Survey shows Montana’s outdoors big draw to small businesses

2013-09-11T00:00:00Z 2013-09-11T00:09:10Z Survey shows Montana’s outdoors big draw to small businessesBy Renata Birkenbuel Montana Standard The Billings Gazette
September 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

BUTTE — Montana’s outdoor lifestyle has received a ringing endorsement from small-business owners.

Just in time for the upcoming Montana Economic Development Summit Sept. 16-17 at Montana Tech, a telling survey of 200 small private business owners shows that 70 percent of them agree that the state’s enticing outdoors is a factor in locating or expanding here.

The presence of public lands, such as national forests, national parks, wildlife refuges, plus river and trail access, continue to attract young business owners and businesses on the rise, according to the random survey commissioned this summer by Business for Montana’s Outdoors.

“Montana is fast becoming the next emerging technology cluster, following in the footsteps of Austin and Boulder,” said Lance Trebesch, CEO of Ticket River and, a business of 28 employees based in Bozeman and Harlowton. “Successful technology companies are being built right under the Big Sky.”

Trebesch is a founding member of Business for Montana’s Outdoors, as are members of a panel scheduled for Monday at the summit.

In the online testimonial, Trebesch added that such business sector growth is possible because of the quality of life in Montana — “due to our stunning and expansive public lands, all just minutes from where we work.”

In the survey of business owners sprinkled throughout the state, the so-called “Montana outdoor lifestyle” factor outranked other choices, such as tax rates, access to high-speed Internet, access to raw materials, utility costs, quality health care and quality airline service, among others.

According to the Business for Montana’s Outdoors, the Montana economy is growing and even outperforming the broader United States economy due mostly to the state’s “remarkable” outdoors.

“Protected public lands play a role in attracting entrepreneurs and talent to Montana communities, with high-wage service industries leading Montana’s job growth and diversifying the state’s economy,” reads the website.

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