Hundreds of business leaders across the country gathered yesterday for the “On the Rise” Economic Summit, a pro-business bonanza organized by Sen. Steve Daines in Bozeman where they talked shop and shared the plan and opportunities for commercial expansion across the state, particularly in the tech industry.
‘Shark Tank’ investor Kevin O’Leary was the keynote speaker, and was one of many business leaders who announced plans to build new facilities and offices in the state, including a massive data center, explaining:
“The demand for data centers is insatiable. Montana has all the elements you need: good leadership, good policy, great regulatory environment and people that want to do business…(Data) IS the new oil, that’s what data is, more valuable than anything else..”
Explaining that “My job as an investor is to find the path of least resistance” he praised state leadership for being so accommodating:
“Funds flow to the path of least resistance. The dollar doesn’t vote — it just knows where to go. It’s coming here, to Montana, because of the good leadership in both the Senator and Governor and the lifestyle that’s amazing here. It’s a good place
…The thing is about these guys, I think people in this state know these guys ran businesses, they actually know what they’re talking about there. It’s very, very hard to find a politician that actually made payroll.”
, This echoes sentiments he previously said:
“As an investor, I’m always looking for states that have pro-business regulatory environments, competitive taxes and leadership, that wants to do business. Montana is starting to give Florida and Texas a run for their money. That’s why I’m here.”
One initiative that was announced at the event that saw representatives from META (Facebook) Hyundai, FICO, and Qualcomm speaking, is the construction of a 50-megawatt data center in Polson. This will collaboration between Bitzero, a green blockchain company O’Leary is invested in, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. It will use hydroelectric power from the Seli’s Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam in order to generate power for the company, which announced a major expansion in North Dakota.
Daines touted the deal, which came together in only a few months, as the type of business the state wants to be known for, noting:
“This new investment in the CSKT will support good-paying jobs in Montana, boost Montana’s economy and keep Montana at the forefront of the energy and technology sector.”