Business leaders discuss impact of Montana’s tech growth

Posted at 10:05 AM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 12:05:25-04

BOZEMAN – With technology continuing to develop and improve, what does this mean for Montana and its economic development? The Economic Development District brought the community together to talk about it on Wednesday.

“Bozeman and Montana actually have very high rates of start-up activity, entrepreneurship, share of working age adults who own a business,” said Stephen Ezell, Vice President of Global Innovation Policy Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Those factors contribute directly to the economic development that the state has had. As success has happened, many are looking at how our economy can continue to grow and how technology advancements will help.

“We’re looking at artificial intelligence, we are looking at other technologies but I also appreciate very much the comments that the Mayor made, the comments that the commissioners made,” said Executive Director of Economic Development District Rob Gilmore. “It isn’t all about technology, it’s also about communities and the people that live here and how that network and framework all fits together.”

One major concern is the change in transportation. If less and less people begin owning cars, what does this mean for the economic factor of tourism? Others are worried about other challenges of these changes.

According to Jerry Pape, Founding Director of the Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District, “One of the challenges you have in a community this size, with the forces that try to keep it from changing, the preserve the Bozeman feel group, really all that is protectionism.”

Bozeman is the fastest growing micropolitan region in the country, and with that, it gives us great opportunity for economic development and technology improvement in our future.

“Well, I think that the future is very bright for Montana. Very high levels of workforce education. Montana is number four in the United States in terms of your ability to attract knowledge workers from other parts of the U.S. into your economy,” Ezell said.

The future of Montana’s innovation isn’t completely known, though many in our community are preparing for it to continue the quality of life here in Montana. Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District is excited to see the innovation changes that will happen here in Montana.