Success Stories

Joe Billion, of J.C. Billion, Inc., has been named the Montana Small Business Person of the Year for 2013 by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Billion was nominated for the honor by David Ely, President/CEO, Energy Design Service Systems.

J.C. Billion, Inc. was started by Joe Billion in 1978, when he and his father purchased a General Motors dealership in Bozeman, Mont. Eventually, Joe took over sole ownership of the company. Over the past 30 years, Joe has grown the company significantly. J.C. Billion, Inc. now includes four auto dealerships, J.C. Billion Nissan, J.C. Billion GMC/Buick, J.C. Billion Dodge and Billion Livingston, and two additional businesses, Billion Auto Body & Executive Detail and Eco Joe's Car Wash.

When J.C. Billion, Inc. opened in 1978 it had a total of 32 full time and two part time employees. As the sales grew and the business expanded, the number of employees also increased. Today, the company employs a total of 133... Read More

SBA STEPping Up to Help Montana Businesses Export

Did you know 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States?  That is why it’s so important for small businesses to explore the opportunity of exporting their product(s) and/or continuing to expand their existing global markets.  Exporting helps bring new revenue into Montana which helps our business community sustain and grow, supports other local businesses and creates good local jobs.

In 2011, Montana businesses exported $2.46 billion worth of products and services to countries like Canada, Republic of Korea, Mexico, China, Japan and many more. 

The President has a goal to double U.S. exports and give America a stronger competitive edge in the global market. To build on this goal, as authorized under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration initiated a pilot grant program called the STEP (State Trade and Export Promotion) Program.  This program, administered by the Montana Department of Commerce, aims to increase... Read More

Bitterroot Gymnastics Transformed with Help of MCDC and SBA

 

This is a story about being nimble.

Later this week an industrial warehouse in Missoula, which has been completely transformed, will reopen as Bitterroot Gymnastics – providing children and families throughout our community with a safe space to learn and practice.

While the concept of a big space for a gymnastics school isn’t necessarily innovative, the path to making it happen certainly has been.

Owner David Stark had done everything right.  As a former student and then employee of the company, he already had extensive knowledge of the gym when he purchased it in 2005.  Then, as an owner, he had worked hard to save costs, provide great service, and grow the business.  Now that his work was paying off and his business was expanding, he simply needed more space.  But he didn’t have the capital to expand.  He knew that his business showed solid profits and great income potential, but he didn’t have strong collateral and so wouldn’t qualify for... Read More

Montana Small Business Benefits from Small Business Jobs Act

As part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the SBA provided temporary authority allowing refinance of existing eligible debt under the SBA 504 loan program.  The program, administered through Certified Development Companies (CDC), typically finances acquisition of owner occupied commercial property and large equipment needs.  In an effort to stimulate the economy, the loan program can now temporarily refinance certain eligible debt on property, without additional funds being borrowed to expand a facility. 

Montana Community Finance Corporation, in partnership with Zions First National Bank of Idaho Falls, Idaho, obtained SBA approval under this temporary authority, and funded the first such loan made in the State of Montana since this change was made to the program.

Derek Ence, owner of Ence Properties LLC dba Hotel Developers Missoula Staybridge, said “I think the SBA helping us small business owners refinance our property in this difficult lending environment...