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Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) - Job Creation Projects

Grants and Loans to Montana Local and Tribal
Governments to Promote Basic Sector Job Creation

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Montana Department of Commerce - Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Deadline Date:

04/03/19 Postmarked


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Grants and loans to Montana local and tribal governments to promote the creation of well-paying jobs in basic sector businesses. Governments may apply on behalf of employers to establish a minimum of one net new position for a Montana resident. The purpose of this program is to foster long-term stable economic growth within the state.

Funding for other uses which do not meet the stated criteria below may be eligible at the discretion of the Department.

As per the MCA(Section90-1-204), the types and uses of funds by local governments and tribal governments include but are not limited to:

a. A reduction in the interest rate of a commercial loan for the expansion of a basic sector company;

b. A grant or low interest loan for relocation expenses for a basic sector company;

c. Rental assistance or lease buy-downs for a relocation or expansion project for a basic sector company;

d. A grant or Purchase of Land, Building or Equipment for the direct use of the assisted business;

e. Wages of Net New Employees are eligible expenses if jobs pay the higher of 170%of state current minimum wage, or the current average weekly wage of the county in which the employees are to be principally employed including the value of employee benefits.

f. Construction Materials in support of building improvements for an expansion, and

g. Employee Training: Direct costs associated with education or skills-based training for employees in new jobs at the assisted business. All necessary and incidental costs of providing new job training and education directed to the new eligible jobs are eligible for reimbursement. This includes all direct training costs, such as:

i. Program promotion,
ii. Instructor wages, per diem, and travel;
iii. Curriculum development and training materials, iv. Lease of training equipment and training space;
v. Miscellaneous direct training costs (such as employee training-related travel);
vi. Administrative costs;
vii. Assessment and testing;
viii. In-house or on-the-job training; and
ix. Subcontracted services with approved training providers.

Eligible training costs that are not direct costs attributable to specific new jobs (such as instructor costs, curriculum development and administrative costs) must be pro-rated and allocated to each eligible employee in a new job receiving training for which reimbursement is requested.

Statement of Purpose:

The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) program is a state-funded program created by the 2005 Legislature. The program’s legislative purpose (Section 90-1-202, MCA) is to assist in economic development for Montana that will:

-Create good-paying jobs for Montana residents;
-Promote long-term, stable economic growth in Montana;
-Encourage local economic development organizations;
-Create partnerships between the state, local governments, tribal governments, and local economic development organizations that are interested in pursuing these same economic development goals;
-Retain or expand existing businesses;
-Provide a better life for future generations through greater economic growth and prosperity in Montana;
-Encourage workforce development, including workforce training and job creation, in High-Poverty Counties by providing targeted assistance; and
-Manufacturing ammunition components is a qualified economic development purpose.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180769

Estimated Size of Grant:

Applicants not in a high poverty county are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 for each eligible net new job created.

Applicants in a high poverty county are eligible to apply for up to $7,500 for each eligible net new job created.

The Department reserves the right to determine funding awards based upon types of jobs proposed, pay levels, and other pertinent factors.

Term of Contract:

The Job Creation contract period is up to two years.

Most job creation contracts will be executed for one year with an option to renew for an additional year depending upon the business’ performance and job creation goals.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include local and Tribal governments (includes any state or federally recognized Indian tribe within the state of Montana).

Special purpose agencies, such as Certified Regional Development Corporations and other economic development organizations, are not eligible to apply directly to the Department for Job Creation Project funding; however, they could be involved in implementing and administering a project through a partner organization, if the eligible applicant agrees to such an arrangement.

Ineligible uses of funds include costs associated with the transfer or relocation of jobs from one part of the state to another part of the state.

Pre-Application Information:

Generally, investment made in the business at the project location no earlier than six-months prior to the BSTF funding approval could be considered eligible match. Match should include new, unexpended cash funds available at the time of application that will be invested at the Montana project site by the local or tribal government and/or the assisted business within the contract period (up to 2 years).

Match should be equal to or greater than:
-$1 for $1 (100% match) of BSTF funds received for businesses not in a High-Poverty County, or
-$1 for $2 (50% match) of BSTF funds received for businesses in a High-Poverty County.

The following will not be considered as match:
-Investment made earlier than six-months before BSTF funding approval, without the written consent of the Department to incur project costs, will not be eligible to satisfy the
match requirement;
-Existing assets purchased earlier than six-months before BSTF funding approval (Note:
existing assets that are physically relocated to Montana may be considered as match),
-In-kind services;
-Refinancing of existing debt;
-Projected operating cash flow;
-Existing equity;
-Existing bank line of credit amounts.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Department to discuss their proposed project with BSTF program staff.

All applications are accepted on an open cycle basis. Applications must be submitted (postmarked if using mail) by the deadline date. Applicants can submit the application, with all attachments:


Beginning July 1, 2018, the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund program will accept job creation applications quarterly. Those application due dates are: July 10, 2018, October 3, 2018, December 19, 2018, and April 3, 2019.

The BSTF Program will allow the Assisted Business/Entity to present information about their project (not to exceed 10 minutes) to the Grant/Loan Review Committee. Presentations can be done in person and/or by phone and will require the business to be available for Q&A. The applicant will be notified regarding the scheduled meeting date. It will be the applicant's responsibility to contact the Assisted Business/Entity with this notice. Presenting to the Committee is not mandatory.

It is important that applicants not incur costs or obligate fund which are intended to be reimbursed by BSTF prior to the date of award. Expenses incurred by applicants prior to an award date are expenses incurred at their own risk.

Job Creation Program Information:

Application Forms and Instructions:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Annmarie Robinson, Section Manager
(406) 841-2250

Alyssa Townsend, Program Specialist
(406) 841-2748

Debi Davidson, Program Specialist
(406) 841-2792

Big Sky Trust Fund Program
301 South Park Avenue
Helena, MT 59601

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Montana