Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What is the funding structure for Bear Paw Development?
Bear Paw Development receives funding from a number of sources including a planning grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, membership dues from local government entities, interest income from our revolving loan funds, and various grant administration funds.
What are your interest rates for business loans?
Our interest rates are based on the prime rate and depend on your credit score and overall risk of your project. Please call our office for an interest rate quote.
What are the terms offered on Bear Paw's business loans?
The term (length) of your loan will depend on the type of collateral offered and the use of your loan funds, and can range from 5 years to 20 years.
What is the prepayment penalty?
There is no prepayment penalty for repaying your loan prior to its maturity date.
What can I use my loan funds for?
Loan funds may be used for any of the following purposes.
Please call our office if you have questions about whether your project falls into one or more of the following categories.
Purchase of an existing business, property, equipment, or inventory
Small Business Development Center
How do I start a Small Business?
Starting A New Business
Where Can I Get Montana Industry Statistics?
Research & Analysis Bureau
Montana Means Business
Where do I register my business name?
Montana Secretary of State – Business Forms
Where can I request a Tax ID, and do I need one?
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Does the SBDC help existing businesses?
Yes, the SBDC assists both the potential and existing entrepreneurs. We can assist existing entrepreneurs with the challenges that they often face as they grow for example; financing an expansion, developing a marketing plan, development of a strategic plan, creation of an exit strategy and much more!
How do I apply for a loan with the SBDC?
The SBDC does not have any direct money to loan but your SBDC Business Advisor will suggest an appropriate source for financing that best suits your needs. With a complete business plan and financial projections you will be able to apply for SBA guaranteed loans and approach local banks for capital.
What is a business plan and do I need one?
The Business Plan is your guiding map to entrepreneurial success. A good business plan defines your business and the product and service that you are providing to meet the needs of your customers. It is a necessary tool in obtaining financing and keeping your business moving in a positive direction.
Will the SBDC write my business plan for me?
No. The SBDC Business Advisor will give you advice on developing a comprehensive business plan, financial projections and capital requirements, and will work one-on-one with you to get your business off the ground. They will advise and provide you with suggestions to make your plan be top notch, no matter how long it takes.
What is value added agriculture?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business Development defines value-added products as follows: a change in physical state or form of the product, the production of a product in a manner that enhances its value, as demonstrated in a business plan, and the physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product. As a result of the change in physical state or the manner in which the agricultural commodity or product is produced and segregated, the customer base for the commodity or product is expanded and a greater portion of revenue derived from the marketing, processing or physical segregation is made available to the producer of the commodity or product.
Are there different categories of added value?
Presently, there are five recognized categories of added value. Categories include: producing and marketing a real or perceived quality attribute or characteristic, reducing transaction costs, bundling products, producing and marketing a commodity that improves operating efficiency somewhere up the supply chain, and producers owning assets somewhere up the supply chain for further commodity processing.
What is a CEDS?
A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS, is a strategic planning document designed to help guide the economic growth of an area. It is a regional strategy which reflects local economic development needs and priorities and recommends a regional approach to achieving sustainable economic development. A CEDS is required to qualify for U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance under its Public Works and Planning Programs.
Can I get a copy of the CEDS?
You can view our CEDS here.
What is CTEP?
The Community Transportation Enhancement Program, known as CTEP, is a Montana program that funds transportation related projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of Montana’s intermodal transportation system. CTEP allows for the implementation of a variety of non-traditional projects that relate to surface transportation.
Is CTEP a grant program?
No. Funds for every eligible community – including Havre, Fort Benton, Harlem, Chinook, Malta, Hill County, Chouteau County, Phillips County, Blaine County, and Liberty County, are allocated to an account for your community but will be held and administered by the Montana Department of Transportation.
Is there a local match requirement?
Yes. CTEP requires a 13.42% local match.
Who can develop project proposals?
Anyone can develop project proposals, but project applications must be submitted by the city, county or tribal commission whose CTEP funds will be used to develop and build the project.
Does there need to be a public involvement process when choosing CTEP projects?
Yes. Minority groups, Indian reservations, special interest groups and the general public must all be provided an opportunity to participate.
How long does it take to complete a project?
A: While this varies greatly, a typical CTEP project averages two years, from application submittal to project completion.
Can CTEP funds be used for continuing maintenance activities?
No. Snow removal, mowing, weed control, etc. aren’t eligible—remember, CTEP is a capital improvement program.
Are bicycle racks and other bicycle and pedestrian amenities eligible?
Yes, under most circumstances.
Is playground equipment eligible?
No. Anything that is of a strictly recreational nature or that is not linked to the transportation system will not be considered eligible.
Are sidewalks (new or reconstruction) eligible for CTEP funding?
Yes, as long as they are used primarily for non-recreational purposes, are in public ownership for use by the general public, and meet all ADA requirements.
Where can I get more information about CTEP?
You are encouraged to call our Community Planner Krystal Steinmetz to discuss your CTEP idea. Krystal is the CTEP Administrator for the local governments within the Bear Paw District. She can be reached at 406.265.9226 or via email here.
If my organization or business is not a local government entity, how do I obtain Bear Paw Development’s assistance for a project that will benefit my community?
A member entity representing a local government must write a letter requesting assistance on behalf of your project. The request for assistance is then presented to the Bear Paw Development Board of Directors at their next meeting, and is evaluated and voted on by the Board at that time.
Can my projects be fully grant funded?
In most cases, no. Most grants require a minimum dollar amount in matching funds to be contributed to the project in order to qualify for a grant. Although there are exceptions, they are very rare.
When is the best time to involve Bear Paw Development with your public facility project?
NOW! By contacting us as early as possible with your infrastructure need, we can work with you to set a course of action that will solve your problem and prepare your community for the future.