Montana Public Radio

Business

Montana ranks best for new small businesses, according to a report from The Blueprint.
The Blueprint's report on the Best States to Start an SMB in 2021

Montana topped the list in a new report that ranks best states for starting a new small business. The state's first-place ranking was based on a handful of factors including consumer spending, labor costs and climate by The Blueprint, an off-shoot of the investment advice publication The Motley Fool.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our country and vaccine relief is slow in coming, sound advice is as good as gold. Montana businesses experienced an exhausting 2020, and the new year promises to be just as unpredictable. Joining me today are two guests experiencing the economic impact from two very different perspectives.

The American restaurant industry is in freefall. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 110,000 restaurants have closed nationwide. That’s one out of every six, and there are likely more to come. Those restaurants that remain open are struggling with financial sustainability, as they face an industry-wide loss of $240 billion in sales for 2020. Listen now on Can Do as we will explore this subject with two industry pros in two very different positions.

According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, more than 100,000 American businesses that have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will never reopen. What about the millions of family-run companies? Is their plight as sobering? The situation is less clear for this sector, which accounts for more than 57 percent of the US GNP. 

What are the biggest challenges facing family business? What pitfalls and opportunities are unique to them? And how do family businesses weather the storm of the pandemic? Learn more now on Can Do.

Secretary of State Office at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A website issue at the Secretary of State’s Office led to hundreds of Montana businesses being overcharged for filing required annual reports to the state. Lee Newspapers reporter Holly Michels broke that story. She shares her reporting with Montana Public Radio’s Corin Cates-Carney.

How does a business adapt to stay afloat in these unpredictable times? What are the steps you should be taking right now? Where can you turn for help? On today’s episode of Can Do, we’re asking our guests these questions and more.

 

This story is part of a series that looks at potentially lasting ways Montana adapted during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network. 

Businesses across the state found themselves making new products in response to pandemic shortages. Montana companies pivoted from manufacturing items like fishing waders and craft spirits to gowns and disinfectant and kept people employed in the process. 

Montana financial leaders are encouraging business owners to get their ducks in a row as more funding for the federal Paycheck Protection Program was approved by Congress Thursday.

Tracie Kenyon, President and CEO of Montana's Credit Unions, says small businesses, as well as non-profit organizations and co-ops, will likely get a second chance to receive forgivable loans to pay employees.

Kim Schaub, a graduate of the Anaconda Job Corps, welds at Anaconda's Intercontinental Truck Body.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Trump Administration last week announced it’s closing the Anaconda Job Corps, along with eight others across the country. The closure could be devastating to the students and the local community.

Montana businesses have been awarded $500 to $700 million annually in federal government contracts over the past few years. On Wednesday companies large and small looking to win work rubbed shoulders with 40 national, state and private contractors at the annual GovMatch event in Billings.

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