10,000 jobs could disappear in rural Montana as business owners retire, official says

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By: David Erickson 

As many as 10,000 jobs are at risk of disappearing in rural Montana over the next five years because small business owners are nearing retirement and there’s nobody willing to buy their companies and keep workers employed.

“When a little town like Circle loses a manufacturing company with three to four employees, that’s never coming back,” said Wayne Gardella, the Montana district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The projections are so alarming that Gardella’s office has teamed up with the Governer’s Office of Economic Development and the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center to try to find solutions.

“We want to reach out to them three or four years before they’re thinking about selling so that they can have all their information, (such as their appraisals and net profits), ready to go for an interested buyer,” Gardella said.

He was speaking at an event called Invest Montana, a roundtable discussion and presentation by Montana Securities Commissioner Matt Rosendale, on Tuesday at the Stockman Bank building in Missoula. The statewide tour is the commissioner’s initiative to encourage business investment and highlight capital formation throughout the state. It also aims to educate Montanans on the ways the state’s securities laws allow organizations, companies and local governments to raise funding from investors.

“The purpose of the capital formation presentations and roundtable discussions is to create a dialogue with business leaders, economic development organizations, business incubators, and community leaders to promote investment in Montana and support businesses as they start up and/or grow their existing operations,” Rosendale said.

Read more at the Missoulian