The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Program was created to aide in the development of good paying jobs for Montana residents and to promote long-term, stable growth in Montana. It has two district methods for achieving these goals - through job creation projects or through planning efforts.
For Economic Development Job Creation Projects, 75% of the BSTF earnings are available to be awarded to local and tribal governments in the form of grants or loans to assist eligible businesses in creating net new eligible jobs.
The eligible assisted business must meet the following requirements:
- Create at least one (1) net new eligible job in Montana;
- New job(s) must pay an average weekly wage that meets or exceeds the lesser of 170% of Montana's current minimum wage or the current average weekly wage of the county in which the employees are to be principally employed, including the value of employee benefits. If the employee benefits are to be included in the calculation for the BSTF required wage rates, the assisted business will be required to certify that the benefits meet the requirements of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974.
- Demonstrate that the business expansion is financially feasible.
Eligible uses of funds include grants or loans for the reimbursement of expenses such as:
- A reduction in the interest rate of a commerical loan for the expansion of a basic sector company;
- Grant or low interest loan for relocation expenses for a basic sector company;
- Rental assistance or lease buy-downs for a relocation or expansion project for a basic sector company;
- Grant or loan for purchase of land, building or equipment for the direct use of the assisted business;
- Wages of Net New Employees if the job pays the higer of 170% of state current minimum wage or the current average weekly wage of the county in which the employees are to be principally employed, including the value of employee benefits;
- Construction materials in support of building improvements for an expansion;
- Employee training.
Awards may be made for up to $5,000 or $7,500 per qualifying job depending on whether the project is located in a high poverty county.
The program requires a match of $1 for every $1 awarded (1:1) or $1 for every $2 awarded (1:2) for program awards in a high poverty county.
To complete the on-line grant application, you will need the following items:
- Business Plan;
- Twenty-four months of historical financial information (Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss and Cash Flow);
- Twenty-four months of projections (Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss and Cash Flow);
- Hiring Plan;
- Training Plan, if proposing training activities.
It is advised that you have access to this required information before you start an application in the online system. To view a representation of the on-line application, please view Representation of Application attachment below. Copies of the program guidelines are also available in the attachments below.
Please contact the BSTF Program before starting an application to verify that your project qualifies.