Calling All Entrepreneurs: Montana's Small Business Development Conference Heads to Butte

Calling All Entrepreneurs: Montana's Small Business Development Conference Heads to Butte


Montana’s Network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) is gathering in Butte, April 24 and 25, to host the fourth annual Invest in Success Small Business Conference at Montana Tech.

This conference has been thoughtfully designed by the SBDC Network to provide small businesses the opportunity to learn and enhance their financial, managerial and technical skills as well as connect with resource providers and network with others in the small business community.

“Montana’s economy depends on entrepreneurs to provide jobs, opportunities and inspiration for others,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “Small businesses make up an overwhelming majority of businesses in the state. Because of this, I am firmly committed to supporting our main streets through the SBDC network and other economic development resources.”

Pre-Conference Activities
On April 24th, conference attendees will have the opportunity to attend an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of SeaCast Precision Investment Castings, a full-service investment casting foundry in Butte.  This tour will be followed by the opening conference reception at Headframe Spirits in uptown Butte.  The conference reception promises to be the perfect place to meet fellow conference goers, exchange a few business cards and enjoy some hors d’oeuvres while having a taste of Butte’s finest spirits.

Conference Workshops
The full-day conference on April 25th is comprised of four breakout sessions featuring 17 dynamic workshops.  The SBDC is bringing back a conference favorite: “Tales from the Trenches: A Montana Entrepreneur Panel,” featuring Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants, John and Courtney McKee of Headframe Spirits, Dave Robins of SeaCast and Matt Kress of General Electric.  The panel will discuss their experiences successfully starting, owning and operating a small business in Montana. 

Other morning session topics will feature process management, cash flow, innovation, and retail merchandising.  Afternoon sessions will cover health care changes, customer service, succession planning and growth strategies.  To view a full conference agenda, click here.

Keynote Address
The SBDC Network is excited to welcome Michael Shuman, an internationally-renowned community-based economics expert, to Montana as the Invest in Success keynote presenter.  Shuman is the current Director of Research at Cutting Edge Capital and Director of Economic Development at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).  He has authored seven books, including The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition, and most recently, Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity.  Shuman’s address will emphasize the importance of local economies, and how Montana investors can put their money into building Montana businesses and resilient regional economies – and profit in the process.

The Montana SBDC Network believes that Shuman’s focus on community-based economic development will resonate strongly with small business owners throughout the state.

Registration Instructions
The conference fee is $125* and includes the SeaCast tour, opening reception, and full access to conference workshops.  Breakfast and lunch are included on the 25th.  To register, visit or call Julie Jaksha, Conference Chair, at (406) 533-6780.  Conference updates can also be found on the Montana SBDC’s Facebook page.

*The SBDC is offering a discounted rate for students (must show valid ID upon check-in).

The Montana SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Network is a strategic partnership between the Montana Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, regional economic development organizations and the Montana higher education system. The Lead Center is located at the Montana Department of Commerce and supports ten centers around the state that provide free, confidential, one-on-one business counseling and low-cost training programs to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Montana SBDC Network has been servicing the Montana small business community since 1989

The SBDC Directors and Business Advisors assist clients every day with the preparation or fine-tuning of business plans, financial management, operations assistance, loan applications and marketing initiatives. SBDC training seminars cover timeless small business issues such as cash flow management, as well as new and emerging trends such as the use of social networking sites to market small business.

The SBDCs are dedicated to helping small businesses throughout Montana achieve their goals of growth, expansion, innovation and success. The SBDC Network combines the resources of federal, state and local organizations with that of the education system and private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the business community.