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ONE WEEK AWAY - Tester to host 16th Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Billings - Accessing Capital: Financing your Business in the 21st Century

February 9, 2016View for printing

In just one week, Senator Jon Tester is hosting his 16th Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Billings on "Accessing Capital: Financing your Business in the 21st Century."

Tester's Workshop will focus on helping Montana small businesses maximize their potential by connecting entrepreneurs with the capital they need to start up and grow in the 21st Century.

Accessing Capital: Financing your Business in the 21st Century

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MST

Montana State University-Billings Petro Hall

Billings, Montana


"Accessing capital is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses in Montana," Tester said. "My Small Business Opportunity Workshop will connect small business owners and entrepreneurs with financing experts so they can continue to grow their businesses and create more jobs."


Our Keynote Speakers

Maria Contreras-Sweet, Small Business Administration - Administrator

Maria Contreras-Sweet became the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and a member of President Obama's cabinet on April 7, 2014. Contreras-Sweet is a seasoned manager, corporate executive, state cabinet official and three-time entrepreneur. She entered the private sector as the only female executive for Westinghouse's 7-Up/RC Bottling Company. She was a leading corporate negotiator for the creation of the Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, which led to the largest-ever expansion of the state's recycling system.

Contreras-Sweet was a cabinet official in California, becoming the longest-serving cabinet Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing in state history. Upon re-entering the private sector, Contreras-Sweet set her sights on improving access to capital for small businesses. She founded a successful community bank in downtown Los Angeles focused on financing small- and mid-size businesses, especially the region's underserved entrepreneurs.

Contreras-Sweet began her work in the public sector with a U.S. Senate appointment to serve on the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission to advocate for the advancement of women in corporate America. Contreras-Sweet was a founding director of The California Endowment, a multi-billion dollar philanthropic health foundation.

Diane Smith, American Rural - Founder & CEO

Diane Smith is an entrepreneur, investor, attorney, author, and advocate with an extensive background in start-up companies and new industries. She is also the founder and CEO of American Rural, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring robust opportunities for rural and small town Americans.

Diane serves on profit and not-for-profit boards across the U.S. and often advises start-ups on their technology and growth strategies. She has written for the Huffington Post, the Daily Yonder, the Flathead Beacon, numerous tech publications, and the American Rural newsletter, Ruralistically. She is a frequent guest lecturer on entrepreneurship at universities, hosts webinars on entrepreneurship and technology, and has spoken in the U.S. and internationally on topics such as Women in Technology, Success in Unlikely Places, and What is Rural?

Diane is a graduate of George Mason University and George Mason University School of Law and is a member of the state bars of Virginia and Montana. She and her husband David live in Columbia Falls, MT.


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