Montana Public Radio

entrepreneurship

Can Do: The Sweet Life

Jan 25, 2019
Robin Béquet is the owner of Béquet Confections.
Janie Osborne

Robin Béquet’s goal: “To make the best caramel anyone’s ever had. Period.” After 17 years and five recipe upgrades, she just might have achieved her goal.

Béquet Confections, manufactured in Bozeman, Montana, has won a clutch of national awards. You can find their chewy, chocolate, chipotle or Celtic sea salt caramels on the shelves of over 1,000 gourmet stores.

Can Do: The Fickle Business Of Sushi

Jan 11, 2019
Drake Doepke.
Drake Doepke.

In 2009 Drake Doepke was living in Kauai as a self-described “beach bum” when he decided to move back to Montana and open a sushi restaurant. Nine years later and without any prior business experience, Doepke owns three successful Asian restaurants in Montana.

Learn from Doepke about the "trails by fire" of starting a business from scratch, on this episode of "Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Entrepreneurs" with Arnie Sherman.

Montana World Trade Center Executive Director Brigitta Miranda-Frer pauses for a selfie at Accelerate Montana launch event in January 2017.
Courtesy Montana World Trade Center

Many Montana entrepreneurs looking to enter into the global market turn to Brigitta Miranda-Freer, executive director of the Montana World Trade Center. The MWTC is located on the University of Montana campus in Missoula, and offers an array of services to assist businesses in taking their products into the world. 

Learn how Montana businesses can successfully operate on an international scale. Brigitta Miranda-Freer shares advice from her 20-year career in economic development and international trade and commerce, right now on "Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs."

Throughout 2018, Montana entrepreneurs shared their business insights on Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs. As the year wraps up, take a listen to these five interviews from outstanding women entrepreneurs describing the nitty-gritty behind their hard-won successes.

Kym Corwin, director of production success, and Claude Sammoury, vice president of sales, business development and alliances at Advanced Technology Group. File photos. Dec. 14, 2018.
ATG

Just seven years ago, the Missoula, Montana business-technology consulting wing of Advanced Technology Group (ATG) consisted of two people in a basement. Today, ATG employs more than 130 people in its quote-to-cash billing solutions center.

What is “quote to cash?” It’s the process of fine-tuning a customer’s interaction with a company from start to finish - or the “full lifecycle of managing a customer, through buying something from your company,” explains Claude Sammoury, ATG’s vice president of sales, business development and alliances.

The secret to their success, according to Kym Corwin, director of production success at ATG, is the pool of talent in Missoula - and the “Montana work ethic.”

Can Do: Making A Product Good Enough For Your Dog

Nov 30, 2018
Spencer Williams, founder and CEO of West Paw, based in Bozeman, MT. Nov. 27, 2018
LinkedIn profile

Spencer Williams, founder of West Paw, was just 23 years old when he began manufacturing pet toys in Bozeman, Montana. The newly-minted entrepreneur reveled in the chance to try out new, untested strategies, which in turn fueled his entrepreneurial drive. “That’s what gets me excited about business,” Williams says.

In the 22 years since, Williams has stuck by another founding motivation for getting into business: positively impacting his community by hiring employees locally and making a difference in their lives.

Today on “Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs,” host Arnie Sherman and Williams talk about how you get multiple returns when your end consumer doesn’t have a wallet or a credit card – and is covered in fur. 

Can Do: Rebranding A Company In the Fintech Market

Nov 16, 2018
Eric Hathaway, vice president of marketing at Zoot Enterprises. LinkedIn headshot Nov. 16, 2018.
LinkedIn profile

When Zoot Enterprises hired Eric Hathaway three years ago, the financial services technology provider needed to refresh its entire brand, and Hathaway thrives on change. “I love to help businesses move to the next level – it drives me,” says Hathaway, Zoot’s vice president of marketing. 

Hathaway, who has a global business leadership resume including Credit Suisse, Standard & Poor's, Microsoft and T-Mobile, helped Zoot reposition itself in the “fintech” – financial technology – market and change the way it sold itself, communicated and found new clients.

Today on “Can Do: Lessons From Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs,” host Arnie Sherman and Hathaway discuss what it takes to rebrand a 25-year-old organization and turn it into the leader in its industry.

Dave Glaser, president and CEO of MoFi. Linked-In headshot. Nov. 1, 2018
LinkedIn profile

“Captain Dave” is a licensed river guide and environmental scientist who’s sailed across the Atlantic and picked bananas on a kibbutz in Israel. But his alter ego, Dave Glaser, is the president and CEO of MoFi, a Missoula-headquartered non-bank lender that has provided more than $500 million to entrepreneurs and organizations across the Northern Rockies region.

John Connors is a managing partner at Ignition Partners, a business software venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs thrive.
Courtesy Ignition Partners.

“You can take on new assignments in areas you don’t really know, and if you recruit the right people, set the right goals and everybody works very, very hard, you can accomplish amazing things.”

That’s John Connors, a managing partner at Ignition Partners, a leading enterprise software investment company with more than $1.5 billion under management. Listen to this episode of "Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs" to learn about how Connors, who grew up among the ranches and oil rigs of eastern Montana, rose through the ranks of Microsoft's financial positions to become that company's Chief Financial Officer, and then a managing partner at Ignition.

Can Do: KOA, The Future Of Camping

Oct 5, 2018
Kampgrounds of America president Toby O’Rourke
Courtesy KOA

On this week’s episode of Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, host Arnie Sherman talks with Kampgrounds of America President Toby O’Rourke, the first woman president in the company’s 56-year history.

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