Montana Women: Key Players in the Startup World


I struggle every day with intensity.   All in, push to the goal line has always been my style.  That’s not a good style for aging so I am trying hard to be more focused, stay on task and eventually get the job done.  However, that doesn’t mean my passion for whatever I do is diminished, it just manifests itself differently.  In slowing down, I have learned to stop and relish those moments of breakthrough success.

This has been a special week.  On Wednesday, the Montana Women’s Foundation convened a Webinar, hosted by Diane Smith,  “Entrepreneurship 101.”  Sarah Calhoun, Dawn McKee, Paul Gladden and myself were the panelists.  All of us run our own business ventures.  We had more than 50 women around the state participate.  We keep proving up that geography is not a constraint for building networks and relationships that move us forward economically.

We had a great discussion about business.  We all agreed that to be an entrepreneur is both a curse and a blessing, it’s always hard work but if you are wired that way, you probably are going to have to scratch that itch.  If you are interested the webinar is recorded and available online. We will do more of these.  If you are interested in joining the virtual community of women who are engaged in entrepreneurship, go to Facebook and jump on Startup Women Montana.  It’s already populated with great info.

FroniterAngel2_MtnsThere is no constraint to joining the Startup Planet, Nation, Montana phenomenon.  Business is making lives better around the world.  If we can figure out how to make friends in Opine and Two Dot, we can probably figure out how to sell to Yangon and Delhi.

Because of my role in Frontier Angel Fund 2, I was invited by Circle Up (a new crowd funding platform that focuses on consumer products) to participate in a webinar with Joanne  Wilson, Gotham Gal and pioneer woman angel investor in NYC.  Circle Up, in my opinion, is in the top tier of crowd funding sites.  More than 50% of the companies they put out for funding are women founded.  This was a national call of angel investors but only had 30 participants.  (Interesting numbers comparison to our Montana call).  Joanne is a seasoned professional and shared many of the same insights we discuss on our call today.

One comment really stood out for me today.  The moderator (who wasn’t nearly as good as Diane) asked if there were unique mistakes that women entrepreneurs make.  The answer was, “NO and I don’t ‘think that is a relevant question; everyone makes mistakes and they should.  Business is not perfection vertical.  She says, we won’t be asking that question after this generation.

So stay focused, stay sane by networking and remember that your life is probably on the other side of your fears.


Liz-MarchiLiz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana  with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild.  She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go into overtime.