Economic Development

 Stillwater County Business Direct Grant

Stillwater Count Grant Applicants:  Grant recommendations will be on the Board of County Commissioner's March 9th Agenda.

Stillwater County Business Direct Grant for Stillwater County businesses that have been negatively impacted by the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.  Both Profit and Non-Profit businesses are encouraged to apply.  The application opens January 12th and closes February 12th.  Grant award recipients will be notified February 26th.   You can download the Grant Information Sheet and Grant Application by clicking the links.   You may also pick the application up in person at the Stillwater County Planning and Economic Development Office located at 17 N. 4th Street, Columbus, MT 59019.  For questions related to the grant application, please contact Stephanie Ray at or phone 406-322-8056.

Stillwater County Economic Development’s mission is to encourage economic growth by facilitating personal achievement and business success by connecting people to the finest education, technology, and business resources.We achieve our mission by creating economic vibrancy and generating prosperity by providing access to grants and programs for businesses and their employees.  We proactively plan for growth and strengthen business retention and expansion by facilitating trainings, organizing networking opportunities, and bridging communication between government and our local economy.

Thinking about starting a business?
Click HERE to get the resources, tips, and tools you need to get started.

If you are looking for additional business or non-profit assistance, please call or email us.  We look forward to assisting you with your business and organizational needs. 

Staff Members

Stephanie Ray AICP
Community/Economic Development Director
Christine Baker
Planning Support Specialist

Question:  Are there business licenses in Stillwater County or the City of Columbus?
Answer:  No....BUT please check to see if your profession or service requires a Professional License issued by the State of Montana.

Question:  I want to start my own business, where do I start?
Answer:  Stillwater County Economic Development has Business Startup Packets and numerous State and Federal resources that are free for all businesses and startups to take advantage of.  To receive a Business Startup Packet, you need to email or give us a call to setup an appointment to meet with our staff. 

Question:  Are there grants available for my business?
Answer:  Possibly.  It all depends on what you intend to use the funds for.  Generally with any business grants, you are required to be in business for at least 1 year.   Microgrants (+/- $1K) for businesses are very hard to come by.  State and Federal grants that may be available tend to cater to businesses looking to make major investments between $25K to over $1M+.   For more information please contact our office, we would be happy to see if there are funds available through eCivis, our grant database. 

Question: What business/organizational assistance and resources are available?
Answer:  Stillwater Economic Development offers business consulting, resource connections to State and Federal programs which include but aren't limited to the Business Expansion And Retention (BEAR) Program,  Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Small Business Administration (SBA), Beartooth Resource Conservation and Development, and the Department of Labor and Industry - Billings Job Service.  Just to name a few... We are resource directors and welcome your inquiries.

Question: We're interested in moving our business and our family to Stillwater.  What is the economy like in Stillwater?
Answer:  The 2015 update to the Stillwater County Overall Economic Development Plan can be viewed HERE.  This Plan not only details the County's demographics as well as its growth over the years but it's also a strategic planning document with goals and objectives for Stillwater County and its community and economic development plans for the future.