Best Entrepreneurial Resources in Montana

You can feel the vibrant spirit of every entrepreneur you come into touch with in Montana. They’re excited to be representing Montana traditions, continuing legacies for upcoming Montana generations, or helping build the community that they grew up in. If you’re reading this, you’re probably either one of those entrepreneurs, or inspire to be. So you know what I mean when I say, there’s just something different about the Montana entrepreneur.

For the aspiring Montana entrepreneur, I’ve compiled a list of the best resources in Montana to use when starting a business, or for helping a business grow. All of the resources provided help in multiple categories of business, and are all Montana startups as well.

Montana High Tech Business Alliance

Photo of members at Bozeman reception 2014
Photo of members at Bozeman reception 2014

Greg Gianforte, a University of Montana distinguished entrepreneur, and founder of RightNow Technologies, founded the Montana High-Tech Alliance. The Montana High Tech Business Alliance is a non-profit organization that is “a business-led initiative helping high-tech companies create high-paying jobs in Montana.” This entrepreneurial initiative allows for young high-tech companies to get much needed support and recognition, while also serving more mature high-tech companies in Montana by creating events in which they can share difficulties their company is facing, meet other business owners and entrepreneurs from across the state, and even post job openings.

Christina Henderson, the executive director of the MHTBC, has helped grow this organization to over 180 high-tech and manufacturing members. A complete list of these members can be found here. Membership is free for companies with 5 employees or less. Ultimately, this organization can help entrepreneurs in Montana spur economic growth and provide high-paying jobs for hard-working Montanans.

Walker Milhoan, UM alumni, gives pitch for Ranchlogs to Blackstone Launchpad New York, New York.

Blackstone Launchpad – Bozeman and Missoula

The Blackstone Launchpad in Bozeman and Missoula, is helping to drive economic development in communities around partner universities and increase the likelihood that students and alumni remain in the region to pursue their passions or fix problems in their community. The state of Montana’s university network houses 2 of the 15 unique and rare spaces in the United States. These sites offer free consulting to students with an idea and connect new relationships with other helpful business areas like legal counsel, accounting, marketing, and finance. Paul Gladen and Les Craig, both of whom have a long list of successful start-ups and entrepreneurial endeavors, are directors and consultants to students.

There is no cost to joining, and the help given from these two entrepreneurs is directed to helping an entrepreneur in their journey, not doing the due diligence for them. The process taught in the Launchpad can help an entrepreneur pursue small business and entrepreneurship as a career. Signing up for the Blackstone Launchpad in Missoula or Bozeman takes only a couple minutes, and can create a lifelong journey.


MonTEC, home to: Rivertop Renewables, Mamalode, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, and more.

Whether in need of interns, seed funding or business mentoring, MonTEC is the point of connection for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to navigate the complex world of service providers and gain access to high quality resources. 1GB internet access, small and large conference rooms, common collaboration areas, and outstanding video conferencing are just a few of things that MonTEC offers to the companies within. The areas are meant to be inexpensive and act more as a business incubator, to help companies get on their feet. Some of the companies that are currently taking advantage of the great resources at MonTEC are the infamous Mamalode and Rivertop Renewables, and even the High Tech Alliance is located within the MonTEC building. The Blackstone Launchpad also is in close connection to this service and works hand-in-hand with companies that need some office space.

Joe Fanguy, one of the founders of MonTEC, has been working tirelessly with the companies within and has helped to raise over $30 million in funding from external resources to help these businesses thrive. The funding and the services the companies in MonTEC provide help Montana industries and companies in renewable chemistry, oil and gas analytical services, big data/e-discovery, pharmaceuticals, health care data analytics, publishing, and online video delivery.

Montana CDC – Bozeman and Missoula

Montana CDC entrepreneurs

The Montana CDC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide financing and consulting services that transform the lives of individuals and strengthen community prosperity. In the state of Montana, sometimes it can be difficult to get funding through local lenders. Especially for a company that’s a little off the beaten path or not considered “bankable.” The Montana CDC works to understand an entrepreneur’s ideas, and the entrepreneurs themselves, then works to improve financial healthiness through their consulting services to not only help start a company, but also to help its growth.

A lot of the inspiration for giving these Montana entrepreneurs their first chance may come from the CEO, Dave Glaser, who was formerly an environmental science consultant and COO for an environmental consulting firm. His company has given around 165 loans to companies around the state including a flower shop, an original jerky company, handcrafted wooden kitchen utensils, or even a one-of-a-kind Montessori school. More information about success stories can be found here, and what the Montana CDC can do for you can be found on their website.

The 5 Best Coffee Shops to Study at in Missoula

Whether you’re a student at the University of Montana, an entrepreneur working to get a proposal together, or a business professional who needs the perfect place to meet with clients, these are the 5 best places to get whatever it is you need to get done in Missoula. Based on quality of coffee, Wi-Fi, and overall environment: Is your favorite coffee shop on the list?

Liquid Planet

7:30am-9:00pm, Everyday

Picture of the Liquid Planet storefront in downtown Missoula
Photo Credit: Liquid Plant

The first place I ever “studied” at in Missoula was a wonderful place called Liquid Planet. I think the name speaks for itself, and while the Wi-Fi connection has thankfully increased in reliability and strength over the years, the beverage selection has always been top quality. Great coffee and tea for any taste bud, and a wide variety of other beverages to shop around for, all make Liquid Planet a must-frequent venue if you are a Missoulian. Plus, there is a secret area in the back corner you can reserve for meetings or for studying in peace.

Market on Front

7:00am-9:00pm, Monday-Saturday
8:00am-7:00pm, Sunday

A visual of the unique seating area in Market on Front
Photo Credit: Market on Front

Relatively new and closer to campus, the Market on Front offers more than just coffee and a place to sit. It’s a one-stop-shop with a little grocery section and delicious prepared foods. Great quality Wi-Fi with limited seating makes a fan of this place hope that they are looking to expand in the near future. If you are looking to impress a client from out of town, this is the place to do it. And if you’re lucky, the owner may be around to deliver your mouth watering Chicken Florentine sandwich to you within minutes of ordering (this has happened to me on more than one occasion.)

City Brew Coffee

5:30am-9:30pm, Monday-Saturday
6:00am-9:30pm, Sunday
Downtown location closes at 9:00pm

View from the outside of the City Brew Coffee downtown Missoula location
Photo Credit: City Brew Coffee

Before conducting my research, City Brew Coffee never crossed my mind as a place to study in Missoula because honestly I had never been there before. Considered one of the coffee shops with high quality of coffee, City Brew will literally keep your mind (and your taste buds) happy. The variety in seating, relaxing music, and calming decorative colors will keep you focused for hours. If you find that it is difficult to get a parking spot downtown, try their new location off of Brooks! Plenty of room to park and an amazing fire place to cozy up by. Not to mention a very friendly staff.

Break Espresso

6:00am-10:00pm, Everyday

View from the outside of Break Espresso in downtown Missoula
Photo Credit: Sabrina Huang

This seems to be everyone’s favorite place to “get stuff done”. Break Espresso’s main selling point is not it’s coffee, but the seemingly unlimited amount of seating, reliable Wi-Fi, and baked goods are it’s irresistible combo. This place is always busy, so bring your headphones, grab a piece of pie, and get your productivity on!

Zootown Brew

8:00am-8:00pm, Monday-Friday
9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday
1:00pm-8:00pm, Sunday
Open until 10:00pm during Finals Week!

View of the outside of Zootown Brew in downtown Missoula
Photo Credit: Zootown Church

I went through a phase where I would only meet for group projects at Zootown Brew. There is plenty of seating (as well as comfy couches), and it’s so spacious that there is enough privacy to actually discuss your work with a group. Quality Wi-Fi and a hot coffee will keep you happy while you work. And when the caffeine finally runs out, you’ll have a perfectly comfy couch to go and relax on. After all that hard work you put in, you deserve it!

Honorable Mention: Florence Coffee Co.

6:00am-6:00pm, Everyday

View from the outside of one of Florence Coffee's locations
Photo Credit: Florence Coffee Co.

Technically, you can’t sit at the drive through and do your homework. The person behind you may get mad when you don’t move after 5 minutes. But I couldn’t create a list of Missoula coffee shops without mentioning the best coffee in town. If you’d rather study at the library, at home, or at work, swing by one of Florence Coffee’s three locations in Missoula and get a coffee on the go. My suggestion for coffee lovers with a sweet tooth: The Heaven Latte. The name says it all.


Did I miss your favorite study spot? Let me know by commenting below. Now, go get stuff done!

Photo Credit: KeepCalmomatic
Photo Credit: KeepCalmomatic


A special thanks to everyone who provided their input in my research, and most especially: Jessie Rogers, Savannah Witt, Paytyn Wheeler, Katherine Vincent, Brooke Moody, and Joelle.

Montana’s Top 10 Natural Wonders

Did your favorite Montana natural wonder make the list?

10. Ch-paa-qn Peak west of Missoula, Montana

Ch-paa-qn Peak west of Missoula, Montana
Ch-paa-qn (pronounced “cha-pock-qwin”), is unique in that it is one of very few peaks in the state that possesses at least 4,000 feet of prominence.

9. Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park

Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park
The Gunsight Pass Trail is one of the most spectacular hikes in Glacier National Park, the diversity and variety of the landscapes, wildlife and vegetation are unbelievable.

8. Humbug Spires near Butte, Montana

Humbug Spires near Butte, Montana
The Humbug Spires are a grouping of over fifty granite spire formations that sit just a couple miles South and East of the hook in the continental divide, which makes its Westerly shift from the Boulder Mountains to the Anaconda Range just north the little town of Divide.

7. St. Mary Peak in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains

Saint Mary Peak is one of the most accessible 9,000+ ft peaks in the Bitterroot Mountains and offers spectacular views.
Saint Mary Peak is one of the most accessible 9,000+ ft peaks in the Bitterroot Mountains and offers spectacular views.

6. Belly River Valley along the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail in Glacier National Park

Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail is a tough trail, but it is worth it. Words cannot express the feeling you get after coming out of tunnel into the Belly River Valley.
Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail is a tough trail, but it is worth it. Words cannot express the feeling you get after coming out of tunnel into the Belly River Valley.

5. Flathead Lake in northwest Montana

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States.
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States.

4. Great Bear Wilderness near Glacier National Park

Great Bear Wilderness near Glacier National Park
The Great Bear Wilderness is on the west side of the Continental Divide, just south of Glacier National Park. In its 286,700 acres, it boasts some wonderful recreational opportunities for all ages.

3. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Southeast Montana

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
A landscape of sheer cliffs towering 1,000 feet above a ribbon of blue water. An area sought the world over for magnificent fishing and as a place where wild horses still run free. A landscape overlaid with 10,000 years of human history.

2. Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park

Tripple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park
This spire is the three-faceted jewel in the Crown, dividing Rocky Mountain waters among the Columbia’s plunge to the Pacific Ocean, the Misssouri-Mississippi’s slide to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Saskatchewan River’s amble to the Arctic Ocean.

1. The Chinese Wall in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness

Bob Marshall Wilderness
With no roads dissecting the area and no motor or mechanical vehicles allowed, the Bob Marshall Wilderness hails as one of the best preserved mountain ecosystems left in the world. This 1 million acre wilderness holds one of the most brilliant natural features of the Rockies- the Chinese Wall, a 1,000 ft deep limestone escarpment that continues on for miles.

Honorable Mention: Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park (Ron Niebrugge)
While not included here because so little of it lies in Montana, Yellowstone National Park is spectacular. It sits on top of a dormant volcano and is home to more geysers and hot springs than any other place on earth. Approximately 50 percent of the world’s hydrothermal features are at Yellowstone National Park.