Missoulian: Internet giants, Montana entrepreneurs to take part in Kalispell business workshop

Two of America’s most successful Internet companies and several Montana entrepreneurs are scheduled to participate in Sen. Jon Tester’s Small Business Opportunity Workshop on Friday, July 9, in Kalispell.

Google and Microsoft will be on hand at Flathead Valley Community College for Tester’s event to offer advice to Montana businesses on job creation, innovation and marketing opportunities.

Dozens of Montana companies have signed up so far to attend Tester’s workshop, which is free and open to the public. Montanans interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at tester.senate.gov/workshop. The workshop will be from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“Folks in the Flathead have been especially hurt by the downturn in the economy,” said Tester, who worked with the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce to bring a workshop to the area. “But, Montana has got some of the hardest working people in the country. My goal is to help ignite some innovation and outside-the-box thinking. By giving our small businesses information on the tools available, we’ll get those businesses cranking again and we’ll boost jobs and opportunities for Montanans.”

Several Montana entrepreneurs will also be on hand, including:

  • Tom McMakin of Bozeman, a venture capitalist and former COO of Great Harvest Bread Co. in Dillon.
  • Bill Payne of Whitefish, a business executive, engineer, angel investor and “Entrepreneur in Residence” at the Kauffman Foundation for 12 years.
  • Morrie Shechtman of Kalispell, chairman of Fifth Wave Leadership, which helps companies with leadership development, sales effectiveness and recruitment.
  • Anne Marie Quinn of Bozeman with Montana Molecular.
  • Kim Ormsby of Bozeman, 2010 Montana Small Business Person of the Year with the Natural Baby Co.
  • Larry Hall of Ronan with S&K Electronics.

Other expected participants in Tester’s workshop include prominent leaders with Frontier Angel Fund, Glacier Bank, Kalispell Small Business Development Center, Montana Community Development Corp., Montana Department of Commerce, Montana Economic Developers Association, National Center for Appropriate Technology, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The event will focus on entrepreneurship, access to capital (such as loans, grants and tax credits) and online marketing opportunities.

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