Missoula tech firm lands state grant for job creation

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

A Missoula technology firm will receive another round of state grants to help create as many as 25 new jobs in the city, along with 16 new jobs in Bozeman.

The latest round of funding from the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund was announced this week by Gov. Steve Bullock. Of the $512,000 in the new grant package, $287,000 will go to Montana Mapping and GPS, or onXmaps, to create jobs in Missoula and Bozeman.

“They’re on a big round of expansion and they’re adding more high-tech jobs to our economy, which is great,” said Nicole Rush, the grants manager with the Missoula Economic Partnership. “This grant is a joint effort, because they’re opening an office in Bozeman.”

The job creation grants announced this week come in addition to those awarded to two Missoula companies back in December.

The firms include Advanced Technology Group, a technology consulting company that has experienced rapid growth over the past year. Consumer Direct, a home health care business, also received funding.

“It’s a great indicator that the economy is growing in Missoula, especially in high-wage jobs,” said Rush. “That’s what these grants are for – jobs that pay a living wage.”

To qualify for the grants, the applicant must meet certain wage requirements, paying at least $13.69 an hour. To receive the full award, they must pay $17.78 an hour or more.

In December, Rush submitted additional applications on behalf of several other Missoula businesses, including the Audience Awards for eight jobs, Modern Entrepreneur for nine jobs, and GatherBoard for eight jobs.

Applications are also in from VIM & VIGR for five jobs and Orbital Shift for 32 jobs. Like onXmaps, that last application would split jobs between Missoula and Bozeman, at 16 apiece.

“We think it’s the first time two jurisdictions have collaborated on an application like this,” said Rush. “It’s a great partnership between Missoula County and the city of Bozeman.”

The funds are awarded through the BSTF program to promote economic growth across the state. Missoula County administers the grants locally.

Rush said the latest applications are still pending with the state program.

“I don’t know exactly what their funding situation is, so there’s no guarantees the state will award them,” said Rush. “It’s all based on available funds, but I have my fingers crossed.”


Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com