Starting a Business in Butte
The entrepreneurial spirit of early settlers created modern Montana, and that spirit continues today. Whether you are thinking big or small, Butte is an excellent place to start a business, with ample assistance available from local, state and federal programs and organizations.
Butte also offers low start-up costs when compared with many other cities, and unique opportunities like the Uptown Historic District and Montana Connections Business Park.
Understand the Available Resources
There is support available for new businesses in Butte at the national, state and local levels. The online resources listed below will get you started, and be sure to contact these departments and programs directly for more information on how they can support your new business:
- Butte Business Development Center: Learn about the services offered by the Butte Business Development Center.
- Butte Chamber of Commerce: Visit the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce website.
- Butte Local Development Corporation: The Butte Local Development Corporation (BLDC) is the designated lead economic development entity for Butte-Silver Bow.
- Butte-Silver Bow Community Development Office: Learn about loan programs and other business services available through the Community Development Office.
- Governor's Office of Economic Development: The Governor's Office of Economic Development serves as a catalyst to grow Montana's economy through collaboration with public and private partners for the benefit of all Montanans. The Office manages the Innovate Montana and Main Street Montana programs in addition to grant and loan programs.
- Headwaters RC&D: Headwaters provides technical assistance for natural resource, community development, and economic development projects and programs.
- Innovate Montana: Innovate Montana promotes and markets opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to invest in Montana’s growing economy. The web portal highlights Montana’s emerging innovation community and provides information and resources about working, living and playing in Montana.
- Montana Department of Commerce Business Resources: Finance information, loan and grant programs, tools for starting and managing a business, and much more from the Montana Department of Commerce.
- Montana SCORE - Counselors to America's Small Business: SCORE chapters offer low-cost pre-business workshops that address topics like assessing entrepreneurial potential, developing a startup checklist, selecting a legal entity, creating a business plan and securing funding.
- Montana Small Business Development Center: The Montana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is a partnership that provides free, confidential, one-on-one business counseling and low-cost training programs to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Montana Women's Business Center: The Montana Women's Business Center (WBC) provides the necessary tools and support to help women establish, grow and sustain businesses throughout the state of Montana.
- Small Business Administration Montana Office: Learn about the many resources available for new businesses from the SBA.
- Start a Business in Montana from the Montana Department of Commerce: A gathering of information from different sites to help you start your business in Montana.
- Starting a Business from the Small Business Administration: The SBA specializes in assisting new businesses with financing and planning.
- UM Bureau of Business & Economic Research: The Bureau of Business and Economic Research is a research department within the School of Business Administration at The University of Montana, Missoula. The Bureau produces a variety of economic and industry data including annual economic forecasts for the United States as well as Montana, its industries, and counties.
Local Resources for Business Planning
The creation of a strong, well thought-out business plan is an essential first step for entrepreneurs developing new businesses, and a business plan is also key to securing financing. Most banks will need to see a solid plan before considering a business loan.
The Butte Local Development Corporation and the Montana Community Development Corporation can provide business planning assistance, and can also assist in securing capital through public funding sources, real estate and relocation, facility siting, local and county processes, connecting with Montana Tech, and tapping the local workforce. The Butte-Silver Bow Community Development Office is also a good source of information on local regulations and requirements and potential funding sources.
Name and Incorporation Info
When you have chosen a business name, you should register it online with the Montana Secretary of State's Office. You should also determine which type of structure your business will use. You may want to consult an attorney who specializes in business or corporate law. After determining your structure, be sure to register it with the Secretary of State.
Licensing and Permits
All businesses in Butte-Silver Bow are required to maintain a business license, as described in Butte-Silver Bow Municipal Code Title 5. Applications for a business license can be picked up in the Treasurer's Office on the second floor of the Butte-Silver Bow Courthouse, 155 W Granite St, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, or downloaded using the link below. Fees vary depending on the type of business; refer to the fee list for details.
Licenses are issued only after approval by the Building and Code Department and zoning approval from the Planning Department. The Treasurer's Office can advise you if any additional permits are needed, depending on your business.
- Business License Fees
- Business License Application Form (interactive pdf format)
- Licenses are valid for one calendar year, from January 1 through December 31. Business and liquor license renewals are accepted from January 1 through January 31. Any renewals received February 1 or later are charged a late fee equal to the original renewal fee, effectively doubling the cost of license renewal. For more information on Butte-Silver Bow business licenses, contact the Treasurer's Office at 406-497-6306.
Checklist: Applying for a Business License
- Download and Complete the Business License Application Form or pick one up at the Treasurer's Office
- Visit the Building and Code Department for approval.
- Visit the Planning Department for zoning approval.
- Return the completed form to the Treasurer's Office with the appropriate fee.
- Don't forget to renew your license between January 1 and January 31.
You can register a business account online using the Montana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (TAP). TAP allows you to register for the following business accounts:
- Income Tax Withholding (WTH)
- Lodging and Facility Sales and Use Tax (LFT)
- Rental Vehicle Sales Tax (RVT)
- Mineral Royalty Withholding Tax (MRW)
- Detailed information for businesses is also available on the Montana Department of Revenue website, including taxes, licenses, fees, and permits and tax incentives and relief.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also provides tax information for new businesses on the IRS website.
Finding financing to make your new business a reality is one of the most difficult steps in starting a business. New businesses in Butte have several local financing options in addition to national and state programs. Some of the local financing programs available in Butte include:
- Butte Local Development Corporation (BLDC) Loan and Grant Programs
- Urban Revitalization Loans and Grants (URA)
- Tax Increment Financing Industrial District (TIFID)
- Headwaters RC & D Financing
- Historic Preservation Tax Credits and Incentives
- Other local government funding assistance
Contact the Butte-Silver Bow Community Development Office or the Butte Local Development Corporation to learn more about local financing options.
When your business plan and presentation are ready to you, you can seek a loan from a local bank or credit union. Most lenders will require personal equity in a new business. You will need to determine the amount that you personally can contribute to funding a portion of your business.
Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, Montana loan and grant programs, venture capital, angel investors, and bootstrapping are just a few of the routes you can take instead of a traditional loan.
For any new business looking to hire employees, there are local resources available to assist you in the hiring process. You can create a free profile and post jobs to the Butte-Silver Bow City-County website, work with the Chamber of Commerce, and post jobs with the Montana Workforce Services Division. Other good options for hiring employees include The Montana Standard, The Butte Weekly, popular websites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, and social media like LinkedIn. Another great resource when seeking skilled employees is Montana Tech Career Services.