Big Sky Economic Development 2022 Annual Meeting and Rock31 & BSED Grand Opening Celebration Recap

Thank you to all who attended the 2022 Big Sky Economic Development Annual Meeting and Rock31 and BSED Grand Opening Celebration!
The Annual Meeting took place at the Babcock Theatre and featured keynote speaker Chris Nelson, Founder & CEO of Zoot Enterprises.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony outside of 201 North Broadway, attendees were greeted with a gift of either a carnation or cigar, which were handed out to guests at the Grand Openings of the Montana National Bank Building in 1918 and the expansion in 1952. During the open house the second floor training room was dedicated to Chris Nelson and officially named the Zoot Training and Event Space. Guests enjoyed beverages provided by The Pub Station and appetizers provided by the Kitchen-Man as they explored the new BSED Building and Rock31 spaces.
Thank you to our partners: Cushing TerrellT.W. Clark Construction, LLCPeterson Quality Office360 Office SolutionsDowntown Billings, and so many others for all that you did to make this project possible!
We are so excited to begin this new Era of Big Sky Economic Development and Rock31.
We invite you to come see us at our new home, 201 N Broadway!
Let’s Build Remarkable, Together!

Interested in Joining the Rock31 Community?

Rock31 is Billings’ only creatively inspired coworking space that offers a range of customizable membership tiers, amenities and resources that are as unique and valuable as your entrepreneurial spirit and ambitions – for any business and at every stage of career development. Whether you’re looking for a day pass walk-in, reserving a workspace by the month (or longer) or looking for the convenience of a ‘virtual’ office location – Rock31 is your business accelerator and coworking space.

Learn More About Booking a Training Space or Conference Room!
Don’t need a Rock31 membership but wish you had options to host meetings or present to clients? Our collaboration spaces can accommodate groups of all sizes and are perfect for brainstorming with colleagues, impressing clients, holding productive training sessions, Zoom conferencing and more.
Upscale and understated, collaboration and presentations will take on new meaning in any of Rock31’s fully equipped huddle, conference or training rooms.

A note from our Executive Director –

Inc. Business did a series of articles on what it would take for the post-coivd economy to thrive. “We regrow America’s economy by unleashing our entrepreneurial energy. And we start wherever we are. Connect people, break barriers, and homegrown businesses will raise.” (Sept. 2021)

This may indeed be a formula for economic growth coming out of covid, but it is not a new discovery. In fact, that same prescription was launched 104 years ago at this very location in Billings, Montana. John Clay and Frank Connor founded a bank in Billings in 1912 and in 1917 the bank was federally rechartered as the Montana National Bank. They then constructed this beautiful building as Billings’ first place exclusively for banking. The goal—invest in business and economic future of Billings. That sounds like supporting entrepreneurship.

Today we mark the opening of Rock31 and he BSED headquarters. It is a construction project that you’ve seen and lived with over the last 14 months, but this work actually began years ago when the BSED team sought ways to diversify our economy and attract innovative, new business growth. Billings has always been noted for its very successful, homegrown businesses so the natural first step was to lean into what is our natural strengthen—entrepreneurs.

BSED has three decades of experience helping businesses start and grow—advising and lending for small businesses through multiple programs. That experience and our passion to do more, be proactive, and better engage entrepreneurs fueled our journey to today. You could argue that Billings isn’t the ideal place to grow innovative startups. We’re not necessarily a tech hub or home to a research university. Well, maybe I was too naïve or real stubborn, but we were not willing to accept those limitations. Billings is Montana’s economic engine and we are home to some of the most successful startup companies in the state. So, get out of our way. We’re going to drive more business growth by supporting entrepreneurs in a unique and dynamic way. A way we call Rock31.

All of the team members of Big Sky Economic Development and many of you in the audience have had a direct or indirect hand in the work that was necessary to redevelop this important place. Thank you! Your dedication to this community through you work at BSED is extraordinary.

So, if you ask why we bought this iconic building and turned it into a center for entrepreneurship and a resource for business growth, the answer is simple we want to see our community growth from the inside out by supporting the dreams and passions of entrepreneurs. The same passion that opened this building 104 years ago.

Thank you.

Steve Arveschoug