Montana Public Radio

Can Do: Essential Business Lessons

  • Hosted by Arnie Sherman

Can Do, MTPR's podcast on business and entrepreneurship hosted by Arnie Sherman is in its fourth season, and we’re expanding. This season will feature the same informative interviews and the lessons Montana business owners and entrepreneurs have to share. But times are changing. There’s a major election in November and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change how business is done.

The main focus this season is on the here & now. How does a business survive in today’s volatile economy? How can you transition your business or start a new one? What can you do to make sure your finances are in order? We’ll be asking these questions to business experts in Montana and around the country.

Listen to Can Do at www.mtpr.org or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes are published every other Monday.

Ways to Connect

(L-R) Courtney and John McKee, Spencer Williams, Michelle Huie.
courtesy

Like business owners everywhere, manufacturers in Montana are getting pitched around by COVID-19's macroeconomic shock waves. In mid-April 2020, Can Do host Arnie Sherman caught up with several previous guests to get updates on how they're coping. Part One of this two-part episode features Montana entrepreneurs who are pivoting to help their communities while keeping their companies afloat.

Gil Stober, Peak Recording Studios

What do Bill Gates and a small county seat in central Montana share? Their respective kudos to the company, Eventgroove. Speaking at a Montana economic summit about technology's ability to connect buyers with sellers around the globe, Gates singled out Eventgroove, name-dropping one notable customer of this Harlowton event-tech firm: Microsoft.

How Sarah Calhoun Is Working To Revive Rural America

Mar 23, 2020
Sarah Calhoun is the founder of a Red Ants Pants apparel company, a foundation and a music festival.
Gil Stober, Peak Recording

A trailblazer is a pioneer, an innovator–someone who blazes new tracks through wild country. If you’re looking for a modern day trailblazer, look no further than Sarah Calhoun.

Born in Connecticut, Sarah was inspired to relocate small-town Montana by author Ivan Doig’s memoir, This House of Sky. After falling in love with the writer and his work, Sarah found herself living in his rural hometown of White Sulphur Springs.

Mike Steinberg
Courtesy

What’s the common thread between wildlife conservation, performing arts and independent cinema? That would be Mike Steinberg, a gifted leader in community non-profit entrepreneurship in Montana. Mike is Executive Director of both the International Wildlife Film Festival and Missoula’s Roxy Theater.

Havre Company Thrives By Building A Better Sports Bra

Feb 21, 2020

Enell Sports Bras is a successful womenswear company based in Havre, a small college town in north-central Montana.

For founder Renelle Braaten, necessity became the mother of invention. As an avid volleyball player, she needed bras designed for active full-figured women and couldn’t find any. So, Renelle took on the challenge of designing one herself. In 1993, with the help of her mother, a skilled seamstress, Renelle designed a patchwork prototype.

Brigitta Miranda-Freer
Courtesy of Brigitta Miranda-Freer

Imagine pulling out a new board game's instructions and discovering that the normally skinny pamphlet runs thousands of pages and spells out the rules of the game from soup to nuts. That's what an international trade agreement looks like: it's comprehensive, it's years in the making, and millions of people's livelihoods depend on it.

Mayor Engen On The Vibe Fueling Missoula's Growth

Jan 26, 2020
Missoula Mayor John Engen.
City of Missoula

What makes a city ripe for entrepreneurship? Is it the fruit of well-conceived planning, a combination of luck and circumstances, or all of the above?

Missoula, Montana’s tech scene has boomed in the last decade, bringing a steady population increase, immense opportunities, and growing pains. Perhaps no one has a better perspective on this growth than Missoula’s current Mayor John Engen, who joins us on this episode of Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs.

Host Arnie Sherman talks with Second Set Bistro's Matt “Raz” Schneider (L) and Josh Snider (R).
Peter Hoag

Combine a lifelong passion for food and improvisational music in just the right balance, and voilà, you serve up Second Set Bistro. Established in 2019, the Missoula, Montana restaurant is inspired by the creative improvisation of the second set of a music performance.

Erika Peterman - Sova Partners

GatherBoard is a software platform designed - a little ironically - to get people off their phones and into concerts, classes and community gatherings. It's a kind of Squarespace or WordPress for online events sites: small-to-mid-sized communities and companies purchase its license and design their own customizable, monetizable events calendars. To date, 44 communities have licensed it, and Missoula's Molly Bradford, GatherBoard's co-founder and CEO, sees faster growth ahead.

Dr. Mary Stranahan (L) is the founder of Goodworks Ventures. Dawn McGee (R) is CEO of Goodworks Ventures and president of the High Stakes Foundation.
Courtesy

"My desire is to have broad-based community ownership of Montana businesses; because it makes sense. These businesses are profitible, they can pay a dividend. And so that's really where our arrow is pointed, but there's a lot of interim steps between starting and getting to that destination," says Mary Stranahan, founder of Goodworks Ventures.

Founded in 2007, Goodworks Ventures, a Missoula, Montana impact fund, currently has a portfolio of 35 companies in science, food, sustainability and technology. The company is the dream of Stranahan, a longtime Montana philanthropist and retired physician. Goodworks Ventures invests in early-stage  Montana businesses that they believe contribute to the greater good and enact positive change.

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