In today’s globalized economy, continuous innovation is an essential ingredient in sustainable local economic development. That’s why the Missoula Economic Partnership has placed innovation-based economic development at the core of its strategy.
PARTNERSHIP IN ACTION
In its first six months, the Innovation Initiative hosted more than two dozen 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, strategic planning, monetizing websites, product development and human resources.
What’s perhaps most interesting and heartening about the Innovation Initiative is the diversity of businesses it is already attracting. One session alone attracted two dot-coms, a trade sales business, an organic pest control professional, a clothing line, a movie industry startup and a solar energy company. That kind of variety reflects the rich tapestry of business and economic potential our community continues to develop and grow.
Together with the Hellgate Venture Network and The University of Montana Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, Missoula Economic Partnership in early 2012 launched the Innovation Initiative as a forum to connect startup businesses and entrepreneurs with one another and with knowledgeable, local business professionals.
The program provides a wide variety of entrepreneurial assistance, free:
Expert-on-Site Counseling — Highly regarded professionals in a variety of fields meet in one-on-one sessions with entrepreneurs to provide guidance, feedback and insight.
Seminars — Presenters on a variety of topics including marketing, patent law, supply chain, venture capital and more.
Topical roundtables and brown bag lunches — Hosts provide 10-15 minute topical presentations followed by open Q&A and discussion sessions.
Informal Peer Networking — The Innovation Initiative offers opportunities to connect with your fellow entrepreneurs to share ideas and swap stories.
The Innovation Initiative is a cooperative effort between three leading economic and entrepreneurial support entities in Western Montana:
- The Missoula Economic Partnership
- The Hellgate Venture Network — An organization launched by Paul Gladen and Dawn McGee to support entrepreneurs through peer-to-peer networking and to connect them to community resources.
- The University of Montana Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program — An effort designed to connect entrepreneurs to business development resources and the UM School of Business.
Participation in all Innovation Initiative activities is free to entrepreneurs. The initiative simply asks that you complete a short profile that will be used to help create the right programs and connect you with appropriate resources.