Compete Smart 2012
What are the Hot Seats? How Do I Sign Up?
Compete Smart 2012
Thursday, October 11th - Friday, October 12th, 2012
The HOT SEAT! is your opportunity to put an expert in the HOT SEAT!  that could help propel your business or open opportunities!!  Use the HOT SEAT! for  1-on-1 professional consultations -- FREE to anyone registered for the conference. These special consults are being made available by the Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) but cover even more than PTAC specialties.

How to Put an Expert in the HOT SEAT! for 15-minutes
You sign up on-site in the conference registration area at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center Rotunda on Oct 11 and 12. Select an available time/topic that fits your schedule with experts in Government Contracting (PTAC), Commercialization; FastTrack to Growth Planning; SBIR/SSTR (Small Business Innovative Research); Northwest Trade Adjustment assistance; Niche Marketing; Manufacturing Issues and more!.
Learn more in descriptions below to see what topic fits your needs and things you might think about before arriving.

Government Contracting HOT SEAT!
Getting Government Down to Business -- Is the government an appropriate market for your business. Opportunities abound if you understand the marketplace for federal, state and local government procurement needs, your readiness and needed tools for dealing with the world of government e-commerce.

Wondering what it takes to do business with the government?  You may want to consider the following questions before you put yourself in the HOT SEAT!

  • Does the government buy what I sell?
       How - when - where - how much?
  • Do I have the resources to effectively approach the government markets.
       Personnel - Capacity - Time - Money (cash flow) - supply chaining 
  • Will my product or service be competitive?
 The government is a big customer. Is it right for you? Sign up for 15-minute HOT SEATS! from several Montana PTAC (
Procurement Technical Assistance Center) experts and find out. 

High Velocity Growth Strategy HOT SEAT!

Take the Controls and Learn more about Fast Strategizing that Works

Your chance to put Todd Daniels or Bill Nicholson from MMEC in the HOT SEAT! for 15 minutes to explore tools that help you overcome barriers to growth and begin setting action plans that work.  

Commercialization HOT SEAT!

Change the Game with more leverage from your IP (Intellectual Property)

If you already have a company and are manufacturing, you may have some confidence about your commercial path. HOWEVER you may need to know more about options to PROPEL your business … You may want to consider putting Marti Elder, Inc. in the HOT SEAT! for 15 minutes.   Come explore some of these aspects: 

  • What about the commercialization of new products and lines?  
  • Do you just assume those will be handled the same as existing products?
  • What kinds of strategic alliances have you pursued in order to boost your existing business profile? 
  • Have you ever explored a service component under your manufacturing model? 
  • Does your company have intellectual property that isn’t being used, or that isn’t contributing to a profit center?
  • Does your intellectual property strategy fully take into account good practices for your trademarks, copyrights, patents, prototypes and know-how?
  • Are you committed to employee training on important confidentiality issues and the ownership and handling of company intellectual property assets? 

 …If you aren’t regularly scrutinizing your commercial planning and intellectual property strategy, you may be missing a trick!


SBIR/STTR HOT SEAT!  Assistance for funding new technology development 

Bringing Ideas to Reality

You have a good idea for an innovative new technology, product, or service, but don’t know how to get financing to develop it?   Forget about chasing Venture Capital (VC)!  Sign up for a 15-minute HOT SEAT! session with Ray Friesenhahn, TechLink, to see how you can improve your odds of success while keeping control of your own company. The SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and/or STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs from 11 federal agencies could help you bring that idea to reality:  

  • Each year, up to two dozen different Montana companies win a total of about $10 million in SBIR/STTR funding.  On average, only one company per year in Montana gets VC funding.
  • Montana has some of the best available SBIR/STTR assistance in the country, at no cost, and some of the best university scientists experienced in working with small businesses.
  • Companies getting SBIR/STTR funding range from brand new start-ups to established small businesses trying to diversify.  VC funding is more likely to go to companies with proven ideas and high growth potential.
  • With SBIR/STTR funding, there’s no payback or loss of equity.  With VC funding, you usually lose control of the company, may be forced to move out of state, and 50% of founders are forced out in the first year.
  • Odds of obtaining VC are as low as 1/1000.  With SBIR/STTR, odds are typically 1/8 - double that when working with university researchers and outside assistance.  

 Meet with Ray and discuss your idea in technical depth and in confidentiality; determine which agencies are most appropriate and how to best approach them, and what type of collaborations might increase your chances of success.  TechLink has helped client companies win over $110 million in SBIR/STTR funding from participating agencies, and also has unique in-depth ties to the Department of Defense. 


NWTAAC Trade Adjustment Grants HOT SEAT!

Opportunities for Assistance for U.S. Companies Impacted by Import Competition

Wondering if your business has been impacted by import competition and resources?   This HOT SEAT!  with Patrick Meuleman, NWTAAC, may answer some of your questions about how Trade Adjustment that might offset that impact.

Ask yourself:        

  • Has your business lost sales and employees because of foreign competition in the marketplace?
  • Are you looking for financial assistance to become more competitive against foreign competition?

 If the answers are yes, and you are looking for possible assistance to overcome impacts and how you can apply, NWTAAC can help. TAA can help pay for marketing, export assistance, employee training, website redesign, lean manufacturing, quality control certification and product or facility design, or other possible projects. 


Niche Marketing  HOT SEAT!
Deep Dive Questions to Reveal Areas You Can Work on to Innovate & Grow

Looking for ways to refine your marketing approach to better reach more lucrative niche markets; wonder if you need a Sales Department and Marketing? Want to explore how to differentiate your product or hone into "What's In It For Me" as your customers see it? Sign up to put Leesa Kennedy Nopper in a 15-minute HOT SEAT! to answer deep dive questions to learn more about developing new customers/new markets. Leesa  is a B2B Marketing Specialist with Department of Commerce & MMEC. She will be on hand at various times to share tips on refining your marketing tactics to reach appropriate markets, know when you're ready to take on new markets and how to attract more Most Valuable Customers. 

Manufacturing Issues Hot Seat!
Explore Your Bottlenecks, Pros and Cons of Incentives, and more

Need some candid conversation about manufacturing issues you have. Sign up for a 15-minute opportunity to put an MMEC Field Engineer in the HOT SEAT!