Greg Gianforte

Greg Gianforte CEO and Founder of RightNow Technologies was the day's keynote speaker

This year's Montana State University College of Business' Entrepreneur Day was again a great success. The event was held on Thursday, February 16 in the Strand Union Building.

High-school students from across the state and MSU students gathered to learn about the steps in becoming a successful business owner as well as the College's Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management minor. Then the students were invited to participate in a panel discussion with young entrepreneurs from the area.

Over the noon hour, students and the public at large were invited to hear Greg Gianforte of RightNow Technologies, as he presented the keynote address: Bootstrapping How to start and run a business with almost no money. Gianforte's presentation offered advice derived from his book similarly titled, Bootstrapping Your Business: Start And Grow a Successful Company With Almost No Money, which he coauthored with Marcus Gibson.

Dr. Renee Wachter, Associate Dean for the College of Business said, "Greg sent a powerful message that, regardless of the type of your startup, bootstrapping provides the means to get the business off the ground with minimal investment and funding. This strategy is particularly important as many banks will not fund ventures in the early stages."

The afternoon session was open to anyone interested in starting their own business and included many attendees from the general public. A new panel of established entrepreneurs offered discussion and insight regarding issues and concerns one faces when starting a new business.

Wachter said, "The day was highly successful. Students were able to listen to and ask questions of entrepreneurs who shared their expertise. Represented were a wide variety of companies, from the high-tech to the high touch. Members from the community were able to learn more from panelists about what it takes to jump start their idea, keep it going, and avoid many of the common pitfalls along the way. Overwhelmingly, the panelists sent a positive message that, in spite of the long hours and an occasional dark moment, the entrepreneurial journey was worth the personal and professional investment."

This year's panelists included: Benjamin Bennett of Massive Studios; Justin Bigart of Sage Spa; Gary Bloomer of TechRanch; Jennifer Boulden of Ideal Bite; Bridget Cavanaugh of O'Berry/Cavanaugh; Tracy Jette of Gallatin Development Corporation, Molly Mason of Bacterin International, Inc., Brian Metzger of Corporation, Daren Nordhagen who operates a home-based technology business, Paul Pahut of Mountain West Bank, NA., Josh Perkins of Justus Hip Hop Emporium, Jeff Riggs a Wheat Montana franchise owner, as well as Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies.