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2018 Small Business Summit

Maghan Strachan, left, and Maggie Metzger, small business specialists at the Montana Department of Transportation, were available to assist small businesses at the 2018 Small Business Summit.

The Governor's Office of Indian Affairs and the Montana Department of Transportation – Small Business Program are collaborating on a three-day conference to help small businesses who are interested in “Takin’ Care of Business” at the Tribal Relations Training and Small Business Summit on Feb. 12-14 in Helena. 

This is an opportunity for all Montana small businesses to learn about everything from business branding to marketing and from cyber security to human resources.

“There will be much to take away,” said Shannon Hahn, small business specialist with the Montana Department of Transportation. “People will walk away with ‘Oh, that’s what I need to do!'”

Participants can attend one or all three days. The fee for the tribal relations seminar on Feb. 12 is $75. The fee for the two days of small business seminars is $75.

The Montana Department of Transportation certifies small businesses, women- and minority-owned businesses throughout the state.

The process and certification allows for these businesses to go after federal grants and contracts. It also enables businesses to be considered for bigger opportunities, Hahn said.

“You don’t have to be certified to attend,” Hahn said. “We’re trying to help small businesses compete no matter the size of the playing field.”

In addition to the seminars, there will be an opportunity for attendees to network and rub elbows. Hahn said this is an event where businesses can make connections.

This is a big deal for the Department of Transportation, as representatives will share information about doing business with the department.

“We really want businesses that do business with the Department of Transportation,” Hahn said.

In order to work with the department, small businesses must be certified. They also must be compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity requirements.

“The best part of this,” Hahn said, “people can attend and get free EEO training.”

A department specialist will present a free two-hour training course with a focus on EEO requirements on MDT contracts. The training class typically cost about $150.

Hahn said the department always is looking for businesses that can do transportation related jobs. From fencing to dirt work, from press releases to consultants, Hahn said there are many needs that might not be apparent to an outsider.

“Anything the department needs in their whole arena,” Hahn said.

On the first day, attendees will receive tribal relations training during which they can experience and learn about Montana's Tribal Nations and become a Partner in Building a Stronger Montana. The training includes topics on How to Conduct Business in Indian Country and keynote speakers on entrepreneurship and government relations.

That evening, Gov. Steve Bullock will help kick off the 2019 Small Business Summit at ExplorationWorks.

The following two days will be full of inspiration and information. The event is at the Best Western Helena Great Northern Hotel, 835 Great Northern Blvd.

For information and registration, click 2019summit.ezregister.com.

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City Editor

Assistant editor at the Helena Independent Record.

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