MC in line for Small Business Development Center

The Miles City Area Economic Development Council (MCAEDC) learned at its meeting Thursday that the small business development center (SBDC) will be moved from Colstrip to Miles City. 

The SBDC was created in 1989 to provide free one-on-one advising to business entrepreneurs.

It offers financial analysis, business planning, operations assistance, marketing and social media assistance, training, loan packaging assistance and entrepreneurial development services.

John Sisson was the SBDC director until the end of 2016..

“That’s a contract with the state to provide SBDC and the state has made the decision to transition that to larger communities,” said Jackie Muri, MCAEDC president. “They’ve ended the agreement with SEMDC (Colstrip-based Southeastern Montana Development Corporation).”

The same thing is happening with the Wolf Point SBDC office, which is relocating to Sidney.

“This will be good for Miles. The role will not change; they will just be in Miles City,” Muri said.

According to SEMDC Executive Director Jim Atchison, once a new director and host is found the office will be up and running again. 

In the interim, Atchison said, “if someone needs help SEMDC will do our best to help them. This is a good time of the year to transition as it is the quiet time of the year.”

There is currently no timeline for the transition. 

According to Atchison, before Sisson left he made sure the current businesses he was working with were taken care of.

Also discussed at the meeting was the open MCAEDC executive director position. After 10 years in the position Mike Coryell retired in November.

“We’ve had the opportunity to interview one individual. And it was a great interview but we decided because of the timing of the interview— it happened right before Christmas — we wanted to allow time still for other applicants to come through,” said Stacy Klippenstein, Miles Community College president and an MCAEDC member.

According to Klippenstein, MCAEDC has received another application and hopes to fill the position within the next few months.

All phones calls to the MCAEDC office are being forwarded to the Miles City Chamber of Commerce and there are signs on the office door with further contact instructions.

It was revealed in the meeting that Leadership Miles City has received their first grant for their proposed roundabout designs. The double roundabout will be located at the Haynes Avenue exit of Interstate 94. 

The group received $2,500 from the Wal-Mart Foundation. According to Muri, their submitted proposals have not been approved yet by the Montana Department of Transportation.