Entrepreneurship Events 2017

Register Now – A New Frontier: Montana’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystems, April 17 and 18, Missoula and Bozeman

The Montana High Tech Business Alliance, MonTEC and the Blackstone LaunchPads at the University of Montana and Montana State University are holding two upcoming forums on entrepreneurship in Montana. These events will bring together 150 people – founders and CEOs of high-growth companies and startups, as well as support organizations and elected leaders, to discuss Montana’s entrepreneurial community and next steps for growing our ecosystem.

Governor Steve Bullock and University of Montana Interim President Sheila Stearns are scheduled to offer opening remarks in Missoula on April 17 at 3:30 pm. A second event will be held in Bozeman on April 18 at 3:30 pm, with opening remarks by Kregg Aytes, dean of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Montana State University.

These forums will coincide with the launch of a forthcoming report: “A New Frontier: Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Bozeman and Missoula, Montana.” This is the first major study of entrepreneurship in Montana, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Both events will include a presentation by the report’s lead author, Yas Motoyama, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas.

The Missoula and Bozeman events will also include panel discussions featuring Montana entrepreneurs facilitated by Greg Gianforte, founder of RightNow Technologies in Bozeman.

The Kauffman Index has ranked Montana the #1 state for startup activity for four straight years, and this case study helps explain why. Scheduled for release on April 17, the report shines a very positive light on the state of Montana – its high level of entrepreneurship, dense networks of support, global businesses, high quality workforce, and high quality of life.

The hosted receptions to follow will be occasions to engage with entrepreneurs and supporters from across Montana, including some of the 42 interviewees from the study.

To attend these forums, please register early due to limited seating.

Missoula, April 17, 2017, hosted by Blackfoot at the new Missoula College building on East Broadway, presentation and discussion 3:30-5 pm, reception 5-7 pm. Click here to register in Missoula.

Bozeman, April 18, 2017, presentation and discussion 3:30-5 pm hosted by Blackfoot at Best Western GranTree hotel 1325 N 7th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715; reception 5-7 pm hosted by Elixiter, 113 East Oak St. 3rd Floor, Cannery District – above Seven Sushi. Click here to register in Bozeman.


Entrepreneur Panel in Missoula:

Tom Stergios, SVP- strategy and corporate development, Advanced Technology Group.

Tom Stergios is a Missoula native who left for college in California and then built a successful consulting career with global firms like Accenture before returning to grow ATG’s Missoula office to employ more 100 people, serving global clients like Salesforce.com and Subaru.

Paige Williams, founder and CEO, The Audience Awards.

An award-winning filmmaker, UM alumna Paige Williams created an online platform that serves brands like GoDaddy, Hilton Worldwide and Kodak, has been rcognized in Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines, and attracted more than $500,000 in funding in 2016.

Dr. Kendal Ryter, co-founder and chairman of the board, Inimmune.

When GlaxoSmithKline closed its research lab in Hamiton, Montana, Dr. Ryter (Ph.D. Montana State University) and fellow researchers launched Inimmune at MonTEC in Missoula in 2016, in partnership with the University of Montana, keeping over $20 million in research contracts and equipment in Montana.

Ron Van Dell, CEO, ViZn Energy (Columbia Falls).

After stints at GE and Dell, Ron Van Dell was CEO of three startups in Austin and Silicon Valley before joining ViZn Energy in 2014. During Van Dell’s tenure, the industrial-scale battery manufacturer has grown from about 15 employees to more than 70. ViZn energy has raised more than $40 million in independent investments.

Paul Gladen, director of the Blackstone LaunchPad, University of Montana.

A native of England and graduate of Oxford, Paul Gladen worked for Arthur Anderson in London, New York, Rome, Dublin and Chicago before moving to Missoula in 2008. He is a co-founder of research firm Muzeview, the Hellgate Venture Network, and the Montana Code School.

Entrepreneur Panel in Bozeman:

Andrew Hull, founder and president, Elixiter.

Since Billings native and RightNow Technologies veteran Andrew Hull launched Elixiter in 2011, the marketing technology firm was named to the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing companies in 2016, Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women, and has more than 40 consultants serving clients like FitBit, Aetna, Cisco, and Lynda.com.

Luke Mauritsen, founder and president, Montana Instruments.

A fifth generation Montanan from the Flathead, Luke Mauritsen was a professional cyclist (think Tour de France) before returning to Montana to launch a career in the photonics sector out of MSU, growing Montana Instruments to employ 36 people manufacturing cryogenic research equipment for institutions worldwide.

Michelle Hertel, co-founder, Pocket NC.

A Billings native and MSU grad, Michelle co-founded PocketNC with her husband, Matt. In 2015 the Hertels launched Montana’s most successful Kickstarter campaign, attracting 250+ backers who pledged $355,000 in pre-orders for a desktop five-axis CNC milling machine. A second Kickstarter in 2016 sold out and shipped in early 2017.

Misty Kuhl, founder, Girlzilla (Malta).

Misty Kuhl’s vision for Girlzilla earned her $125,000 in funding from New Mexico Community Capital, as well as a seat at Obama’s 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Palo Alto. A tribal member of the Fort Belknap Reservation and alumna of MSU, Kuhl moved home in 2016 to bring jobs and opportunity to her community.

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