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Entrepreneurs meet with investors and mentors in Billings

Posted: 8:27 PM, Sep 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-13 22:28:47-04
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BILLINGS — Many factors go into a successful business, including how to to get people to invest in a company.

Startup business owners met in Billings Friday with mentors that can help them get through some of the early challenges.

The entrepreneurs won a regional competition for a chance to learn at the statewide hyper accelerator.

Early Stage Montana from Bozeman and Big Sky Economic Development hosted the event, which started Monday at the MSU Billings Granite Room.

Potential investors look at many factors of the business, including the people and a big idea, experts said.

"To simply be able to clearly articulate why what they're working on is such a big idea," said Pat LaPointe, Early Stage Montana chairman. "What problem they're solving, who really cares about the problem, how they're solving it and then what are the implications of being able to solve the problem. Those are some of the key things we're working with these companies on."

The idea is to shorten the amount of time getting through the different stages of the company and learning from those with experience.

"So many different components that it's impossible for you to be a master of all those things," said Kevin Scharfe, program manager for Rock 31, a program of Big Sky Economic Development. "And so by connecting with mentors that have experience in all those different industries, then you can start to put together a plan that will actually work."

The competition finishes with a chance to pitch the proposal to investors in Missoula on Nov. 7.