#23 Montana

8.27 out of 10 in Taxation and Regulation

7.25 out of 10 in Workforce Quality

7.58 out of 10 in Living Environment

Growing Through Grass-Roots Entrepreneurship

Montana is one of a dozen states that isn’t home to a Fortune 500 headquarters, but its mid- market and startup scene is bustling. Roughly 10% of Montana’s adult population owns their own business, and a recent report found Missoula has the ninth-highest business startup rate per capita among 394 metro areas. Some big businesses are expanding: In 2015, Boeing opened a 55,000-square-foot expansion at its Helena manufacturing facility. There has also been notable growth in the craft brewing industry, which has grown by 87% since 2010 and provides more than 1,000 jobs with $33 million in personal income.

From the Governor

“When we invest in our workers, we invest in our future—and manufacturing in Montana is reaching incredible heights, thanks to the hard work and integrity of Montanans all across the Big Sky.” —Gov. Steve Bullock

Key Industries

Agriculture, Biotech, Data Center, Manufacturing, Optics, Tourism

Key Companies

Adventure Life
Altos Photonics
First Interstate BancSystem
Glacier Payments
Stillwater Mining
Blackmore Sensors and Analytics
Proof Research
Foundant Technologies

Key Contacts

Montana Department of Commerce

Pam Haxby-Cote, Director
301 S. Park Ave.
P.O. Box 200501
Helena, Mt 59620-0501
(406) 841-2700

Key Incentives

Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF): Offers incentive of up to $7,500 per job for projects located in a “high poverty county.” Funds can be used for purchase of land, building or equipment, relocation costs or employee training.

Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant (WTG): Offers $5,000 per eligible job created to be used for a wide variety of eligible training expenses.

New or Expanding Industry Tax Abatement: Offers a tax abatement of up to 75% for the first five years of operation for a business that earns 50% or more of its annual gross income from out-of-state sales. Value then rises incrementally until 100% is reached in year 10.

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC): Offers credits that can be used for projects that are at least $4 million in size.


Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development: business.mt.gov

Montana Economic Developers Association: medamembers.org/meda

Montana Business Assistance Connection: mbac.biz

Missoula Economic Partnership: missoulapartnership.com

Highlighted Program or Initiative

RevUp Montana is a workforce initiative designed to create short-term degree, certificate and apprenticeship programs for high-wage, high-demand jobs. Programs are designed in a collaborative effort between college and the state department of labor.

Big Deals

  • Consumer Direct Management Solutions announced it would consolidate offices and create a $13 million centralized headquarters in Missoula.
  • Zoot Enterprises announced in April 2017 it will expand its presence in the state with a new back-office facility in Billings.
  • U.S. Optics announced in August 2017 it will relocate its headquarters from Southern California to Kalispell.
  • Mesa Labs is currently expanding its operations in the Bozeman area and constructing a $15 million, 100,000-square-foot facility.

C-Suite Testimonials

“Montana consistently supports the brands and manufacturers that choose to locate in the state. We have chosen Montana as the perfect place to raise and educate our family where we can ski in the winter, fish in the summer, and continue to grow a successful downtown business.” —Jim Harris, Owner, Bozeman Spirits Distillery

“We find that as we’re looking to bring talent from out of state, many people indicate they have waited for years for the opportunity to relocate
to Montana….There simply is no better place to raise a family.” —Tom Spika, CEO, Spika Design & Manufacturing

“Living in Montana is truly an inspiration for us, and it is clear that the Montana lifestyle creates dedicated, hard-working individuals.” —Eric Siegfried, CEO, onXmaps

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