UM to Launch Coalition for Business Engagement

by Missy Lacock

The University of Montana will introduce a new coalition for business engagement, Accelerate Montana, at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Thompson Auditorium of the Harold and Priscilla Gilkey Building.

The launch event, “The Secret Sauce That Turned Israel into ‘The Start-Up Nation,’” will feature speaker Israeli Consul Gen. Andy David, invited by the Montana World Trade Center, followed by a reception.

Housed in the new Gilkey Building on campus, Accelerate Montana is UM’s center for economic development, entrepreneurship and leadership. It serves Montana businesses through seven programs: Blackstone LaunchPad, the Small Business Development Center, Montana Code School, Montana iLEAD, the Montana Technology Enterprise Center, the Montana World Trade Center and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Members of Accelerate Montana all serve different phases of business, from startups to established businesses seeking opportunities both within Montana and outside U.S. borders.

“It’s the hub where people start,” said Joe Fanguy, executive director of Accelerate Montana. “Anyone from a new entrepreneur to a seasoned exporting CEO can reach out to Accelerate Montana and we can direct them to the specific resource they need.”

Accelerate Montana members collectively reach approximately 700 businesses and entrepreneurs each year, helping to bring tens of millions of dollars in investment capital, grants and contracts to the state of Montana.

“The role of the University in driving economic development is becoming more and more important to the future of both student employment and research growth, and our new umbrella will further accelerate these impacts,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for Research and Creative Scholarship and dean of the graduate school.

For more information, call Fanguy at 406-243-2148 or visit



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