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Sanders County Community Development Corp. Receives Award for Feasibility Study for a Rural Technology Initiative

October 7, 2013View for printing

Sanders County Community Development Corporation (SCCDC) will be conducting a feasibility study for the Sanders County Technology Initiative. Lake County Community Development Corporation, the Certified Regional Development Center, will contract SCCDC to complete the six month study utilizing a grant from the Big Sky Economic Trust Fund (BSTF), administered by the Montana Department of Commerce.

We propose to undertake a study to determine the feasibility of establishing the first regional "technology center" in Sanders County that would include rentable space for existing small businesses or mobile workers, incubator space for entrepreneurs, a training/conference room, space for pilot projects and offices for permanent staff and temporary residents. BSTF funds, along with volunteer consultation from local residents with necessary technical expertise will assess the need for and viability of establishing this type of center.

In the past, our region has been significantly dependent on natural resource based industries for economic development and growth. Limitations and reductions imposed upon those industries make it necessary to look beyond these traditional drivers of local economic activity to less visible prospects. We believe that the availability and creative use of technology in a rural setting can offer opportunities to attract new industries, businesses, and entrepreneurial residents. Incentives for Montana-based businesses include quality of life, tax incentives, and an enthusiastic work force.

A county-wide survey conducted of Sanders County in 2011 indicated that eighty percent (80%) of area residents recognized the importance of technology to the creation of future jobs within the county. This first study serves both as a pilot study for the region and a model we can replicate in both Mineral and Lake Counties in the future. It is essential that we embrace every reasonable possibility for economic and employment growth beyond industries that we have come to depend upon in the past. The establishment of the Sanders County Technology Initiative (SCTI) represents just such a possibility.

The Sanders County Community Development Corporation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and support economic activity within Sanders County. SCCDC offers business consulting services, manages a revolving loan fund that makes loans to qualifying business entities, as well as assists with project management as a grant sponsor for community projects and events. It is managed by volunteer Board of Directors representing communities throughout Sanders County.

George M.
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