Montana Entrepreneur Project Support Program provides students with hands on experiential learning while working to help grow a young vibrant Montana startup.


Student Application Business Application


  • Earn 1, 2 or 3 internship credits through your department. 

  • Obtain real-world experience in business specific to your career interests.

  • Receive training and support from aMT coaching staff.

  • Connect with passionate, innovative, and creative entrepreneurs.


  • Develop a client communication skill set essential to starting businesses and leading teams.
  • Gain an understanding of business tools and strategies applicable to both businesses and non-profits.
  • Grow your professional network and open post-graduate career opportunities.

Accelerate Montana’s Project Support Internship Program was created with the intention to provide University of Montana Students with real-world experience and provide local entrepreneurs with business support. In this program, our team interviews knowledgeable, motivated UM students and places them in internships where they support a Montanan entrepreneur in the early-to-middle stages of developing a business. Interns work directly with the startup owner (virtually until further notice), contributing to ongoing business projects (customer development, market research, video and social media marketing, etc.).

Intern Spotlights

Finn Mikkola

Finn Mikkola headshot

After he interned for Proof Marketing, Finn Mikkola feels prepared to go in many directions as a computer science major. He worked with search engine optimization, researching brands, and gathering website domains. Finn enjoyed receiving career advice from members of the company and learned how to be a good team member.


  Jill TopSky

Jill is passionate about bridging the financial gap that women and BIPOC entrepreneurs face; and providing indigenous representation within the business world.

In Spring 2021, Jill was a Intern with the Entrepreneur Project Support Program. Recently, we caught up with her to see what she was up to now.

Meet The Entrepreneurs

Bailey Durnell & Rachel Cowan

Missoula Makers Collective

Missoula Makers Collective is an organization formed for the purpose of supporting women entrepreneurs and makers, and bringing awareness to the handmade community. We believe this work is important because shopping small businesses supports the local economy, creates relationships between the maker and consumers, and bolsters the already vibrant handmade culture of Missoula. The Missoula Makers Collective storefront is a new kind of business. Nestled inside of Pearl Boba Tea in downtown Missoula, the space is the product of shared values between two young, local businesses, highlighting over 50 makers and artists that are local to Missoula.  The Missoula Makers Collective is best known for the Missoula Makers Markets, which we have hosted for a year now, and will have hosted 15 markets in various locations by our anniversary in October.


  1. Assist with the planning and execution of the Summer Makers Market from the conception to the finish of the event, including: communicating with city officials, researching necessary permits, filing for permits, communicating with applicants and the community.

  2. Planning up to a year's worth of maker-education courses, which could include: researching and communicating with local experts, assessing the needs of the maker community, and executing the planning of workshops and classes.

Student Application


Kristina Boyd & Shawna Kelsey

New Angle PodcastFeatured on:  


Pink Bench Distilling

What do you get when you cross a wildlife biologist with an economic developer? A wild business idea. We know there is much deeper value to Montana’s forests than timber. And after founding an Apple Festival to help reduce bear conflict in our home town of Troy, we know… there’s a lot of juice in those apples, and plums, and pears! So, after working at the crossroads of conservation and economy for decades, we are building a home in Pink Bench Distilling as a model for innovative solutions and sustainable growth in our area.

Our brandies will be crafted from local fruit, with the picking and profits benefiting the peckish bears who can wreak havoc in orchards. Fur-nomenal! Our liqueurs include a coffee-styled concoction made from roasted roots, and a luscious draught made with six kinds of forest fruit. Home sweet home! And our gins and flavored vodkas will be magical mixes of over 30 local forest and farm botanicals. Pure Gin-ius!


  1. Create an outside-the-box marketing plan and budget tantalizes best practices for reaching customers in both urban and rural Montana
  2. Illustrate a portfolio of exterior and interior architectural sketches of our envisioned business premises including: distillation room, restrooms, kitchen, tasting room, patio, and street view.
  3. Create a series of short videos highlighting our business values and our relationships to local land and people.

Student Application


Kathryn Sanders

Western Sensibility

Western Sensibility is a digital textile printing studio specializing in sustainable, life-friendly textiles inspired by the American west. We function as both a contracting studio and brand where we collaborate with artists from all over the country. 


  1. Help us with outreach to interior designers to grow our contract printing projects
  2. Help us develop our pillow wholesale program and expand beyond Missoula
  3. Help us manage and organize our swatch and sample program

 Student Application


Chase Barlett


Bartlett’s online sports coaching marketplace connects players with coaches, anywhere and anytime. Bridgible gives coaches the analysis tools they need to do the coaching quickly and remotely, and enable players in remote locations to access the best coaches in the world. For example, the app they are currently developing focuses on stroke analysis, so players submit videos of their problems, and the coaches can break down the issues using the tools they've created.


  1. Managing Bridgible Social Media accounts, including Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook
  2. Utilizing Social Media accounts to engage directly with target customers
  3. Consistently creating and posting generalized content to attract our target audience
  4. Using tools such as Canva to design and share posts easily

Student Application


Previous Projects

Rusty Linden

Proof Marketing 

We are a full-service marketing agency located in Helena, MT that provides services throughout Montana and beyond. We offer a variety of services, including website build & design, branding/logos, digital ads, print/digital design, SEO services, email marketing, and more. As our tagline says, we offer BOLD MARKETING THAT GROWS YOUR BUSINESS. 


  1. Social Media content writing and scheduling
  2. Crafting email marketing messaging and layouts
  3. Assisting with website reviews, SEO, analytics gathering, etc.


Heidi Boggs & Dr. Monica Serban

Maana Discoveries Inc.

Maana Discoveries, Inc. is a start-up company located in Missoula, MT, currently focused on transitioning technologies developed at the University of Montana to the commercial space via technology licensing, in addition to fostering B2B partnerships for analytical services.


  1. Business focus: Create a viable financial model and business plan for a 2-division start-up. Investigate specific analytical services fee models that would align with our company’s expertise and mission. This would include : complete Blue Ocean strategy assessment, develop strategy canvas, identify viable products and services, assess fixed and variable costs, recommend price points and/or fee schedule, provide financial projections, and compile a comprehensive business plan. The final outcome of this project includes a written business plan and a brief presentation to Maana’s shareholders.


Rob Tossberg 

Plan It Green Printing 

Based in Hamilton, Mt, Plan It Green Printing prints for forward thinking, environmentally minded companies, universities and non-profits. We educate and guide our clients away from plastic and virgin paper towards plant-based, recycled, sustainable printing. Were are interested in cultivating long term employee with with possible profit sharing from successful sales and envelopment. 

Projects: Filled Spring 2022

  1.  Sales and client development. Find and close government contracts for Sustainable, compostable sticker labels contracts with federal agencies 
  2. Customer development with universities, museums and businesses
  3. Take a deep dive into our company and find new streams of income to develop.


Laura Olsonoski

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains Foundation (MMF) is dedicated to improving the quality of lives of children and adults with developmental and acquired disabilities by supporting improved access to skilled services (occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and mental) in the individual’s natural environment, improving awareness and community understanding of disability, and supporting access to needed supplies and materials to improve independence in their activities of daily living.


  1. Grant Writer - Develop grant proposals for a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Duties involve securing funding for several programs, including community inclusivity education, free developmental screenings, community-building events, and small equipment grants for individuals with disabilities.

  2.  Education Platform - Create a platform and system to allow for continuing education courses to be taken and credit to be received for skilled professionals and childcare providers.

  3. Educational Outreach - Create a network of educators and learners and develop disability inclusion education in Montana.


Sara Andrews

Bumbleroot Foods

Bumbleroot is a regenerative food brand and nature/food-focused media platform to inspire a new relationship between humans, nature, and food. Relying on a regenerative agriculture approach, Bumbleroot has been on a journey to source and distribute foods that tell their story, support biodiversity and healthy soil, and create opportunities for their customers to discover new and delicious products.


  1. Curating content for the newsletter and developing a new printed publication.
  1. Developing press releases and doing research on potential community partners to spread the word about the Bumbleroot story and products.
  2. Possibly developing and editing a podcast.


Gail Gutsche

Friends of the Women's Club

After 38 years in operation, The Women's Club Health and Fitness Center closed in August. A team of four is exploring the possibility of re-imagining and re-opening a new women's club. The club provided classes, workpout space and a salt-water pool for 1800 members, many of whom are differently abled and or seniors. Results from a survey of nearly 800 members strongly supports continuation of the women's club community. A community meeting with potential stakeholders, including the City of Missoula, Homeword and others, is slated for Thursday, September 23rd.


  1. We are looking for an intern to help us write a business plan to determine the viability of establishing a new women's club.


Oriana Turley

Medicine Mountain Scrubs

Sustainably sourced, ethically manufactured, mountain inspired medical workwear for women. We are aiming to be the Patagonia of the medical apparel space, walking the walk in reducing our impact on the planet while delivering high quality, high functioning medical workwear for women. Designed by nurses, this small batch scrub company takes the latest advancements in recycled technical materials into your scrubs.


  1. Green House Gas analyses of our company.
  2. The greenhouse gas protocol is widely used for carbon analysis within big healthcare systems and their direct suppliers and we would like to apply this same principle to our Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions to see where we stand as we set our sights on being a carbon neutral business.



Syann Motl

TAP Missoula

Women-owned micro community network based in Missoula. TAPMissoula launched June 2020.We are a micro-social media platform for the Missoula community. We offer communication solutions for small to medium-sized institutions in the Missoula region that are interested in operating outside of traditional email marketing and are feeling disenfranchised with larger social media platforms. TAPs community forums offer specialized discussion channels for all our members. Our entire platform operates around the concept of community kindness. 


  1. Email marketing 
  2. Community Forum Manager 
  3. Social Media


James Williams


We have sixty-five years in computer processing - thirty-five in system development and twenty in issue definition with discrete component analysis and resolution. 

Our new concept is an alteration to current base system operation. The result of which among other advantages resolves Ransomware. 


  1. Technical platform design
  2. GUI and Artistic user interface design
  3. Customer discovery: Work with first customers to observe and learn how they work with the product. 
  4. Opportunity to grow with the business longer term.



Arielle Wilson

Aralia Health

Aralia Health is a community centered naturopathic health care clinic. Founded by Dr. Stephanie Raven and Arielle Wilson, who together have 20+ years of health care experience. Dr. Raven is a practicing naturopathic doctor and Arielle's background is in Practice Management. Our clinic will use a combined model of insurance billing and sliding-scale fees to provide the Missoula community with accessible holistic medical care. Dr. Raven is currently enrolled with several major insurance companies. For patients who are unable to utilize insurance billing, we will offer sliding scale discounts based on income levels. In addition, there are many services that we offer that are not covered by any insurance companies, for example Intravenous Micronutrient Therapy. For these services we will also offer sliding scale discounts. There are several Naturopathic Doctors in town, however, accessibility to care is not a focus in any existing clinics. At current rates, Naturopathic Medicine is largely inaccessible to the majority of our local community.

Projects:  Filled Spring 2022

  1. Identifying and write grants for our sliding scale holistic healthcare clinic
  2. Identifying and investigating loan programs for women owned and operated small business
  3. Help to develop a referral program between like minded small businesses to facilitate a community approach to accessible holistic health care.


Paul Dumond

Dumonds Custom Furniture

I build one of a kind custom furniture including tables, desks and beds. I have a solar off-grid wood shop that I have been operating for 30+ years. I ship my furniture around the USA.


  1. Social media posting including youtube, facebook, instagram. Writing blogs to be posted on the internet to increase my backlinks. I have lots of videos of different pieces I have built and lots of great photos.

Carson Brown

NW Gutter Guards

NW Gutter Guards carries and installs a variety of high-end gutter covers to homeowners in the Flathead Valley and Missoula. We are looking to aggressively expand our operations in the 2022 season.


Project: Filled

  1. Development and delivery of additional marketing materials
  2. Assistance in hiring processes
  3. Continued development of systems in place to allow smooth operations with remote install crews.









Blake Nicolazzo

Bondfire Brands

Bonfire is a graphic design and brand development agency. They work with clients who leave the world better than they found it—specializing in brand identity design to event planning, website creation, and consumer and employee relations. Bonfire Brands empower brands to act the way they want to feel and attract their ideal community of champions, partners, clients, and consumers.

Projects:  Filled Fall 2021

  1. Attracting potential clients through marketing, outreach strategy, and data
  2. Business operations and organization- help with organizing internal assets like client intake forms, project management systems, google business suite functions
  3. Internal and external junior graphic design projects- creating designs that will communicate their business and the causes they champion

Chase Comes At Night

Innovative Indigenous Greens

Our mission is to improve the quality of life across Indigenous communities by promoting wellness through a horticultural approach. This organization looks to promote health through a horticultural process that incorporates Indigenous knowledge to provide a culturally appropriate service within each Indigenous community. Our goal is to encourage the seven interdependent dimensions that formulate wellness; Emotional, Environmental, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, & Spiritual.

Projects:  Filled Fall 2021

  1. Categorize & Develop an Indigenous plant database
  2. Assist with developing geographical data to determine communities orientation
  3. Assist with the maintaining of cultivation systems


Kara Schuett

Yellow Sally

Female guide-inspired fly fishing clothing made specifically for women and girl anglers. All products are sold online using a print-on-demand platform. Not limited to clothing, Yellow Sally has accessories and home goods, all fly fishing inspired. Kara is  working on getting set up for wholesale and have had requests from people worldwide wanting to carry Yellow Sally products.

Projects Filled

  1. New designs and graphic design
  2. SEO
  3. Social media marketing
  4. Wholesale distribution
  5. Customer service/relations
  6. Social media manager

Afiavi caca Akibode

Calia Expertise

Calia Expertise specializes in the promotion of women entrepreneurs. Specifically, they help women to develop and market their companies by giving them technical support and advice anywhere from production, processing, and marketing. Afiavi is currently working with four women entrepreneurs that need help in community engagement, especially website design, and guidance to improve their social media visibility.

Projects: Filled Fall 2021

  1. Website designing
  2. Improve social media visibility (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms that can improve the visibility of their products and actions)


Audrey Hall

Audrey Hall Photography

Audrey Hall is a working artist and photographer. She makes one-of-a-kind pieces and editions while participating in commercial work, private and public commissions, and music. Hall, originally from Brazil, has traveled globally to study and practice her passions as an artist.

Projects: Filled

  1. Create a dedicated website for non-commercial photography endeavors
  2. As a part of this website, an e-commerce platform that can handle images that are "ready to wear" versus "couture, and can be drop-shipped."
  3. Create a robust campaign to move followers to subscribers. This includes setting up the infrastructure to organize subscribers based on interest.
  4. Organizing an album release/art campaign and event - helping to set up strategies to host, sell, track, and distribute products.
  5. Help develop a tool to track art, sales, and collectors, ways to build a long-lasting relationship with our customers.

Andrew Connor

The Center for Community Ownership & Crowdfund Montana

The Center for Community Ownership (CCO) provides legal, financial, and strategic expertise to communities investing in their own essential local businesses. The CCO helps communities meet their economic development goals while building real financial wealth locally by offering the technical support necessary to create community-owned for-profit businesses.

Crowdfund Mainstreet, is dedicated to businesses and organizations in Montana that want to raise capital. This new platform, allows regular people to invest in Montana and where businesses and organizations can crowdfund either debt or equity capital for their ventures.

Projects: Filled

  1. Marketing, publicity, PR, and outreach for the Crowdfund Montana
  2. Customer discovery research, deeply examine what makes investment crowdfunding attractive or unattractive to entrepreneurs/businesses.

Linda Lybert

Healthcare Surfaces Institute

Healthcare Surface Institute is a nonprofit organization focused on addressing the issue of surfaces within the healthcare setting. Their organization focuses on education, training, and recommendations for healthcare entities to reduce the rates of infection due to unclean surfaces. There are many aspects to preventing infections within the healthcare system, and the Institute has a clear understanding of them and how to move forward to address them.

Healthcare Surfaces Institute is looking for three interns; each will be assigned to an initiative group to do the following and support the team as they write test methods, guidelines, and standards.

Projects: Filled

  1. Develop surveys for collecting data and information
  2. Compile the data and support the team with writing comprehensive reports
  3. Support the Initiative groups with writing white papers or consensus papers