UM’s Montana World Trade Center Launches Technology Export Initiative

November 07, 2016

MISSOULA – The Montana World Trade Center at the University of Montana will introduce a tech export initiative at its TechEx kickoff event, “Wisetail Tells Its Tale,” from 1 to 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at First Interstate Bank. The event will be held at the bank’s downtown location, 101 E. Front St.

The initiative will help Montana businesses in industries such as cloud computing, photonics and bioscience industries move to the forefront of technical exports by bringing together a team in international trade and technical law and offering practical training based on the everyday experience of real Montana companies.

“These companies have largely geographically agnostic business models. They’re thriving in Montana because their knowledge-based workers demand the types of lifestyle amenities our state provides,” said Brigitta Miranda-Freer, MWTC executive director. “They will become an increasingly important part of our state’s economic base and certainly our base of exporting companies, given that they are not subject to the traditional geographic barriers to export. We need to do what we can to fan the flame and expedite the international market entry and expansion efforts of these firms.”

Members of the new tech export team will weigh in on best practices in a live case study, after Wisetail CEO and founder Justin Bigart shares his story from the perspective of a Software as a Service internationally. Seating is limited.

“For nearly two decades, MWTC has served Montana as a trusted adviser: for businesses wanting to connect globally and prosper locally,” said Miranda-Freer. “The TechEx Initiative is designed to give Montana-based SaaS companies like Wisetail an edge in exporting these services to other markets.”

According to a 2015 report from UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Montana’s high-tech and manufacturing industry is growing eight times the rate of the Montana economy. In Missoula, tech companies like Submittable and EDULOG are growing and leaving their marks, and according to the Montana High-Tech Business Alliance’s February profile, 16.4 percent of companies in the alliance are software/SaaS companies. But not every company has found the help it needs to expand.

“Technical assistance for these types of technology exports is difficult to obtain,” Miranda-Freer said.

A common problem that exporters have is a lack of uniformity in export regulations, security considerations and tax structure, and while the global demand for cloud computing technology is clear, export figures are elusive given the rapidly changing nature of the industry. However, projections, regardless of source, point to a strong global market with anticipated exponential growth.

Beginning in November, MWTC provides access to a team of export professionals and targeted training to help businesses to help businesses and ultimately help move Montana’s economy forward.

The team consists of four experts, leaders and entrepreneurs: Angela Marshall Hofmann, founder and president of World Strategies LCC; Joel Henry, senior counsel with Michael Best and co-founder of Agile Data Solutions; Antoinette Tease, intellectual property attorney; and Justin Cook, Certified U.S. export compliance officer.

Together, these dynamic members of MWTC’s Tech Export Team aim to move the needle on Montana’s tech-based exports by giving businesses access to their knowledge and experience. Initial free consultations and discounted service packages will be available for MWTC members. Businesses may register to attend the free event at http://www.mwtc.org/.

For more information call Brigitta Miranda-Freer at 406-243-6982 or email at brigitta@mwtc.org

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Contact: Brigitta Miranda-Freer, executive director, Montana World Trade Center, 406-243-6982, brigitta@mwtc.org.