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

1. Small Business Owners Shine at Minnow Tank Competition

Thanks to the Great Northern Development Corporation, entrepreneurs in eastern Montana had an opportunity to compete for $5,000 in the Minnow Tank Business Plan Competition.

The competition took place Sept. 22 at the Cottonwood Inn in Glasgow. The Minnow Tank focused on small businesses in the region and brought in entrepreneurs from nine towns in seven counties. There were two categories in the competition: start-up businesses and existing businesses. Each category winner received $5,000.

Competitors presented their businesses to the crows and a panel of three judges.

Click here to read more and find out who the two winners were.

2. How Small Montana Businesses Are Creating a Big Online Presence

Thanks to the power of the internet, businesses in even the smallest of Montana’s towns have found success from a strong online presence.  An article from the “Helena Independent Record” features one of these companies in Wolf Creek.

Wolf Creek Angler is a fly-fishing shop with a worldwide presence. In a town of 477 people, Wolf Creek Angler’s Facebook page has 4, 700 followers on Facebook. Store owner Jason Orzechowski said people from all over the world come to visit Wolf Creek and visit his shop. He said people have come from as far as Italy and France.

Click here to read more about Wolf Creek Angler’s online efforts and successes.

3. Missoula Apple Drive Removes Bear Attractants, Sweetens Western Cider Production

As the old adage goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. For residents in Montana, apples are attractants to animals like deer and bears.  Thanks to the Great Bear Apple Drive, residents can donate their apples to Western Cider to remove apples from their property.

According to the Missoula Current story, the campaign collected nearly 15,000 pounds of fruit.

“The bears come into town to eat the fruit and get habituated, and ultimately, they get euthanized, so we want to help reduce that conflict,” said Michael Billingsley, one of Western Cider’s three founders in the article. “We also want to make great cider with community apples.”

Click here to read more about Western Cider’s partnership with the Great Bear Foundation.

4. Worden’s Market Running Strong After 135 Years

Worden’s Market was first established in Montana in 1883 in Stevensville, and seven years later it moved to Missoula to become the town’s first grocery store. Now 135 years, Worden’s Market has become a top destination in Montana for beer and wine.

Under the guidance of Tim and Exie France, Worden’s has grown over the years. The store moved from a 1,200 square feet building to its current 3,000 square feet. Worden’s Market was also the first store in Missoula to sell Corona and was the first store to Kessler beer from Helena, Montana’s first beer.

Click here to read more history about Worden’s.

5. All the World’s a Stage, but Starting a Theater Company in Billings Takes Grit

While Billing is known as Montana’s biggest town, it also has a vibrant theater scene. A recent article from the “Billings Gazette” highlights the town’s theater activity.

The article highlights several theater groups: Yellowstone Repertory Theatre, Backyard Theatre company, Billings Studio Theatre, NOVA, and Sacrifice Cliff Theatre Company. Each company talks about the joys and struggles of working in a town like Billings, which is big for Montana but small to a metropolitan state. It also highlights partner organizations like the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts, which offers Billlings’ roving theater companies space for rent for both rehearsing and performances.

Click here to read more.

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