UM Program Receives Donation for Women’s Entrepreneurship

August 18, 2017

MISSOULA – The Pursue Your Passion program at the University of Montana has expanded with facilitators and fellowships, thanks to a generous $5,000 donation from PDT Inc.  (Paradise Dental Technologies) of Missoula and additional funds from individual donors.

Part of the UM-based Blackstone LaunchPad, Pursue Your Passion is a student program for women and men designed to increase women’s participation in start-up competitions and entrepreneurship. Through PDT’s donation, this year’s program will expand from one to two monthly meetings and will be led by external professionals who can catalyze participants’ growth throughout the school year and beyond.

“We are incredibly excited about the community support for this program,” said Morgan Slemberger, marketing and operations assistant for BLP-UM. “Linda Miller at Paradise Dental Technologies is an incredible example of a female CEO giving back to help other women get their start. In addition to her support, our first call for individual donations for fellowships resulted in pledges within minutes from both men and women. We are thrilled to be able to expand this year’s program with so many amazing Montanans behind it.”

 As an additional program enhancement, BLP-UM is raising money for fellowships for two or possibly more participants at the end of their program year. The fellowships will include a stipend, space and additional consultative support for those students to continue work on their passion or business idea throughout the next school year.

Participating students also can now earn credit toward their UM degree, depending on their chosen course of study and departmental approval.

Pursue Your Passion runs for two semesters and consists of monthly accountability meetings, guest speakers, the John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge, carefully curated mentor pairings, networking events and more. Previous participants have started businesses, achieved goals toward building a passionate life or received a job/internship out of a mentor connection.

Applications are now open for UM students online at until Sept. 10.  

BLP-UM is a campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, ideation and venture creation support. Learn more at

For more information on the Pursue Your Passion program, call Slemberger at 406-243-5723 or email


Contact: Morgan Slemberger, innovation and entrepreneurship marketing and operations manager, Blackstone LaunchPad at UM, 406-243-5723,