BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION PROGRAM
Recognizing that 80 percent of economic growth typically comes from the expansion of existing local companies, the Partnership provides direct, individualized, prescriptive strategic planning consultation to local businesses through our Business Retention and Expansion program.
A core activity of the Partnership, BRE services range from brief telephone conversations with local businesses to multiyear client-consultant relationships. Regardless of the timeline, our goal is the same: to accelerate the success of Missoula’s entrepreneurs and established companies.
Missoula Economic Partnership pursues a range of strategies aimed at sustaining and enhancing local economic activity.
PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION
In our first year of operation, Missoula Economic Partnership conducted more than 75 BRE visits, exceeding our first-year goal by more than 50 percent. In the process, we provided more than 1,000 hours of free strategic planning assistance.
LOCAL INVESTMENT CAPITAL
The MEP Angel Network connects Missoula-based investors with local, growing companies. Our program includes coaching on presenting essential information that investors look for. Several times a year we sponsor pitch sessions, where qualifying companies present to network investors.
A CULTURE OF INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The Innovation Initiative brings together a variety of startup businesses and entrepreneurs to connect with one another and obtain guidance from seasoned business professionals. This program — which started as a joint venture between the Montana Technology Enterprise Center, Hellgate Venture Network and the Partnership — provides presentations and one-on-one information sessions on topics such as securing venture capital, building a brand, search engine marketing, public relations, patent law, information technology and strategic planning.
LOWER-COST BUSINESS TRAVEL
The Air Service Task Force aims to reduce business airfares by attracting a low-cost air carrier to the Missoula International Airport by spring of 2013. By saving money on business travel, local companies can shift operational funds into job creation and new capital investment. We therefore see this as an important component in both attracting new businesses and nurturing those already in the area. We are also evaluating optimal additions to existing nonstop service to and from Missoula.
Oftentimes, our work consists of directing local businesses to one or more of our strategic partners in the community. These partner organizations offer a broad slate of programs that can help businesses retain or expand their workforce, train their employees in new business processes or software, and even connect with capital. Missoula Economic Partnership serves an important role as a master networker and knowledge base for these opportunities, helping companies focus quickly and efficiently on the programs that best fit their needs.