Montana NextGen Project – an analysis of Montana’s economic and community development tools, programs, and funding mechanisms.


Montana NextGen Project

The Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA), in partnership with the Montana Chamber of Commerce, has contracted with TIP Strategies (TIP), an economic strategy firm with offices in Austin, TX, and Seattle, WA, to complete an analysis of Montana’s economic and community development tools, programs, and funding mechanisms. Support for the project comes from over 75 partners across the state. TIP will provide specific recommendations to improve the state’s competitiveness. Although the recommendations will be designed for near-term implementation, the impacts will be focused on maintaining and improving the long-term competitiveness of the state.

An effort like this has not been conducted on this grassroots level for nearly 20 years. In the face of such great change and future economic opportunities and challenges, Montana needs to do its homework and consider anew what tools and strategies are needed to maximize economic future. Let’s get this work done and then let’s have the conversation about strengthening each of our communities.” Steve Arveschoug, MEDA President and Todd O’Hair, Montana Chamber

The project was launched in December 16 and 17 (in Helena) with a group of steering committee members meeting to discuss needed outreach efforts, followed by a stakeholder luncheon and initial interviews with state-level experts. Outreach meetings will be held throughout the state over the next four months in an effort to gather key rural, tribal, and urban perspectives. TIP will conduct an extensive review of the state’s current economic and community development strategies. This review will include interviews, roundtables, and meetings with community leaders and stakeholders from across the state.

The outcome of the strategic planning process will include key findings and recommendations that give future guidance to MEDA, their partners, and key decision makers for strategic community economic development programs, practices, and funding structures for both near-term and long-term initiatives. These recommendations will be supported by best practices and case studies, as well as benchmarking of current tools and programs. The final recommendations will include an implementation strategy with timelines for each initiative and the key partners involved.

Questions to consider:

  • What have been the most impactful community and economic development tools, programs, and funding mechanisms in Montana?
  • What economic and community development tools, programs, and funding mechanisms have not been as effective?
  • Which states/regions does Montana compete with for economic development projects?
  • What are the biggest concerns around the future of Montana’s community and economic development programs and strategies?
  • What outcomes constitute success for the planning process?
  • Which additional community leaders and organizations should be involved in this project during outreach and engagement?


MONTANA ECONOMIC DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION (MEDA). The Montana Economic Developers Association is an association of economic development professionals. We are professional “lead” economic developers, business specialists, government employers, and staff members of affiliated non-profit organizations, which promote and foster economic development activities in Montana.   MEDA sponsors educational seminars, workshops and conferences to advance the economic development profession. MEDA’s excellent network provides for the interchange of ideas and experiences between individuals with mutual goals and interests. The association also develops communication systems to disseminate information and acts as a clearinghouse and contact point within Montana for other state, regional, national and international economic development organizations and agencies. 

MONTANA CHAMBER. Business owners need someone in Montana representing their best interests every day. Since 1931, the Montana Chamber of Commerce has been that presence. We are a member-driven organization, representing small mom-and-pop operations to local chambers of commerce to large companies, from retail to manufacturing to tourism to agriculture. We are guided by business leaders, working to improve Montana’s business climate. We are a not-for-profit, 501(c)(6) organization registered with the IRS and the State of Montana.

TIP STRATEGIES, INC. (TIP). TIP is a privately held Austin-based firm providing consulting and advisory services to public and private sector clients. Established in 1995, the firm’s core competence in strategic planning for economic development has broadened to include expertise in talent strategies and in organizational development. TIP has worked with more than 300 communities across 40 states and 5 countries to develop innovative strategies, programs, and outreach campaigns.

For additional information, please contact:

Gloria O’RourkeElizabeth Scott
MEDA CoordinatorConsultant & Project Manager, TIP Strategies
[email protected][email protected]

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Dorsey & Whitney - An International business law firm, applying a business perspective to clients' needs in Missoula, Montana and beyond.

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