Grants & Loans

Grants for Business Development and Workforce Training

We can help lower your financial burden! In addition to low interest loans available, the State of Montana also offers grant programs for Business Development and Workforce Training. As grants these funds do not have to be repaid by the business recipient who is creating or training workers for new jobs in Montana.

Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Grant Program

Our newest grant program was supported by Governor Schweitzer and was passed in the 2005 legislative session creating the "Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund" program that provides grant dollars to local governments that can be used to assist businesses that create new jobs in Montana. This program will provide funding to local governments that can use the funds to reduce interest rates for a commercial loan to a business, provide a grant or low-interest loan for relocation expenses or provide rental assistance or lease buy-downs for a relocation or expansion project, all for relocations of expansion projects for basic sector companies. Rules are now written for this new program and year one funds available are expected to be around $1.3 million. Funding may not exceed $5,000 for each expected job to be created that has an average weekly wage that meets or exceeds the current average weekly wage of the county in which the employees are to be principally employed. The contact person for this program is Quinn Ness, MDOC, 406-841-2758.

Workforce Training Grant Programs

In Montana we also understand the importance and the cost that workforce training represents to new and expanding companies. Montana utilizes multiple funding sources to make workforce training grants to help companies with their training costs. Much of our workforce training dollars go toward new worker training, but some funds are available for incumbent worker training.

State Workforce Training Program

The Montana Department of Commerce manages a state funded workforce training program. The match requirement is one dollar of private funds for every three dollars of state workforce grant funds. The ceiling is $5,000 and the maximum award amount depends on the number of jobs to be trained and availability of funding. The minimum compensation for an eligible employee varies by county but should be in the $12.60 per hour with benefits range. The business can apply directly to the Department of Commerce when funding is available. The application would include financial information, a business plan, and a detailed hiring and training plan. The amount of funding available is about $1.3 million annually.

Customized Training for Employees - Commerce Community Development Block Grant Program

Grant funding for employee training is available for new and expanding businesses of approximately up to $370,000 per business. Some projects involving significant levels of hiring may be able to apply through a city and county and double the amount available. The maximum grant amount to a for-profit business or non-profit organization for each employee trained is $5,000. To be eligible an employee must be full-time and receive a minimum of $12.60 per hour compensation including benefits after training. A 1:1 match is required, which can include costs associated with expanding or locating and establishing a business in Montana. The funding decision will be based on the level of benefit and impact to low and moderate income individuals which include: the type and quality of jobs created; the kind of training offered; opportunities for advancement, and job benefits. The applicant submits the application through a local government to the Department of Commerce. The application would include financial information, a business plan, and a detailed hiring and training plan. Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls are not eligible applicants because they receive funding directly from the federal government. The contact for this program is Karyl Tobel at 406-841-2733.

Workforce Investment Act Funds - Governor's Discretionary WIA Funds

This program has similar requirements to the state work force training grant program with a 1:1 match and a $5,000 per employee maximum. The current minimum compensation for an eligible employee is $13.39 per hour including benefits, however this is subject to change. The minimum wage and benefit amount is changed annually in July and represents 110% of the state median wage. The maximum grant amount depends on availability of funding and the level of requests received when funding is available. Businesses can apply directly to the Montana Department of Commerce when funding is available. The application would include financial information, a business plan, and a detailed hiring and training plan.

Infrastructure Grants & Loans

You can find grants and loans to finance your infrastructure needs through a variety of state agencies, including: the Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana Department of Transportation, Montana Department of Commerce, and much more. Please visit the one stop shop for your infrastructure financing needs.

Montana Board of Investments

The Montana Board of Investments works to provide creative solutions to financial issues facing new and expanding businesses in the state of Montana. To accomplish this goal, the Board administers a number of different loan programs that can be specifically tailored to meet an individual business's or local government's needs.

Board of Research & Commercialization Technology

The Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology was created by the 1999 Montana Legislature to provide a predictable and stable source of funding for research and commercialization projects to be conducted at research and commercialization centers in Montana. The purpose of the program is to encourage economic development through investment in research projects that have a clear path to commercialization.

The Board takes the following criteria into account when making funding decisions:

  1. Has potential to diversify or add value to a traditional basic industry of the state's economy,
  2. Shows promise for enhancing technology-based sectors or commercial development of discoveries,
  3. Employs or takes advantage of existing research and commercialization strengths,
  4. Has a realistic and achievable project design,
  5. Employs an innovative technology,
  6. Is located in the state,
  7. Has a qualified research team,
  8. Has scientific merit based on peer review, and
  9. Includes research opportunities for students.

Contact: Dave Desch, Executive Director 841-2760

Federal and Local Grant Sources

In addition to state grant programs, federal grant funding can also be obtained through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Agency and USDA Rural Development for business development purposes in Montana. Local development organizations throughout Montana are very knowledgeable of these federal programs.