August 12, 2013 |

Bear Paw Development continues work in small business, value-added ag

The executive director of the Havre-centered economic development district said this morning that the state government has recertified Bear Paw Development Corp. as a Small Business Development Center and a Food and Agriculture Development Center, allowing it to continue to host programs to kick off or build small business and to help develop value-added agriculture operations.

“For 45 years, Bear Paw Development has been working with the private sector to improve the regional economy of northern Montana, create good-paying jobs and make our communities attractive for business investment and great places for families to live,” Bear Paw Director Paul Tuss said in a press release. “By continuing to serve as the host agency for both the FADC and the SBDC, we continue that mission.

“Bear Paw Development is very pleased to have once again earned the trust of the State of Montana to host these programs, and we are fully prepared to assist area businesses with their growth needs,” he added.

The agriculture development program is administered through the Montana Department of Agriculture and focuses on assisting agricultural entrepreneurs with their value-added ideas, adding local value to their products. That assistance includes assistance on regulatory compliance, food processing, product development and alternative energy including biofuels and wind power.

Bear Paw is one of four ag development centers in the state, with the others in Ronan, Joliet and Butte, Bear Paw’s website says.

The Small Business Development Centers provide a statewide network of resource and technical service providers which assists new or existing businesses. The services are provided free of charge with funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration, Montana Department of Commerce and local lenders.

The centers’ staff members provide confidential business consulting, training and information to small business leaders and potential entrepreneurs, Bear Paw’s website says. The staff members help people develop and improve their financial, managerial and technical skills to better compete and succeed in today's business environment.

The SBDC at Bear Paw Development provides individualized, one-on-one counseling to entrepreneurs, helps identify emerging business trends, assists to develop business plans and also provides QuickBooks training classes, the press release said.

Bear Paw is Montana’s oldest economic development district, recognized by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in 1969. It provides services to local governments, businesses and residents including in community planning, business lending, value-added agriculture, community development and small business counseling. Its district includes Blaine, Chouteau, Hill, Liberty and Phillips counties and the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations.

“It is very rewarding that our organization has once again been recognized for the good work we do in helping the region’s private sector with their business planning needs, including access to capital, workforce training funds, business plan development, marketing strategies, cash flow projections and all the other details that go into a successful venture,” Tuss said in the release. “The State of Montana is an important partner for Bear Paw Development and provides us with resources, along with others, that give us the capacity to properly counsel entrepreneurs that want to take their idea or business venture to the next level of success.”

People can call Bear Paw Development at 265-9226 to schedule appointments in the Small Business Development Center or the Food and Agriculture Development Center.

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Online: Bear Paw Development Corp.: http://www.bearpaw.org.

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