By: Margo Schmidt
The community-focused entrepreneurial nature of Montana creates the perfect environment for startups to engage in alternative financing for funding their businesses. Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale brought the statewide Invest in Montana tour to Missoula on April 10 to feature funding options available to startups. He intends to initiate a dialogue about starting and growing businesses to improve Montana’s economy in 19 cities across the state.
Montana is a top state for crowdfunding, according to Deputy Securities Commissioner Lynne Egan, and offers a unique exemption for companies to raise up to $1 million annually through crowdfunding without the typical registration requirements. Since July 2015, this exemption has allowed companies to fund their businesses through their local communities. Egan said more local investment creates a sense of community and more residual income staying in the state.
SBA Montana District Director Wayne Gardella spoke about helping small business owners with resources they categorize into the three C’s: capital, counseling, and contracting. With seven representatives throughout the state, the SBA counsels about 1,000 business owners each year and can offer loans between $5,000 and $5 million to qualified businesses. Gardella also spoke about one of the biggest challenges businesses face: planning their exit strategy when it is time to pass ownership of the business.
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