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

Paul Gladen
courtesy

If there is something happening in the entrepreneurial world in Montana, Paul Gladen probably has something to do with it. In 2008, Paul came to Montana armed with a degree from Oxford University and more than 15 years of experience working with Arthur Andersen and his own firm Muzeview.

In 2009, Paul helped launch Hellgate Venture Network, a Missoula-based local entrepreneurship forum. When the university was chosen to be part of the prestigious Blackstone LaunchPad, a national effort to provide viable pathways to entrepreneurship, Paul was the “go to” choice to head it up.

Jeff Fee, CEO of PatientOne.
Courtesy Jeff Fee

After more than 25 years spent running hospitals in Tennessee and Montana, Jeff Fee jumped into entrepreneurship with the 2018 launch of PatientOne. In February of 2019, the startup attracted $1.2 million in venture capital from several funds, including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, co-founded by former AOL CEO, Steve Case.

On this episode of Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, Jeff Fee talks about what’s new in digital medical care and the challenges of jumping mid-career into the world of startups.

S&K Technolgies CEO Chad Cottet.
Courtesy

Any investor I know would be ecstatic to see a return of $40 million on an initial investment of just $150,000. But that is exactly what has resulted from the seed money that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes invested in a tribally-owned startup in 1999, and which has remarkably operated debt free ever since.

S&K Technologies has grown since then to a family of five companies of more than 900 employees with offices throughout the U.S. and around the world. From its headquarters on the Flathead Reservation, nestled in the Mission Valley in rural St. Ignatius, Montana, the company manages a complex government acquisition business that includes a landmark $4.2 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force.

In 1975, the Muralt family moved from Kansas City to Missoula, Montana, taking over a bankrupt 4-lane truck stop on the outskirts of town. Walt Muralt, just 9 years old at the time, began his business career by mowing the weeds outside the family start-up.

27 years later, Walt took over the operation of the travel plaza with energy, determination and an optimistic entrepreneurial spirit. Since then he has expanded the original family business, adding restaurants, a casino, a hotel, a truck repair station and even a beer ice cave.

Can Do: Demystifying Cryptocurrency

Oct 4, 2019
Cryptocurrency
iStock

What do tokens, smart contracts, mining, time stamping and blockchain technology all have in common? They are all essential parts of the complicated cryptocurrency industry, a new enterprise that is rapidly transforming global financial markets and the transaction landscape.

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses encrypted data to secure financial transactions, make them transparent to users, and verify the transfer of assets.

Courtney and John McKee are the founders of Headframe Spirits in Butte, MT.
Courtesy

Early in the 20th century, the bustling mining town of Butte, Montana was one of the largest cities in the West. Hardrock miners lowered themselves 5,000 feet underground to tap out the abundant copper ore, working in mines with names like Orphan Girl, Neversweat, and Destroying Angel. In the hundred years since Butte’s heyday, most of the mines have closed, but new opportunities have been unearthed.

Using the same determination, innovation, and passion that underscored Butte’s early success, John and Courtney McKee founded Headframe Spirits distillery in 2010. Each spirit is named after a storied mine claim, weaving Butte’s mining history into unique products.

Can Do: How MyVillage Is Working To Remake Childcare

Sep 6, 2019
In 2017, two mothers from Montana launched MyVillage, a platform that connects parents with trained, licensed daycare providers.
Screen capture from myvillage.com, Sept. 6, 2019.

According to the Center for American Progress, 51% of Americans live in a daycare desert; a place with almost no openings for infants or toddlers in nearby licensed preschools. Those lucky enough to find openings often spend more on childcare than they can afford, and many educators can’t earn enough as preschool teachers to make ends meet.

Can Do: Lessons Learned In Season Two

May 3, 2019
Arnie Sherman is the host of 'Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs'.
Arnie Sherman

This week’s episode of  Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs is a little bit different. It’s the last show of Season Two, so it seems fitting to reflect on the past 21 shows, and to touch on the experiences shared and lessons learned.

You'll hear the “method to the madness” behind the interviews, and what piece of the puzzle each guest added as we shared lessons from experts who are succeeding as entrepreneurs.

As an angel funder, LaPointe provides not just capital but mentoring and networking opportunities to tech-based startups in Montana and nearby states.
Gil Stober

Today on Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, angel funder Pat LaPointe drills into the details of accelerating the growth of early-stage tech companies in Montana, and why it matters.

Erica von Kleist.
Cat Gebauer

"Creating employment for musicians is one of my passions," says Erica von Kleist. In 2013, this New York City jazz player, arranger, composer, bandleader and teacher made a life-changing move to Whitefish, Montana. With a bang, Erica began creating opportunities for fellow musicians and music teachers, demonstrating first-hand how an artist can think like an entrepreneur.

On this week’s Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, von Kleist lays out her vision for a "biodome" of employment for musicians, and makes the case for teaching young artists how to synchronize their creative and entrepreneurial grooves to build lasting careers. Learn more now from Erica von Kleist.

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