to 195 Montana jobs at growing businesses in Montana. “When our businesses thrive, our communities and the hard-working Montanans who live and work there have new opportunities to grow as well,” said Governor Bullock. “These grants will invest in Montana’s economy by growing businesses and the jobs that support those businesses.” Funds will be awarded through two programs at the Montana Department of Commerce : the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) and the Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant (WTG) . The competitive reimbursement grant programs work in concert to create and train for good-paying jobs. Since 2013, BSTF has assisted more than 340 businesses and supported the creation of more than 2,500 Montana jobs. The WTG program has assisted nearly 40 businesses to train more than 1,000 employees over that same time. Grant recipients include SoClean, Montana Precision Products ( hiring ), LumenAd ( hiring ), Swarming Technology , Advanced Technology Group ( hiring ) and PatientOne . [ Montana Department of Commerce ] XY Planning Network and Advanced Electronic Design named on the Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces of 2019 Bozeman-based financial services company XY Planning Network (XYPN) ( hiring ) and Advanced Electronic Design have been named on Inc. magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2019 . This list is the result of a wide-ranging and comprehensive measurement of private US companies that have created exceptional workplaces through vibrant cultures, deep employee engagement, and stellar benefits. Collecting data on nearly 2,000 submissions, Inc. singled out 346 finalists, including just two Montana-based companies. Other accolades for the companies include XY Planning Network’s ranking of the 168th fastest-growing private company in the US by Inc. and #1 in the state of Montana in 2018. According to XYPN co-founder and CEO Alan Moore, rapid expansion continues."Our goal has always been to create a place where people want to come to work. Our vision was a place where team members have a meaningful impact on the lives of others while having the flexibility to live their own great lives.” [ Inc .] Mesa Moving and Storage expands to Montana, acquires Mergenthaler's moving and hauling business Mesa Moving and Storage , a privately-held, US-based provider of moving, transportation, and logistics services, announced recently that it has acquired the moving business operations of fellow UniGroup agent, Mergenthaler Transfer and Storage . Under the terms of the agreement, Mesa will acquire the Mergenthaler household goods hauling business and their moving business, including location-based assets in Bozeman, Helena, and Whitefish, as well as Salt Lake City, Utah. The Mergenthaler offices in Montana will continue providing premier quality moving services, staffed by the same local management and teams who live in Bozeman, Helena, Kalispell and Whitefish areas in Montana. The Montana branches join Mesa's current offices located in Salt Lake City, UT, Boise, ID, Denver, CO, and Grand Junction, CO. Mergenthaler's Salt Lake City business operations will be merged into Mesa's Salt Lake City branch location. [ YahooFinance ] Missoula's Goodworks Ventures launches Evergreen to retain small businesses With a generational shift taking place across Montana’s community of small businesses, some will transition to new ownership but most will not. Those that don’t could simply vanish from the landscape. Goodworks Ventures of Missoula has quietly launched a new effort to purchase stable, profitable companies and help them grow under new leadership. In coming years, Goodworks Evergreen, as the program is known, could lead to a perpetual holding company open to investors who find value in transitioning small businesses to community ownership. “Our goal is to be a perpetual holding company we can make publicly accessible through a stock or a bond,” said Kiah Hochstetler with Goodworks Evergreen. “We’re probably five years down the road from that. But really, what we’re looking to do is build this community capital of community-owned businesses.” Goodworks Evergreen is currently working to purchase a Missoula business, and it hopes to have one more deal secured by the end of the year. That would bring its business holdings to three, though it looks to grow that number over time. [ Missoula Current ] Missoula and Great Falls named 9th and 11th on 2019 Best Small City for Small Business List A new report says two Montana cities are among the best small cities in the country to start a small business. Go.Verizon.com studied 300 cities, focusing on small cities that weren't towns. The population of a city must fall between 50,000 and 75,000 people to be considered a “small city," according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The report, called 2019 Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business, then ranked the business-friendly bona fides of cities based on population, education, travel time to work, income per capita, broadband access, loans per capita, taxes and non-farm business. Missoula was 9th and Great Falls was the 11th best place to start a small business, according to the report. [ Great Falls Tribune ] Early Stage Montana names 7 regional tech company winners for summer 2019 Early Stage Montana , a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of the tech ecosystem in Montana, is pleased to announce the winners of three Regional Showcase Competitions held early this month in Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings. Dozens of entrepreneurs from around the state submitted applications for the competition, and each business was assigned a score by a group of experienced judges. Seventeen of the highest scoring companies were chosen to present their business plans in front of an audience and to a panel of judges who scored them on dimensions such as the size of the opportunity, the quality of the solution, leadership potential, and the likelihood of creating Montana jobs. The results are in, and seven finalist companies are moving on to attend the 2019 Early Stage Montana HyperAccelerator program. The regional winners are: DRIMS , Charmed , Vision Aerial , Tadpull , DugalHealth , and RavenCSI . There was also one company, MyShippingPost ,  selected as a “wild card” entrant. As a next step, Early Stage Montana is providing these companies with a free, week-long intensive training program called “HyperAcclerator” from June 3-7, 2019. Finally, on November 7, 2019 in Missoula, ten finalist companies will gather at the 2nd annual Early Stage MT Statewide Showcase to compete for a $50,000 investment provided by Frontier Angels. The Statewide Showcase is a celebration of Montana’s tech ecosystem. Entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and community leaders join together with distinguished guests from all over the Western US in helping these companies accelerate their pathways to growth and job creation within our communities. More information on ticketing and location for The Statewide Showcase coming soon. According to Pat LaPointe, managing director of Frontier Angels and Board Chairman of Early Stage Montana, “Because of the training and visibility they got from participating in Early Stage MT, last year’s top 7 companies went on to raise over $6M in growth capital so far and have already created over 20 jobs in our ecosystem. We have equally high expectations for this group and more, given that we’re expanding to accommodate more companies this year.” [ Early Stage Montana ] Hemp economy brings jobs, investment to Missoula Since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is legal to grow again. Its various byproducts are big business, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. And now Missoula’s Blue Marble Biomaterials is part of the hemp economy. It has changed its name to Socati Montana after Socati , an Oregon-based company specializing in hemp genetics, acquired Blue Marble earlier this spring. According to Socati Montana’s general manager James Stephens, who until recently was Blue Marble’s CEO, "I think it’s a really good thing for Missoula and Montana because Socati’s going to do hefty investments not only in staff, but in improvements to this facility to make it best in class, a globally recognized facility.” Stephens says the Missoula plant plans to hire up to 40 additional staff over the next 3 to 5 months. That’s up from 11 employees most recently. When upgrades and expansions are complete by fall, the company says it will be capable of processing about 10 tons of hemp feedstock per working day. [ Montana Public Radio ] Prospera Women’s Business Center in Bozeman wins national award Starting a small business is hard, but the Prospera Women’s Business Center in Bozeman just won an award for making it a little easier. That work was recognized with a national award from the Small Business Association. Suzi Berget White, Director of the Women’s Business Center, says problems with starting a new business is often times little things like not knowing how to read a financial spreadsheet or proper funding. So with the help of the education they provide, the goal is that your business is around longer than a year. White says she loves walking down Main Street and knowing she had a small hand in helping people with the shops she sees and that this award is extremely validating. [ ABCFox Montana ] New study shows 9,916 Montana jobs linked to strong beer industry A new economic impact study shows America's beer industry contributes $1.3 billion annually to Montana's economy and supports 9,916 jobs in the state. Jointly commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute , the study shows that the 9,916 jobs impacted by the beer industry in Montana account for $352 million each year in wages and benefits. The industry also generates $161 million annually in business, personal and consumption taxes. The beer industry is made up of three distinct partners that work together to get beer to customers: brewers and importers, independent beer distributors and licensed retailers. [ YahooFinance ] Windrift Hill (Conrad), Agile Focus Designs (Bozeman), Wild Blume (Bozeman) winners of $15,000 in grants from Prospera's Montana Women’s Business Center The Montana Women’s Business Center at Prospera recently awarded three women-owned businesses grants totaling up to $15,000. The Montana Women’s Business Center said it received more than 70 applications for their inaugural grant cycle. Along with standard business details, the grant application required each applicant to share their story of how they plan to give back to the community. The first place winner was Windrift Hill , which is based in Conrad, Montana, and sells handmade goat milk soap, lotion, and body butter (along with other body care products), using farm fresh goat milk from their herd of Nubian goats. The second place winner was Bozeman-based Agile Focus Designs which provides accurate, agile, and user-friendly tools for microscopists in manufacturing, science, and healthcare. And third place was Bozeman-basd Wild Blume, a floral design studio that specializes in weddings, events and workshops inspired by the details of the wild places. [ ABCFox Montana ] Big Sky Economic Development aiming to buy downtown Montana National Bank building in Billings Big Sky Economic Development (BSED) is hoping to purchase the downtown Montana National Bank building in BIllings as its new home — but the deal isn't done yet. The group still needs to secure a federal grant for half of the roughly $4 million purchase price and remodel costs. But it already got a big boost from the building's current owners, Zoot Enterprises ( hiring ), who knocked $750,000 of the purchase price of the building, effectively donating the amount to BSED. The group was looking for a new home in part to find more space for its new entrepreneur center, Rock 31. The center will have some specialized equipment, like 3D printers, but will be more of a collaborative space, rather than a manufacturing space. “This is an exciting first step in moving our organization to a location designed for entrepreneurs, current business owners and community stakeholders to engage with our talented and experienced economic development team," said Big Sky Economic Development executive director Steve Arveschoug in a press release. [ Billings Gazette ]
Apparently warmer days are just around the corner! Jump into the upcoming Mother's Day weekend with a huge appreciation for all the amazing, influential moms out there...and while also taking a quick minute to scan this week's skim of Montana business news below.  All 26 students graduate from new UM program with jobs at Missoula’s ATG Cognizant’s Advanced Technology Group hired 26 students who graduated from the company’s first class in a new specialized training program at the University of Montana last week (and still is hiring !). The program, called All-In Missoula, trains students in business essentials, consulting, systems analysis and design, data analytics and more. The goal is to prepare students, with the help of UM, to work for companies like ATG and Cognizant. University of Montana president Seth Bodnar and ATG senior vice president of strategy and corporate development Tom Stergios planned the program in a matter of months, and are happy to have new employees joining the ATG team. The 12-week program at Missoula College pays students a living wage while they train and provides instruction by UM faculty. At the end, participants can interview for possible employment with ATG and Cognizant. The Cognizant ATG Missoula Solution Center employs about 90 employees in Missoula, with plans to expand the workforce to 125. About 175 employees work for ATG across Montana. Using the program to recruit employees is a viable way to provide Missoula with good-paying jobs while growing ATG’s workforce, said Amita Greer, manager of All-In Missoula. The company plans to have four to six cohorts graduate from the program. [ Missoula Current] NorthWestern Energy, Billings reach agreement on largest solar project in Montana NorthWestern Energy ( hiring ) has reached an agreement with a 150-acre Billings solar farm large enough to power 4,900 homes. Meadowlark Solar is expected to come online in 2021. The 20-megawatt project is one of several in the works for the Billings area, but the first to receive an agreement with Montana’s largest monopoly utility. Developer Mark Klein said the project would be built as a Community Renewable Energy Project, or CREP, and as part of a bigger state plan for utilities to get a small percentage of their electricity from renewable energy projects. The cost of the electricity from Meadowlark Solar won’t be revealed for several weeks, but developer Klein said the privately funded $18 million project’s margins are tight, and the rate should be favorable for NorthWestern Energy customers. [ Billings Gazette ] Missoula Economic Partnership expanding focus beyond business attraction Economic development (as expanding businesses and attracting new ones) is still a central mission behind the Missoula Economic Partnership. But, as of late, it goes beyond those two flagship goals. According to Greant Kier, president and CEO of the Missoula Economic Partnership , “We have traditionally talked a lot about jobs and the economy, but fundamentally, I think we’re all in the same work together, and that’s how we give human beings in our community an opportunity to put their efforts and passions into opportunities and challenges that give them meaning in their lives.” And it’s with that focus that the organization is expanding its focus beyond business attraction to tap what Kier sees as the deeper elements of economic development. Among them, the organization looks to serve more as a facilitator between the community and outside opportunities. That includes finding ways to fund community needs and assets by attracting private capital into projects that carry a public benefit. While MEP adjusts its focus to touch on housing and other local challenges, it will continue to work on behalf of businesses, including those looking for state grants to grow their local workforce. [ Missoula Current ] Missoula beekeepers develop app that ‘listens’ to a hive’s health Honeybees can communicate the health of their colony by the frequency of their buzzing, and an app can help translate that to beekeepers thanks to a group of Missoula scientists. The Bee Health Guru smartphone app listens to bee colonies and can report in seconds to a beekeeper whether the hive is well or ailing. The app can even tell if the queen has died, if the hive is infested with Varroa mites, or if the colony is failing. In all, it listens for eight different conditions, using a smartphone’s microphone. Since 2006, 20-40 percent of bee colonies in the United States have suffered “colony collapse.” Therefore, scientists are always looking for a better means of assessing the health of a hive. The new app will also help beekeepers determine what certain issues look like and explain what they are. An online beekeeping community is also built into the system. The group has started a $13,000 30-day Kickstarter campaign to help fund further development, including improving the app’s functionality for different phone types and getting other beekeepers to use the app and report feedback. Using artificial intelligence, the app will learn to listen and adjust with time. [ Missoula Current ] Governor Bullock signs bill to support business growth and entrepreneurship Governor Steve Bullock recently signed into law House Bill 52, one of his priority pieces of legislation which reauthorizes a set of tools that support business growth and entrepreneurship. “The success of Montana’s economy over recent years is not by accident, it’s because of forward-looking policies that support the growth and development of our small businesses and entrepreneurs in every corner of the state,” Governor Bullock said. “The bipartisan reauthorization of these tools will strengthen this legacy for our small businesses and for our economy in the long-term.” Since Governor Bullock’s time in office, the economic development tools reauthorized in HB 52 have leveraged assets of $667.5 million, have helped more than 15,000 small businesses expand their footprint, and have supported more than 12,000 Montana jobs. The economic development tools were originally signed into law by Governor Marc Racicot in 2000 and renewed in 2009. The signing of HB 52 prevents the programs from sunsetting on July 1, 2019. “It’s only appropriate that a bill to continue successful investments in small business growth and good-paying jobs across the state will be signed into law during Economic Development Week,” said Rep. Jim Keane (D-Butte), sponsor of HB 52. “This will allow us to utilize coal revenue for the next 8 years to ensure that Montana's economic development continues long into the future.” [ Montana Department of Commerce] Missoula Economic Partnership: 400 new high-paying Montana jobs could come to Missoula Missoula Economic Partnership grants manager Nicole Rush told City Council members this past week that companies she’s working with in Missoula could create 400 new high-wage Montana jobs over the next year. Rush works with local companies, along with Missoula County and the Montana Department of Commerce, to apply for Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund grants, which partially reimburse businesses for creating good-paying jobs that bring money in from out of state. “Since 2013, we’ve helped 24 companies create 532 jobs in Missoula,” Rush said. “Collectively we’ve received $3.7 million in (grant) support.” “Missoula has secured more of these grants than any other city in Montana,” she said. “We have $2 million in pending applications. The next round of applications have six companies interested in just that round. We think over the next year those companies might create 400 new Missoula jobs." [ Missoulian ]
PHOTO CREDIT: HAZER LIVE We aren't so certain April "snow" showers bring May flowers. No matter, jump into May with this week's skim of Montana business news below. Missoula's Hellgate Venture Network celebrates 10 years of successful start-ups The Hellgate Venture Network celebrated its 10th anniversary recently, acknowledging a now-substantial history of monthly meetings and networking events for hundreds of Montana start-ups. The Missoula organization connects Montana businesses to resources or other local companies that can help with background logistics like finance, hiring and site selection. “Entrepreneurs have a really rough road, and it’s hard to have somebody to talk to in your organization if you’re the boss. You don’t really have a peer-to-peer network of anybody you can confide in,” Hellgate Venture Network co-founder and Goodworks Ventures CEO Dawn McGee said. The monthly meetings include a short presentation by an entrepreneur who has overcome a challenge or struggle in the business world. Networking always follows, McGee said. About 900 people have been part of the Hellgate Venture Network community. [ Missoula Current ] Bozeman-Yellowstone Airport likely to see another record year The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has seen a 23 percent increase in passenger traffic so far in 2019 and is once again on track to have a record-breaking year. “Just like everything else in the valley, it’s hard to imagine where we’re going,” said airport director Brian Sprenger. Over the last nine years, passenger traffic has doubled and is estimated to reach 1.3 million people in 2019 and 1.6 million in 2020. Sprenger said this growth isn’t contingent upon tourists and is because of the area’s strong economy. To manage the growth, the airport is expanding the terminal about two years earlier than initially scheduled, completing $2.5 million in infrastructure upgrades and nearing completion on a $30 million parking garage. [ Bozeman Daily Chronicle ] Can Do: How Pat LaPointe helps Montana's early-stage tech companies grow On the most recent episode of Montana Public Radio’s series Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, angel funder Pat LaPointe drills into the details of accelerating the growth of early-stage tech companies in Montana, and why it matters. As an angel funder, LaPointe provides not only capital but mentoring and networking opportunities to tech-based startups in Montana and nearby states. He also serves on the board of several companies he's helped develop. Pat is the managing director of Montana-based Frontier Angels , and the author of Marketing by the Dashboard Light. He recently helped launch Early Stage Montana , a coalition of Montana organizations that trains and mentors entrepreneurs. Statewide Showcase, its 2018 business competition, gave seven Montana companies a chance to pitch their businesses. Within a few months of completing the program these companies had raised over $3 million to fund their development. Hear more from Pat here . [ Montana Public Radio ] Bozeman-based startup MyVillage gets record venture capital investment to alleviate the childcare shortage A pair of Montana entrepreneurs believe they’ve come up with a business model that will empower women to pursue good careers, earn a great wage, stay in the workforce and help alleviate the affordable childcare availability crisis. And investors are convinced they've got a good idea, too, as they recently secured $5.95 million in venture capital, the largest seed funding round in Montana history. Co-founder and CEO Erica Mackey and her business partner, Elizabeth Szymanski, founded MyVillage , a company that helps people start childcare programs in their home and run them successfully. The company handles all the back-end business headaches that childcare business owners, such as liability insurance, government licensing, marketing, software, scheduling, accounting, billing, records and client communications. They also provide childcare-specific resources such as curricula options, local mentors, food recipes, time management, financial consulting and shared best practices. And Mackey says running an in-home childcare business caring for just six kids at a time, full-time, can earn someone up to $66,000 a year in Montana or Colorado. MyVillage's recent seed funding round of nearly $6 million in venture capital was mostly from private equity firms that had never invested in Montana or childcare before. “ Acumen America invested in MyVillage because it has the team, strategy, determination and moral imagination to challenge the status quo of childcare in the U.S.,” said Catherine Casey Nanda, director of the venture capital firm. “The company has a scalable solution that will work in every state to solve the national childcare crisis.” Anyone interested in learning more about starting their own in-home childcare business with MyVillage in Montana, they can start a conversation here . [ Missoulian ] Growing Missoula’s bioscience industry needs focus on workforce development Those working to incubate Montana’s bioscience industry and take it to the next level will focus on developing the workforce needed to fill new Montana jobs created in the process, saying it’s a critical piece to growing the emerging sector in Missoula. A $500,000 annual award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will help get the process started. The grant was one of seven issued nationally this month by the SBA, something local experts see as a nod to the industry’s future. According to Nicol Rush of the Missoula Economic Partnership , the SBA recognized the work taking place in Montana’s burgeoning bioscience industry and awarded the grant to further develop it. The collaboration involves several key players, including the University of Montana , MonTEC , the Missoula Economic Partnership , the Montana World Trade Center , the Montana Bioscience Alliance and Swan Valley Medical . The goals are simple, at least in concept, and include communicating to the outside world the work taking place in Montana while providing the technical support to expand research and development. It will also look to the success of the university’s collaboration with ATG and Cognizant , which recently launched a program to train students for current and future Montana jobs within the company. The global tech firm has plans for additional growth in Missoula, and it’s relying in part on UM to help develop the necessary talent. [ Missoulian ] As the tech industry grows in Montana, are women growing with it? As the tech sector grows rapidly, women are making gains in Montana. In 2017, Inc. magazine used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine that Montana had the highest percentage of women-owned businesses in the U.S. The same year, Montana was also No. 8 on the list of states with the highest employment vitality for women-owned businesses, a list created by American Express. According to longtime veteran of Bozeman’s tech world, Susan Carstensen now of Yellowstone Growth Partners , the business climate for women in Montana doesn’t look like it did when she first started. “The difference between 1995 and today, I think, is pretty dramatic,” she said. Additionally, according to Suzi White, Prospera’s Women’s Business Network director, there are more resources than ever and several organizations throughout the state dedicated to advancing women in the workplace. And evidence of the changing landscape can be seen in examples such as OnX ( hiring ). Shortly after the Missoula-based hunting app company closed a $20.3 million growth equity investment deal, they hired a woman, Laura Orvidas, to run the company. Orvidas came with 19 years of experience at Amazon. Still, as women make gains, leaders say there is work to be done. According to Christina Henderson, executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance , “I think part of the challenge is the lower percentage of executive leaders,” she said. “Women can feel outnumbered or feel like they’re the only woman in the room.” [ Bozeman Chronicle ] The Bozeman Area Community Foundation receives national recognition In an effort to further strengthen the work done on behalf of donors and the nonprofit community, the Bozeman Area Community Foundation has completed the steps required to receive accreditation from the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® . This NSUSCF is an organization that has established legal, ethical, and effective practices for community foundations everywhere. Currently, the Bozeman Area Community Foundation is only one of three community foundations out of 75 in the state of Montana to achieve this accreditation. “This is critically important to our donors and our Gallatin County community,” said Bridget Wilkinson, Bozeman Area Community Foundation Executive Director. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely, honor their charitable wishes and, in some cases, provide lifetime income to a loved one. The National Standards accreditation says our house is in order. We are so proud of this accomplishment that has taken years of hard work.” [ Bozeman Area Community Foundation ] Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline to spend $100M expanding Montana facility GlaxoSmithKline ( hiring ) has announced investment of $100 million in its manufacturing site in Hamilton, Montana. British-based GSK said in a statement released Wednesday that it will expand the production capacity at its Hamilton facility, where it produces components used in several vaccines, including ones to help prevent malaria and shingles. Over the next few years, the company says its Hamilton site expansion is expected to add a combination of temporary construction and contracting Montana jobs, as well as new permanent Montana positions, including scientists, engineers and manufacturing and quality professionals. [ The News & Advance ] New full-time coding bootcamp launches in Billings The Montana Code School , a provider of coding bootcamps in Missoula and Bozeman, and ROCK 31 the entrepreneurial program operated by Big Sky EDA , are pleased to announce the launch of a full-time coding bootcamp in Billings this summer. The 12 week full stack junior developer program will begin in early June and will be housed in the Billings offices of Zoot Enterprises . Montana Code Schools programs train individuals with little or no coding experience to be ready for entry-level software developer jobs or related career tracks in the high tech industry. “We’re excited to bring the Montana Code School to Billings.” said Montana Code School Executive Director Paul Gladen. “Over the last three and a half years, more than 150 students have graduated from our programs in Missoula and Bozeman with the substantial majority securing tech savvy jobs with many of Montana’s leading and growing high tech companies – including ATG ( hiring ), LumenAd ( hiring ), PrintingForLess ( hiring ), Workiva ( hiring ), Submittable ( hiring ) and Zoot Enterprises ( hiring ).” [ Montana Code School ] Cheese-making plant proposed in central Montana A proposal for the development of a dairy processing facility on property owned by Madison Food Park (MFP) was submitted to the Cascade County Planning Board last Thursday. The principal owners of the park intends to develop Big Sky Cheese, which will principally process fresh milk supplied by local and regional dairy producers into a variety of cheese products, according to a special use permit application submitted last week. The application states Big Sky Cheese plans to build a primary dairy/cheese processing building and a secondary building/shop. The dairy processing building will also include a retail area for sampling and purchasing cheese products. Five to 10 full-time employees are anticipated at this time. The application states the venture is expected to create Montana employment opportunities and positions for laborers, and skilled and management level jobs. [ KTVQ ] Missoula-based Submittable is a top grant management tool; named #1 of 20 Best Grant Management Software in 2019 In a recent Finance Online article, the 20 best grant management software out in the market today were evaluated based on features, functionalities and pricing. The article names Missoula’s Submittable ( hiring ) as #1 noting it is an all-in-one application management software that simplifies the grants management process for different organizations. With its customizable and streamlined workflow and flexibility to integrate with several third-party applications, Submittable clearly took the cake. Read the full report here . [ Finance Online ] Report highlights childcare, tight job market as challenges in Bozeman area A labor report commissioned by business leaders shows that Gallatin County is facing a tight labor market, and adequate childcare supply remains a challenge for the workforce. The report compiled by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry covered everything from wage growth to migration patterns in Gallatin and Park counties. It was commissioned by Gallatin College , the City of Bozeman’s Economic Development Department and the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce . The report’s findings aren’t surprising, said Brit Fontenot, economic development director for the city. Gallatin County has the capacity to care for 33% of its children under five years old, and the average cost of childcare for two young children is 21% of the median family income. The presentation also named transportation costs as a barrier. Transportation expenditures as a percent of income totaled 9.7% in Montana, compared to the U.S. average of 7.4%. In a pricey housing market, things like childcare and transportation costs can have a huge impact on the area’s workforce, Fontenot said. The report further identified that over the past five years, Gallatin County added the most construction jobs statewide, and real estate was one of the fastest growing industries. Data from the report will be distributed to several agencies and organizations to help them prioritize needs in planning for the city’s future, Fontenot said. Gallatin College will use the information to determine what kind of programs it should offer, and the city can pull information from it for businesses that inquire about opening up or expanding to Bozeman. [ Bozeman Daily Chronicle ]
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