Montana Economic Development Directory
MT Statewide Economic Development Agencies
MT Regional Economic Development Agencies
MT County Economic Development Agencies
MT City Economic Development Agencies
Montana State Incentives
BIG SKY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TRUST FUND (BSTF) RELOCATION GRANT: A state-funded program that awards up to $5,000 to an eligible project for each new eligible job to be created. Funds may be used for relocation costs from outside of the state to Montana. Eligible jobs must be new positions that average 35 hours/week on an annual basis and pay at or above average county wages, not including benefits. Statutory requirements for these funds include net new, full-time job creation and a $1 for $1 match requirement.
WORKFORCE TRAINING GRANT PROGRAMS
- STATE WORKFORCE TRAINING PROGRAM: Up to $5,000 per employee is available and the match requirement is one dollar of private funds for every three dollars of state workforce grant funds. The maximum award amount depends on the number of jobs to be trained and availability of funding. Minimum compensation for an eligible employee varies by county. Businesses can apply directly to the Department of Commerce when funding is available.
- DEPARTMENT OF LABOR’S INCUMBENT WORKFORCE TRAINING GRANT PROGRAM: Available to businesses with no more than 50 employees in the State and no more than 20 at any one location. Training is available to employees that have passed the company’s probationary period with up to $2000 available for full-time employees and $1000 for part-time employees. Typical match rates are 4:1. Training grant dollars may be used for approved training, travel or instructional materials. See www.nwmontanabusiness.com/index.php/business-services/training/.
- BIG SKY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TRUST WORKER TRAINING GRANT: A state-funded program designed to aid in the development of good paying jobs for Montana residents and promote long-term stable economic growth in the state.
- BIG SKY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LOANS: A state-funded program with up to $5,000 awarded to an eligible project for each new eligible job to be created. Funds may be used as a loan or grant for the purchase of machinery, equipment and/or working capital. Eligible jobs must be new positions that average 35 hours/week on an annual basis and pay at or above average county wages, not including benefits. Flathead County’s average wage for 2009 was $15.45. Statutory requirements for these funds include net new, full-time job creation and a $1 for $1 match requirement.
- A number of business development loan programs to stimulate economic development activity by assisting the private sector to create or retain jobs are available. Montana West Economic Development has several loan programs to offer to new and expanding businesses in the form of gap financing in partnership with local lending institutions. These loans are available to small businesses in Lake, Lincoln, Sanders and Flathead counties in northwest Montana. The loan dollars are eligible to be used for a variety property and equipment investment, infrastructure and technical assistance. The interest rate and requirements for these loans vary by project with a fixed interest rate in the 3 to 7 percent range. Loan sources include:
o COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM: Includes funding of grants to local units of government for economic development, downtown development, blight elimination and planning.
o INTERMEDIARY RELENDING PROGRAM (IRP): Provides 1 percent loans to nonprofit development organizations for establishment of revolving loan programs for loans to small businesses. Applications from each state are selected for funding through a nationwide competition. Assistance is limited to areas with a population of less than 25,000. To be eligible, the nonprofit development corporations (intermediaries) and their loan applicants must be unable to obtain financing elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms. Additional loans can be requested until the maximum loan amount to intermediaries is determined each fiscal year. The maximum loan amount in years past was $750,000. Intermediaries can use the funds to make loans of up to $150,000 to private or public organizations and other local businesses.
o MONTANA WEST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REVOLVING LOAN FUND
- ALTERNATIVE ENERGY REVOLVING LOAN PROGRAM (AERLP): Provides a financing option to install alternative energy systems. The program has traditionally been funded by air quality penalties collected by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Energy from these renewable systems is intended for use by the owner, although net-metering is allowed for systems that generate electricity. Energy conservation measures installed in conjunction with an alternative energy project may be funded through the program, limited to 20 percent of the loan amount.
MONTANA BOARD OF INVESTMENTS FINANCE & LOAN PROGRAMS
The Montana Board of Investments is attached to the Department of Commerce. The Board does not lend directly to businesses. The business finance programs discussed below are accessed through banks and approved lending institutions. Businesses should first contact and work through their local bank(s). MBOI programs typically enable businesses to access lower, fixed rate financing for viable bank-approved projects. The business infrastructure program is included here because it provides a substantial potential benefit to eligible businesses and local governments for projects requiring large investments in infrastructure.
- INFRASTRUCTURE LOAN PROGRAM: Loans to local government for infrastructure improvement used by basic-sector businesses. The infrastructure improvements are essentially a grant to the business as a direct reduction of project development costs. The business must create at least 15 full-time jobs. The loan is sized at the number of jobs x $16,666 (minimum loan size $250, 000). The business pays local government use fee, which is assigned to the Board for loan repayment. Use fee can be totally credited against Montana income taxes paid by business. Total amount available for this program is $80.0 million
- VALUE-ADDED BUSINESS LOAN: Has a maximum 15-year loan term. 10-14 jobs created/retained qualifies for a loan rate at 4 percent for 5 years. 15 jobs created/retained qualifies for a loan rate at 2 percent for five years. The interest rate will be at the posted interest rate until the required jobs are created/retained and are set at the lowest rate for the first 5 years, 6 percent for the second 5 years the Board posted rate at the time of application for the remaining term. The jobs created/retained must be by a business adding value to material/products. The Board participates with lender in 75 percent of the funding, risk, collateral and other security. The minimum loan size is $250,000; maximum is approximately $7.5 million.
- BUSINESS LOAN PARTICIPATION PROGRAM: Offers fixed-rate financing up to 25 years with interest rates posted weekly. Job creation credits may reduce posted interest rate up to 2.5 percent.
- GUARANTEED LOAN PURCHASE PROGRAM: Offers fixed-rate financing up to 30 years with interest rates posted weekly. The Board purchases 100 percent of the guaranteed portion of the loan. Job creation credits may reduce posted interest rate up to 2.5 percent. No detailed credit review by Board.
Montana Dept. of Commerce TRADE SHOW ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TSAP): Assists companies in exploring new domestic and international wholesale markets. TSAP funds are available to Montana businesses attending any given trade show for the first time. See http://www.madeinmontanausa.com/tradeshowinfo.asp
Eligible applicants will be reimbursed for 50 percent of qualifying expenses that include:
- Booth/space rental or US Commercial Services Gold Key fee
- Booth equipment, furniture and carpeting rental
- Booth utility costs
- Promotional materials (product flyer specific to show, booth signage, etc.)
- Shipping, storage, drayage (cost of moving freight at exhibition site) and show labor
TAX CREDITS, ABATEMENTS AND EXEMPTIONS
- NEW OR EXPANDING INDUSTRY WAGE CREDIT: A new or expanding manufacturing corporation in Montana may receive a corporation license tax credit of 1 percent of wages paid to new employees for the first three years of operation and expenses.
- PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENTS: Property tax abatement is available to certain new or expanding businesses. The governing body of the affected county or the incorporated city or town must approve by resolution the abatement. The tax benefit received is a percentage multiplier applied to the increase in taxable value of the qualifying improvements or modernized processes. The tax benefit applies to the number of mills levied and assessed for high school district and elementary school district purposes and to the number of mills levied and assessed by the local governing body approving the benefit. New/expanding industries will be taxed at 50 percent of taxable value for the first five years after a construction permit is issued. The tax rate is raised incrementally over the next five years to 100 percent.
- ALTERNATIVE FUELS PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION: Provides an exemption from property assessment for qualifying non-fossil fuel energy generating systems installed. The maximum exemption amount per year is $100,000 for a commercial property. The value of the qualifying non-fossil fuel energy generating system must be included in the assessed value of the property prior to its exemption. The exemption lasts for a period not to exceed 10 years from the year of installation.
- ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT: Commercial and net metering alternative energy investments of $5,000 or more are eligible for up to 35 percent tax credit against individual or corporate tax on income generated by the investment. The credit may only be taken against net income produced by the eligible equipment or by certain associated business activities. Associated facilities, manufacturing plants producing alternative energy equipment and new or expanded businesses using the energy generated by the alternative energy investment may use the tax credit. The credit must be taken the year the equipment is placed in service; however, any portion of the tax credit that exceeds the amount of tax to be paid may be carried over and applied against state tax liability for the following 7 years. A project of 5 MWs or larger on a reservation may carry the credit over for 15 years, if it has an employment agreement with the tribal government.
- NEW MARKET TAX CREDITS: Can help communities attract capital to good projects on favorable terms. The program provides an incentive to debt and equity investors in the form of a 39 percent federal income tax credit for investing capital into qualified projects in eligible low-income areas. Eligible investment types include most real estate projects and operating businesses (with some exceptions). See www.mtcdc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=111&Itemid=195
o Total project size of at least $3 million.
o Project in a designated low-income census tract with either a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater or Gross Median Income of 80 percent of less of the state average.
o Strong economic development and/or community impact, such as helping to create or retain jobs; acting as the catalyst for larger development, infusing sources of new investment capital into an under-served, low-income area; and creating new access to community services such as education, healthcare, child & elder care and retail services.
SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH PROGRAM (SBIR): Helps Montana companies compete for more than one billion dollars in federal grants that have been earmarked to fund R&D. The program offers free counseling assistance to any individual or small business that wants to explore SBIR grant opportunities.
To win a SBIR grant, a business owner must have an innovative idea and the savvy to compete and win in the competitive federal arena of the SBIR Program.
MONTANA SBIR/STTR MATCHING FUNDS PROGRAM (MSMFP): Fosters job creation and economic development in the state by providing matching funds to eligible businesses meeting the criteria set forth in the guidelines. It is designed to grant funds to Montana companies that have been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Program or Small Business Technology Transfer Program (Federal SBIR/STTR Program) Phase I award and that, if the opportunity to do so is available, intend to apply for a Federal SBIR/STTR Phase II award. See http://businessresources.mt.gov/MSMFP/default.mcpx. The Federal SBIR/STTR Program provides for funding competitions in two phases that are relevant to the Montana Program:
- Phase I – to conduct feasibility research
- Phase II – to expand and develop Phase I results and develop commercially viable innovations