February 14, 2024
A Letter from Grant Kier, President & CEO
Missoula Economic Partnership
The Headwaters Tech Hub (HTH) recognizes and seeks to extend our region’s leadership in photonic sensing, accelerate our ability to commercialize technologies at scale, and increase our ecosystem’s technology footprint into sectors vital to the national and economic security of the United States. The range of industry sectors already touched by this technology include autonomous vehicles, precision agriculture, natural resource management, infrastructure security, and more. Relative to Montana’s economy, there is almost unlimited potential for economic growth through this technology. There is also intentional effort from consortium members to ensure that growth within the HTH spurs economic growth far beyond.
Businesses and entrepreneurs within the HTH face many of the same headwinds as other industries in Montana. The HTH consortium members will use our state’s leadership status in this key global technology to strengthen and refine a robust ecosystem that supports workforce development at all skill levels and across many cultures, fosters entrepreneurship, and drive technology maturation. These are foundational components for growing every industry in our state. Not unlike roads, bridges, or utilities, as our state grows in population and our economy diversifies, we must make strategic investments in each of these components to ready them for the future. The HTH leverages private and federal investment to ensure these components function at the highest level and best serve businesses at all stages and across all sectors.
The HTH builds on momentum and existing programs within the geographic corridor of western Montana that includes Tribal lands and communities and the urban centers of Bozeman, Missoula, Butte-Silver Bow, and Kalispell.  But you don’t have to do business or live in one of these areas to benefit from the HTH. The HTH is designed specifically to showcase and utilize Montana’s primarily rural areas and economies as keys to global leadership, using the momentum in these centers to drive technology innovations and workforce development that primarily serves rural businesses, industries, and applications.
Montana’s Headwaters Tech Hub (HTH) consortium is positioning us for global leadership in photonic sensing by leveraging our existing strengths and competitive advantages. The HTH is being designed to ensure that opportunities from investments and advancements in these key technologies are leveraged into foundational economic development benefits for our region and our rural communities.
Grant Kier, President & CEO of the Missoula Economic Partnership can be reached at 406.541.6461.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce unveiled new data shedding light on the economic impact of Valentine’s Day nationwide, underscoring the pivotal role of businesses in creating memorable experiences for Americans.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers plan to spend $25.8 billion this Valentine’s Day. As part of its “Brought to You by American Business” initiative, the Chamber used that number to calculate the anticipated economic benefit from Valentine’s Day for U.S. metro areas across the country.

Read the full article here.
Tell Us about the impacts of the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) on YOUR business
In light of recent court cases and the current DEQ process of reviewing how the Montana Environmental Policy Act works, the Montana Chamber would like to hear from you about how your business is impacted by MEPA. 

What can you tell us about your business’ direct or indirect experience related to MEPA, permitting, etc? 

Please share your thoughts with us by emailing Sheridan Johnson, Government Affairs Specialist at [email protected].
Montana Department of Commerce's Cybersecurity Grant Program application deadline extended
DEADLINE EXTENDED: If you own a small to medium-sized business, there’s still time to apply for up to $8,000 in grant funding through the Montana Cybersecurity Program.

Apply by April 30 to help ensure the security of your operations and protect what you’ve worked so hard to achieve!

Learn more here.
The Women's Foundation of Montana is now seeking projects in the Treasure State that directly benefit women and girls. Whether providing services, building leadership, or engaging in policy, if you're committed to inclusivity and have a clear impact, we want to hear from you!

Preference for rural and tribal communities.

Apply for general operating or project-specific support. Learn more and apply here.
February is Career and Technical Education Month
Last week in celebration of Career and Technical Education Month, Governor Greg Gianforte hosted a Roundtable at East Helena High School with over a dozen educators, legislators, and business and community partners, including our President/CEO Todd O'Hair and Sarah Swanson, Commissioner of the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.

The discussion focused on how we can increase opportunities for Montana’s students and build a stronger workforce. The Montana Chamber Foundation is working to ensure our students are equipped with the skills they need to enter the workforce as well as to be our next crop of successful entrepreneurs.

Registration for the 35th Annual Ace in the Hole and Governors' Cup Golf Tournament July 25-27 is open, along with an inaugural Clay Target Shooting Competition on Friday for our non-golfers. Proceeds benefit the Montana Chamber Foundation and its efforts to support workforce development and entrepreneurship with students in grades 5-12. Register here.
Montana Chamber Signature Events:
Why not treat yourself and join us
WED-FRI, MARCH 6-8, 2024
AC Hotel Bozeman Downtown | Kimpton Armory Hotel
Bozeman, MT
Lodging $179 / night
International Women's Day Power Lunch
"Bridging the Gap: How to Succeed in a Multi-generational Workplace"
Elaine Swann is America’s Leading Lifestyle and Etiquette Expert. As the founder of The Swann School of Protocol, she is the first ever Black woman to own an etiquette licensing program. With a franchise-like program, Elaine has over 20 independently owned and operated Swann Schools across the US. She has traveled the country sharing her advice with prestigious businesses and universities such as Cisco, Merrill, Stanford, and the Wharton School of Business. 
Elaine is the author of "Let Crazy Be Crazy” and has appeared on numerous news and talk shows such as TODAY, Dr. Phil, Dr. OZ, ABC World News, and CNN. She has been featured on NPR, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Business Insider. Elaine continues to passionately pave the way for other entrepreneurs like her and provide job opportunities with her "Business in a Box" model.
REGISTRATION CLOSES Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Full Conference Registration (includes IWD Power Lunch): $495 / per person

IWD Power Lunch ONLY Ticket for Friday, March 8th: $150 / per person
All are welcome.
This event is sponsored by Bozeman Hotels & Motels. If you are traveling to Bozeman, book your stay at one of the many hotels and motels found throughout the city, offering a variety of prices and amenities to fit all budgets and travel experiences
SAVE THE DATE: National Travel & Tourism Week is May 19-25
To recognize Tourism as one of our state’s leading industries, the Montana Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the U.S. Travel Association's National Travel & Tourism Week (#NTTW24) and the intersection of tourism with the film and outdoor recreation industries at the 2nd Annual Convergence, May 21-22, 2024. All harness the power of place, #TheLastBestPlace, to drive economic development and create thriving communities.
Tourism is the leading service export for the Treasure State. In 2022, Montana played host to 12.5 million non-resident visitors who spent $5.82B. This contributed $315 million in state and local taxes according to the UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR), which supported approximately 43,900 jobs, the study estimates, a figure associated with $1.3B in direct labor income. 
Montana’s outdoor recreation heritage and brand are vital to tourism – both leisure and business travel – and the film industry. They are a draw for visitors and residents alike, coupled with their importance for business attraction is undeniable. Outdoor recreation is a substantial component of Montana’s economy. In 2022, it generated $2.9B, accounting for 4.3% of total GDP per the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Only Hawaii has a greater concentration of outdoor recreation. The sector employs 29,453 Montanans, translating to 5.6% of all employment in the state.
For the event’s first year, we honored the resilience of the Greater Yellowstone region, its Gateway Communities from Livingston to Gardiner, the greater Paradise Valley, Cooke City/Silver Gate, and West Yellowstone, which experienced a 500-year historic flooding event in early June 2022 that closed the Park.

This year, we turn our attention to Butte, America as we convene 150 industry allies for discussions around the impact of SB-540 on the tourism sector, the importance of the MEDIA (Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement) film tax credit, and policy initiatives for the 2025 Legislature to expand it, the outdoor recreation landscape in Montana, air and rail service developments, and more. Additional details coming soon!
Montana Chamber Member Spotlight:
Civil Engineering | Land Use Planning | Surveying
406 Engineering is a 100% employee-owned company, specializing in providing high-quality land-use development services in
the heart of Western Montana

406 Engineering, Inc. was founded by three native Montanans in 2018 with the simple yet powerful motto of “Work Hard | Work Smart | Enjoy Life.” This motto became the building block for creating the unique company culture that 406 Engineering has to offer. Within the first few years we cultivated a diverse team of experienced individuals which has attracted talent from all around the country allowing us to continue to expand to where we are today. In 2022, 406 Engineering proudly transitioned to a fully employee-owned company ensuring that we will continue to recruit and retain the best consultants in our field. Our team is currently led by eight registered Professional Engineers with a combined experience of over 100 years. As 406 Engineering continues to progress, our commitment to “Work Hard| Work Smart| Enjoy Life” continues to propel us forward and is the driving force behind our success.
This Business Brief Is Sponsored by Our Treasure State Member:
To learn more about Treasure State Membership benefits for your business, contact Matt Olson, Director of Network Development at [email protected] | 406.360.6443
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