Under President Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, downtown Billings was able to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce of $2 million as the area qualifies as an Opportunity Zone.
Opportunity Zones are given grants in an attempt to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically distressed communities nationwide.
The Opportunity Zone for this project is the Montana National Bank located on 201 N Broadway. The bank will be renovated to house Rock 31 Connect Build and Grow which will provide technical assistance, skills training, hiring resources and more to those embarking on new business ventures.
"This is really designed for people who are taking a big risk and jumping into developing their product, their service any type of early stage high growth company know that this is a space you can come learn from our mentors, learn from our Rock 31 team and connect with like minded individuals," says Program Manager Kevin Scharfe.
Rock 31 is projected to foster nearly two dozen business startups which are expected to create 95 jobs and generate $6.6 million in private investment which would bring change to the community.
Big Sky E.D.A. Executive Director Steve Arveschoug says " it gives the community a vibrancy that's important to attract talent and new private investment in our community. It can be a platform for exciting new economic growth and we all benefit from new economic growth in our community."
Arveschoug says the plan is to have Rock 31 opening their doors to entrepreneurs within the next 18 months.