Invest in Success

The Largest Small Business Conference in Montana

Invest in Success

By all measures the 2016 Invest in Success conference was beyond successful. We hosted 203 attendees and 21 vendors and drew 13 Shark Tank competitors. We also created innumerable connections between small businesses and resource partners. 

See our press on the event here and here. View and share our conference photos from our Facebook page.


Invest in Success 2016 Presenters

We strive to bring in the brightest and best presenters during our breakout sessions.The following presenters and topics were featured at our March conference. Click here for full descriptions of each presentation.

-Start, Grow, Thrive Business Fundamentals by Jennifer Webber
-Wrongful Discharge Act by Department of Labor & Industry
-Coaching Your Employees to Success by Kim Kompel
-How to Build Your Personal Brand by Wendt Agency
-Intellectual Property Law by Toni Tease
-Financial Monitoring with Profit Mastery by John Balsam, Kalispell SBDC
-Telework Panel by Triangle Communications
-Overcoming Workplace Negativity by Sherry Winn
-Marketing to Consumer Behavior by Julie Jaksha, Butte SBDC
-Lean Principles of Manufacturing by Rob Cook
-3 Powerful Principles for Effectively Boosting Employee Accountability by Leslie Cunningham
-Business Leadership by Tracy McIntyre
-The Cause & Expenses of Workplace Bullying by Grace Wood
-Crowd Funding Panel by Dena Johnson, Billings SBDC
-Growth Through Ag by Steph Hystad
-Finance Panel with Deanna Langman, PTAC; Roger Hopkins, SBA; and Jan Brown, MCDC
-Affordable Care Act by Payne West
-Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace by Jane Rhodes
-Social Media Marketing by Davey Madison
-Food Safety Planning by Claude Smith


Shark Tank Style Competition at Invest in Success

Shark Tank Flyer

Congratulations to our 2016 Winners! See all the photos and the contestant video on our Facebook page.

First Place: Anchor Yanker
Second Place: Big Sky Innovations
Third Place: Shellter

Shark Tank is a live business plan competition designed to make your business ideas a reality. The live pitch is featured in front of a panel of judges and audience at the Invest in Success Conference. Aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to local consultants (aka "sharks") for a chance to win a $5,000 first place prize, a $2,500 second place prize, and a $1,000 third place prize! CONTEST NOW CLOSED - SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

2016 Contest Rules and Regulations:

  • The competition was open to Montana start-up/preventure entrepreneurs in the "idea phase".
  • Scoring was based on the business plan, feasibility, scalability, presentation quality and presenter knowledge. 
  • The application fee was $100. The fee included 2 tickets to the Invest in Success conference, recognition at the conference, and professional, constructive feedback from Business Advisors about the product/service.
  • 5 total contestants to presented live at the Invest in Success conference.

2016 "Shark" Panel:
Bob Nystuen – Glacier Bank, Market President and on the Montana Board of Regents
Max Vogel – US Bank, Assistant Vice President | Commercial Banking Relationship Manager
Shauna Albrecht – Independence Bank, Credit Analyst
Mike Finnerty – SBDC State Director

2016 Sponsors:
Northwestern Energy & Independence Bank - Thank you!

Please Note: Prize money is given to the winning startup and no ownership of any company is exchanged upon winning. If you are selected to present you are responsible for all costs incurred and transportation to and from the conference.


Paul Leach of Loenbro: IIS 2016 Keynote Speaker


Co-founders Paul and Jon Leach launched Loenbro with a small team of welders in 1998. They built their business on a reputation for quality customer service and change the perception of contractors in Montana. “By living our core values, we will become the best place to work and will develop leaders you want to work with,” says Leach, President.

The company, which was named the 2013 Oil & Gas Awards Construction Company of the Year for the Rocky Mountain Region, has grown to 700 employees and has a repeat client rate of more than 95 percent. The company has expanded to tackle challenges in many areas, including: Pipeline, Industrial Construction, Fabrication, Industrial Insulation, Inspection Services, and Oilfield Services.

The organization's focus is on what is truly important, as they inspire constant improvement, and motivate people to immediate action. Paul’s keynote presentation will actively engage and challenge people to inspire problem solving and create more business opportunities.

Invest in Success is an annual statewide conference designed by SBDC Business Advisors that focuses on leading businesses into the future with relevant, on-trend workshops and sessions. Attendees will enhance their financial, managerial and technical skills, all invaluable assets to entrepreneurship.

Conference Photos:

301 S. PARK AVE. | P.O. BOX 200533 | HELENA, MT 59620-0533 |  T: (406) 841-2870 |  F: (406) 841-2871 | TDD: (406) 841-2702