Trailblazers of the ‘Big Sky’: Women Entrepreneurs Shaping Montana’s Business Landscape

In the Spotlight: Some inspiring Women Entrepreneurs from Montana

#WomenEntrepreneurs #MontanaBusiness #Empowerment #Innovation #JeanetteRankin #BigSkyCountry

Nestled in the heart of the American West, Montana has long been revered for its rugged landscapes & pioneering spirit. But beyond its majestic mountains and sweeping plains lies a lesser-known narrative of entrepreneurial prowess and innovation, driven in no small part by the women who call this state ‘home’.

Ranked #35 in America’s Top States for Business for 2023, Montana has cultivated a business-friendly environment characterized by pro-business tax policies, competitive operating costs, and a streamlined regulatory landscape. This fertile ground has fostered a culture of entrepreneurship, earning Montana the distinction of being voted the top state for launching small businesses in 2021.

Throughout history, women in Montana have been at the forefront of enterprise, from negotiating fur trades to leading ranching and farming ventures. Notably, Montana Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to hold federal office in the United States, claimed – “Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both”. And this continues to resonate – embodying the spirit of inclusivity and empowerment driving Montana’s business landscape today.

As studies highlight the significant impact of women-owned businesses and gender diversity in the workplace, Montana’s skilled and educated workforce stands as a testament to the state’s commitment to fostering innovation and economic growth.

With numerous state government programs aimed at supporting workforce development and entrepreneurship, Montana remains a beacon of opportunity for women entrepreneurs seeking to carve their path in the Big Sky Country.

Let us delve into some success stories of some inspiring women entrepreneurs from Montana.

> Marissa Keenan, Co-Founder, Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Marissa Keenan is the Co-Founder of Sweet Peaks Ice Cream. Keenan and her husband expanded a single storefront into three states – letting local ingredients do the work to create an USP and distinguish their ice cream from the competition. Her experience in creating a startup was done very strategically. She knew what questions to ask when creating a start-up. Significantly, this sensibility led Sweet Peaks to become profitable in just two years!

> Paige Williams, Founder & CEO, Audience Awards

Paige Williams is Founder and CEO of Audience Awards, a platform to support short-format filmmakers honing their craft. Her journey as an entrepreneur really evolved. She moved from being a social worker to award-winning filmmaker to art-meets-commerce matchmaker. She strongly believes that one should learn how to make an income with your art. In fact, she also makes an effort to stay connected to the greater business world from Missoula, Montana.

> Michelle Huie, Founder of Vim & Vigr

Michelle Huie is the Founder of Vim&Vigr, a company that sells fashionable compression legwear for both men & women. She was very focussed on her journey to entrepreneurship. She increased her business exponentially in just four short years. She firmly feels that Vim&Vigr couldn’t have succeeded anywhere other than Missoula, Montana.

> Cassie Monaco, CEO/Founder, Sokn Engineering

Cassie Monaco, CEO/Founder feels that leadership is a responsibility. It is about inspiring and motivating, making an impact and difference in lives and the world. Sókn Engineering, Inc. is a woman-owned S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) company that is into developing software for the algorithmic trading industry. They disrupted how commodity futures are traded with proprietary predictive algorithms; in fact, Sókn’s algorithms accurately and consistently predict price action movement and specific price targets, not merely price trends.

> Allison Klein Throop, Founder, North Fork Mapping

Allison Klein Throop is the Founder of North Fork Mapping. This is a company that creates artistic topographic maps of Montana and beyond.

> Holly Kopeikin, Chief Marketing Officer & Owner

Holly Kopeikin’s experience is rich and varied. She is an experienced Advertising Sales Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the newspapers industry. She is also skilled in Advertising Sales, Advertising, Sales, Sales Management, Digital Media and Event Management.

The company spells out that that they take the time specially to understand their clients’ objectives and develop custom marketing strategies that are rooted in research, as well as creative solutions that cut through the marketplace clutter and motivate customers to act.

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