Check out these five stories from across Montana that highlight entrepreneurship, the high tech sector, and everything else that makes Montana great!

Pheasant hunting, Central Montana

1. Montana Made: Rusty Lathe Wood Design

What started out as a hobby has now turned into a successful side job for Daniel Escobedo. After Escobedo received a lathe for a Christmas present in 2015, he soon began experimenting with the craft. He experimented with bowls, cups and eventually began making pens.

Escobedo soon began selling his products online and at the Farmers Market in Great Falls. Now, he makes a variety of products including razors, seam rippers and brushes.

Click here to watch the full video.

2. Montana Startups Find Receptive Audience at 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

Four Montana business startups attended the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco in the beginning of September. With help from the Montana High Tech Business Alliance and the Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the companies traveled to the technology convention as the Montana Pavilion, representing the state for the first time to potential investors and expansion-minded businesses, according to a Missoula Current article.

“I think the story of the tech boom in Montana, of our status as one of the No. 1 states for entrepreneurship in the country is little known nationally. So we’re hoping this can draw some attention,” said Christina Henderson, executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance in the Missoula Current.

The event is the world’s largest tech startup conference, hosting thousands of companies, investors and economic development organizations. Click here to read more.

3. Arts Can Drive Billings’ Economy (with Time and Effort)

As towns in Montana look to grow their economies, Billings is considering an artistic approach.

During the Billings Chamber’s Annual Meeting this week, ArtsQuest’s chief operating officer was the keynote speaker. Curt Mosel shared about how ArtsQuest, an arts and culture hub and economic development driver in Pennsylvania, has a $145 million annual economic impact on the Lehigh Valley. The group’s iconic background, SteelStacks, was created after the demise of the Bethlehem Steel in 1995. According to the Billings Gazette article, Billings economic developers are looking for a project for a similar vision.

Click here to read more about Billings’ artistic vision.

4. Better Air Service, Strong Promotion Drive Montana Tourism to New Heights

Over the past few years, the state of Montana has seen many tangible impacts from promoting itself and focusing on the tourism industry.

Last year, Kevin Costner’s miniseries “Yellowstone” filmed in Darby. This brought recognition once again to Western Montana and residents noticed an increase in real estate interest.

Dax Schieffer, the director of Voices for Montana Tourism, said 12.5 million non-resident visitors spent $3.4 billion in Montana last year, supporting 53, 000 jobs while generating $205 million in state and local taxes. This has been made possible with the improvement of air service. Missoula accounts for roughly 19 percent of all airline passenger traffic, just behind Billings and Bozeman.

To read more about Montana’s tourism growth, click here to read more.

5. Roxy Theater Bringing 35mm Films Back to Missoula

For the first time in years, the Roxy theater in Missoula will be able to show films on actual film on a regular basis for the first time in years.

While the theater has digital projectors, according to the Missoulian article only around 40 percent of movies have been digitized for theatrical showings. This includes classics like “Tombstone” and even newer films. With the two 35mm projectors installed, the Roxy plans to show around two movies a month on film.

Click here to read more about the Roxy.

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