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Mission West receives $20,000 grant for study

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News from Mission West Community Development Partners

RONAN — Mission West Community Development Partners has received a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an accelerator coworking space (ACS) feasibility study in Polson. The ACS would provide free or low-cost working space as well as expert advice on starting and operating a business, marketing advice, and business consulting services to small businesses in the area. The project will be supported by $10,000 in matching funds provided by Mission West and an additional $10,000 provided by the Polson Redevelopment Agency (PRA).

 The project grew out of discussions between Mission West and Polson City Manager Ed Meece on ways to cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Polson that would serve the city and the surrounding region. “Coworking spaces and business incubators are common in larger communities,” said Meece. “Right now, smaller towns like Polson are missing out on opportunities to grow businesses and create jobs. This project will help us assess the feasibility of creating a space in Polson to make the area competitive in creating and attracting new businesses.”

Brenna Fulks, community and economic development director for Mission West, will oversee the project that will start sometime in January. The study will include with a report and a go/no go recommendation expected in Spring 2022.

“We are truly grateful to the USDA and the PRA for supporting this feasibility study,” said Mission West Executive Director Jim Thaden. “Mission West is already a big advocate for innovators, entrepreneurs and remote workers. In fact, we work with exactly this group of clients to provide technical assistance and small business loans. The question the feasibility study will answer is, ‘What will it take for Polson to attract innovators, entrepreneurs and remote workers? With its central location halfway between Missoula and Kalispell on the Highway 93 corridor, we think Polson has huge potential to become a magnet for new businesses, and we’re excited to be taking the first steps toward a facility that will help turn that potential into reality.”

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