October 30, 2008



Liz Marchi, Frontier Angel Fund, 883-4044
Dr. Gary Young, College of Business, 657-2326
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The entrepreneurial spirit has been a cornerstone of Montana’s economy. In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that there are more than 115,000 small businesses in Montana.


But the entrepreneurial spirit sometimes only goes so far. Montana entrepreneurs face common challenges such as developing business expertise, making connections with mentors and — often the biggest challenge —raising capital. To help fill that void, angel investors sometimes step in to fill the needs for many startups.


How investors, community leaders and others can develop and maintain an angel organization is the focus of a daylong seminar coming to Montana State University Billings in November.


“The Power of Angel Investing” will be presented at the MSU Billings College of Business on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event is open to anyone interested in starting an angel fund organization. Attendance is limited and registration is required. The fee is $150 per person.


The seminar is joint effort between the MSU Billings College of Business and the Frontier Angel Fund, Montana’s first organized angel fund, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The goal is to provide education about angel investing to public officials, economic development professionals, business leaders and accredited investors.


Joining the MSU Billings College of Business as sponsors are First Interstate Bank, Tease Law, Big Sky Economic Development, the Montana Department of Commerce, Dorsey & Whitney Law Firm, University of Montana Business School, Heutmaker Law, Glacier Venture Fund and the Montana World Trade Center.


Dr. Gary Young, dean of the MSU Billings College of Business, said the university is a strong advocate for entrepreneurial business development and hopes the seminar results in new relationships to bolster economic growth.


“We are pleased to bring this unique opportunity for education about angel investing to our campus and to our community,” he said. “I believe in the capacity in our region for building an effective angel network to serve our growing entrepreneurial culture.”


The curriculum materials and instructor will be provided by the Angel Capital Association in association with the Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation in support of entrepreneurship in the United States. Marianne Hudson, executive director of the Angel Capital Association and the Angel Capital Education Foundation, will lead the seminar.


Dr. Paul Polzin, former of the Montana Bureau of Economic Research, will present a community assessment of the Billings community to get some idea of the number of angels that might be in the area. The full day seminar will explore best practices in forming, structuring and sustaining an angel organization in the local community.


For more information and to register, contact Liz Marchi, fund coordinator at the Frontier Angel Fund, at liz@frontierangels.com, or at (406) 883-4044.