Montanans testify during Tester’s hearing on job creation and business innovation

Senator seeks best ways to ensure young companies can access capital

(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Senate today heard expert advice on job creation and business innovation from two Montanans who were invited to Capitol Hill by Senator Jon Tester.

Tester, chairman of the Senate Economic Policy Subcommittee, organized today’s hearing to examine the potential of startup companies to create jobs and spur economic growth.

“We must ensure that startup companies are able to access the long-term capital that they need to bring innovative ideas and products to market,” Tester said during the hearing. “Smart investment fosters innovation and pays dividends in the future, for us, our kids and grandkids.” 

Two Montana business leaders, Liz Marchi of Polson and Dr. Robert Bargatze of Bozeman, both shared advice on how to expand job opportunities through startup companies.

Marchi, the Coordinator of the Frontier Angel Fund that invests in startups, said that the U.S. must find better ways to connect entrepreneurs and their ideas to capital. She pushed for federal policy that ensures access to capital markets and discussed the impact of essential telecommunications infrastructure to rural America.

“Innovation and discovery are everywhere,” Marchi said. “But we must find better ways to connect capital to ideas and to entrepreneurs. This is the recipe for new jobs in all of America.” 

Marchi’s testimony is online HERE.

Tester called the hearing because he believes that startups in rural communities face unique challenges and opportunities in accessing capital – a belief echoed by Bargatze.

Dr. Bargatze, the Founder and Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, said that Montana startups are at a particular disadvantage due to the dearth of venture capital firms in and around Montana. 

To encourage innovation and economic growth, Bargatze suggested increasing the percentage of funds that the Small Business Innovation Research program dedicates to small business applicants.

Bargatze’s testimony is online HERE.

Tester will continue to hear about small business opportunities and challenges at his Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Billings Friday. The workshop, at Montana State University-Billings’ downtown campus, is free and open to the public.

Video of Tester’s hearing is online HERE.