Economic Development Week is a time to reflect on the many successes of public-private partnerships to grow businesses, create jobs and strengthen the economy. This year, Montana has something extra to celebrate with the bipartisan passage of House Bill 52.
HB 52 reauthorizes Montana’s suite of integrated economic development programs until 2027 — tools like Certified Regional Development Corporations, Small Business Development Centers, the export trade program at the Department of Commerce, Growth Through Agriculture at the Department of Agriculture and others.
These programs have assisted more than 15,000 businesses and created or retained more than 12,000 jobs since 2012. With another eight years to continue this important work, the impacts will continue to multiply across the state.
HB 52 passed in-part because of overwhelming support from Montana’s small business and economic development community. More than 100 Montana businesses sent in letters of support, and some representatives even traveled to Helena to vouch for the importance and effectiveness of these programs at legislative hearings.
These businesses supported the legislation because they have experienced firsthand how economic development helps hard-working Montanans achieve their dreams.
Because of economic development, a new pulse crop processing facility opened and created jobs on the Blackfeet Reservation. An entrepreneur in Billings obtained financing to follow her dream of opening a restaurant. A Stevensville business made connections at an industry tradeshow that allowed it to expand to a global market and grow its annual sales by 20 percent.
Similar success stories can be found in every corner of Montana, and economic development is the thread that ties them together. Every day, local, regional and state resources support the growth and sustainability of industries and small businesses that strengthen our economy. We’re proud to have a hand in this work and watch business grow from idea into job creator, international exporter, and economic driver.
Director, Department of Commerce