Resources for Bozeman Entrepreneurs

Thursday Nov. 1st, 2012

Bozeman has an abundance of resources and programs to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. You’ll find our community to be full of business owners who are looking to better our community and help others. I want to share with you some of the organizations and resources I’ve found to be supportive along my entrepreneurial journey. Below is a list of resources I personally recommend to fellow entrepreneurs.

Startup Bozeman
Startup Bozeman is an organization devoted to promoting entrepreneurship and helping small businesses. The group was started by Rob Irizarry, Garry Gannon, and Jake Cook. All three own businesses and are adamant about building the startup scene in our community and state. If you are looking to meet other motivated entrepreneurs, I’d recommend attending a Startup Bozeman event. You could get involved by attending one of their open coffee club events, which take place each Thursday from 7:30 am until 10:00 am at Rockford Coffee on 7th. They also provide classes and information sessions about entrepreneurial related topics including choosing a legal entity, funding a business, and other business related topics. Information about events can be found on their websites calendar.

Montana State University Innovation Campus
Montana State University is a top-notch resource for entrepreneurs serious about research and technology. Teresa McKnight is in charge of things over at the campus and has amazing plans for expansion and program growth. The MSU Innovation campus assists and supports start-up companies and new ideas. In addition, it is a place where MSU faculty, researchers, and scientists work with private and government researchers and scientists to help cutting edge science and technologies advance.

Innovate Montana
Innovate Montana is a public / private partnership created by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development that promotes entrepreneurship in the state of Montana. Innovate Montana has a portal online with information that will help any entrepreneur. Innovate Montana shares all the steps required for starting a business in the Treasure state. They provide all sorts of resources that help network and connect entrepreneurs across our area.

Montana State University
Montana State University offers a variety of educational resources to help local entrepreneurs. In addition to their courses designed for future entrepreneurs, the college offers services designed to benefit businesses in the Gallatin Valley.  Businesses can apply to work together with students from Gary Bishop’s Management 463 course, which places students in the position of consultants to small businesses. The students work in teams to help businesses with their market assessments, pricing strategies, logistics, and other important factors.

MSU Marketing Club
The MSU Marketing Club offers a variety of speaking events and information to help entrepreneurs. They share free information at their events, which take place on campus. Learn about topics related to Internet marketing, social media, branding, and running a business.

ikuw Solutions
iKuw Solutions is another excellent resource for entrepreneurs. iKuw is all about promoting entrepreneurship and providing resources to ensure their success. iKuw has shared office space available for entrepreneurs wanting a professional setting to work in. They also offer computer training classes for individuals to learn about programming and various software programs.

Montana Programmers
Montana Programmers is an excellent resource for tech entrepreneurs. The organization consists of local tech gurus who share information with other programmers a couple times each month. You’ll be able to learn about all things programming including coding languages, software development, web applications, operating systems, graphic design, and more.

Blue Ocean Innovation Center
The Blue Ocean Innovation Center is a co-working space on south 19th street. They offer affordable office space, a conference room, internet access, printing, and a fun environment to work in. If you are itching to get out of the home office, co-working spaces are an excellent solution. The Blue Ocean Innovation Center also puts on workshops and classes designed to help entrepreneurs with various aspects of running a business.

Young Professionals Group
Young Professionals group is an organization of business professionals and entrepreneurs looking to help better the community through volunteering, mentoring programs, educational events, and networking opportunities. The group meets once a month at local businesses.

Chamber of Commerce
The Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for entrepreneurs and professionals in the community. They offer lead passing groups, business after hours, and various other events and services to help get the word out about your business.
Prospera Business Network
Prospera offers a wide array of small business resources designed to facilitate growth and development. They provide educational opportunities to teach valuable information about business loans, growth, expansion, and other small business topics. The Prospera Network also is involved with the Montana Women’s Business Center, a resource for female entrepreneurs.

Gallatin Business Resource Network
Montana State University, the City of Bozeman, and the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce helped create to connect entrepreneurs with business resources. Their website has great information that small business owners and startups will find helpful.

The Bozeman SCORE chapter offers free business consulting and expert advice for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. The organization matches retired and working business counselors with those seeking help and advice. Our chapter offers educational opportunities and speakers on a continuous basis.

Local Entrepreneurs and Mentors
There are hundreds of entrepreneurs in the Bozeman area that would love to see you succeed. Contact the owner of a business you look up to or Google Bozeman businesses you’d like to learn more about. You’ll be able to find their email address, phone number, twitter information, or Facebook page with information to help you track them down. Tell them you are looking for advice and would love to have the opportunity to buy them lunch or coffee. Chances are, you’ll have a new source for top-notch business advice.

I’d highly recommend getting involved and looking into a few of the resources we have available. Bozeman is an excellent town to start a business in and the support for small businesses has allowed a number of entrepreneurs to find success in their entrepreneurial journeys.  Best of luck!

Pete Sveen is a Blogger with Think and owner of E-commerce Store.