Great Northern Development Corporation and the Small Business Development Center present the 3rd Minnow Tank Business Plan Competition: Uniting Northeastern Montana for Economic Growth

Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are excited to announce the commencement of the 3rd Minnow Tank Business Plan Competition. This transformative initiative is set to unfold across the seven-county region of Northeastern Montana, including Valley, Garfield, McCone, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, and Daniels.

 Fostering Economic Development:

The Minnow Tank Competition aims to unite communities with a common goal of economic development by attracting new entrepreneurs and supporting existing businesses. Through the generous sponsorships of local businesses and chambers of commerce, GNDC will award two prize packages of $5,000 each—one to a startup and one to an existing business.


Showcasing Entrepreneurial Potential:

This competition provides a unique platform for startups and expanding businesses to showcase their potential, with the opportunity to win one of two $5,000 cash awards. The vision is to strengthen and support the existing businesses that form the backbone of local communities.

Educational Initiatives:
To empower entrepreneurs, SBDC Director Quincy Walter has organized free business plan development classes in each of the seven counties. These classes cover crucial topics such as Business Plan Basics, Marketing, and Small Business Financials. Entrepreneurs planning to compete in the Minnow Tank Business Plan competition are strongly encouraged to attend one of the classes below.


Key Dates and Events:

Business Plan Submission Deadline: March 13th, 5:00 PM

Minnow Tank Finale: May 3rd

Business Plan Development Class Schedule: 

Glasgow, February 7th, 10:00-12:00, TBD

Wolf Point, February 7th, 2:00-4:00, GNDC 233 Cascade Street

Sidney, February 8th, 10:00-12:00, Sidney Chamber of Commerce

Jordan, February 9th, 10:00-12:00, Garfield County Bank Conference Room

Circle, February 9th, 2:00-4:00, Fairgrounds 

Plentywood, February 13th, 10:00-12:00, Jubilee Room 224 S Main Street

Scobey, February 13th, 2:00-4:00, Nemont Friendship Room 2 Railroad Ave


Application Guidelines and Procedures:
Business plan submissions for Minnow Tank are due to GNDC by 5:00 PM on March 13th. Official application guidelines and procedures can be found below.

Minnow Tank Finale:
The culminating event will be held on May 3rd, where fourteen finalists will present their business plans live to a panel of judges, and the audience, who will also be able to vote as well. Support your favorite entrepreneur by attending the Minnow Tank Finale; tickets will be available by calling GNDC.

Join the Minnow Tank Competition:
New or existing businesses interested in applying for Minnow Tank or those with questions about the events are encouraged to contact Quincy Walter at (406)-650-2590 ext. 203.

About Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC):
GNDC is the economic development leader in Northeastern Montana, committed to fostering entrepreneurship and supporting businesses in Northeastern Montana.


Guidelines and Application Procedures to Enter Minnow Tank Promotion: This is a two-phase contest.

Phase 1—Business Plan Submission (March 13th 2024)
In the first phase, all applicants are asked to provide a business plan using LivePlan (for access to LivePlan contact Quincy Walter at or (406-653-2590 ext. 203)).

You business plan must be no longer than 20 pages consisting of;

  1. Executive Summary
    2. Company Summary
    3. Products/Services Summary
    4. Market Analysis Summary
    5. Strategies & Implementation Summary
    6. Management Summary
    7. Financial Plan (including 3 years of projections as well as cash flow)
    8. A community impact summary stating:
    a. How your business will enhance Northeastern Montana
    b. Why your business stands out

Phase II– Minnow Tank Live Pitch,
Finalists will be notified by Wednesday, March 27th, 2024, by 5:00 PM. Finalists will be asked to present their concept and plan in front of a panel of judges in a live presentation format with a question and answer period lasting at most 10 minutes. Visual aids such as products and digital presentations will be allowed. Finalists MUST make arrangements before the competition to use these items. The Live event will occur on May 3rd, starting at 5:00 PM. Winners will be announced that evening following the live pitch. In the event of a tie, winners will split the prize. 



  1. This promotion is open to all legal U.S. residents 18 or older at the time of entry.
    2. Proposed businesses can be independent operations or franchised.
    3. The applicant must be an existing business or is going to start a business in Garfield, Valley, McCone, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, or Daniels Counties.

How to Enter:
1. All business concept submissions must be emailed, delivered, or postmarked to the Great Northern Development Corporation by 5:00 p.m. on March 13th, 2023. Send to or 233 Cascade Street, Wolf Point MT 5920

2024 Trainings for Northeastern Montana


Unlock the blueprint to your business success with our exclusive free Business Plan Class, expertly curated and led by the Regional SBDC Director, Quincy Walter.

What to Expect:
This class covers the foundational executive summary and the details of financial planning. 

 We will go over creating: 

  • Crafting a Compelling Summary
  • Strategizing effective Products/Services
  • Analyzing market trends with a detailed Market Analysis
  • Implementing Successful Business Strategies
  • Formulating a robust Management Summary

 Why Attend?
Whether you’re navigating the startup waters or charting the course for expansion, this class is your compass. Gain the skills and insights needed to shape your business journey. This isn’t just a class; it’s an investment in your success. If you are considering entering the Minnow Tank Competition we will go over key things that will help to set you apart of the other business plans. 

 Ready to Elevate Your Business?
Empower yourself for the entrepreneurial journey ahead. Join us for this enriching class, and let’s build the foundation for your business triumph together! ??

The Blueprint for Business Prosperity:
Business Plan Writing – Plentywood
D 2/13/2024    10:00 AM – 12:00 PM            No Fee

Click here to register. 

The Blueprint for Business Prosperity:
Business Plan Writing – Scobey
D 2/13/2024    2:00 PM – 4:00 PM               No Fee

Click here to register.

The Blueprint for Business Prosperity:
Business Plan Writing – Sidney
D 2/15/2024      10:00 AM – 12:00 PM           No Fee

Click here to register.

The Blueprint for Business Prosperity:
Business Plan Writing – ONLINE
D 2/16/2024      10:00 AM – 12:00 PM           No Fee

Click here to register.