Announcement Of The 2022 Minnow Tank Winners

The Great Northern Development Corporation Small Business Development Center and the MDT Small Business Enterprise program would like to congratulate the 2022 Minnow Tank Business Plan Competition winners. Stephanie Smotherman, the BB Farms Soap Co (Garfield County) owner, was awarded the $5,000 prize in the start-up business category. Beth Conroy, the owner of Conroy Care (McCone County), won the $5,000 prize in the existing business category.

This seven county-wide competition ended with 12 small businesses competing in a live presentation pitch of how they would start or grow their already established businesses to a panel of judges in a Shark Tank-style competition. In addition to the judges' vote, the live audience had the opportunity to vote on their favorite business pitch. The Minnow Tank competition followed the Rise and Restore Small Business Summit held on April 12 in Sidney. "It is wonderful to see the passion and growth that is happening in our local communities for those who want to start and expand their businesses," says Quincy Walter, Small Business Development Center's Program coordinator. "This competition helps small businesses develop a business plan and allows them to see all the opportunities of resources that the Great Northern Development Corporation offers. It also demonstrates how many different programs can come together to support our rural small business entrepreneurs to lay the groundwork for their business to take off."

Great Northern Development Corporation (CRDC) is a certified regional economic development nonprofit that offers free business technical assistance and community development services to residents in northeast Montana. GNDC has been in the region for nearly 30 years and partners with local, state, and federal programs and services to support entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. GNDC also offers flexible lending programs to help meet the gap financing needs of local small businesses. Please visit for more information on these opportunities.

Minnow Tank - Small Business Start-Up winner bio:

BB Farms is unique because it offers many different products and will fill a hole in the local market for top-quality lamb meat. BB Farms goat milk lotion will compete not only in quality but also in price and customer service. Our products will be available locally, and for online sales, we will set up through our website. We will have fast shipping and professional customer service available for any questions.

Existing Business:

Conroy Care Assisted Living is a 10-bed Residential Assisted Living in Circle, and opened in April 2020. Beth Conroy is the owner and administrator of the home. She has been a registered nurse for 29 years and has always had a passion for the elderly population. Her husband, Michael is an electrician and together they oversee the day-to-day operations and caregiving of the home.

Rural Eastern Montana is a perfect setting for their business. There is no other home like this within a 100-mile radius of Circle and Conroy's prides itself on the family atmosphere of the home as well as the qualified, caring staff. The home has eight employees and the dollars made at Conroy Care are circulated right back into the local economy through wages and the "shop locally", mindset. Conroy Care's motto is "Our Family, Caring for Yours" and our tag line is "Be Close to Home". There is no need for our elderly population to leave their local community to find assisted living care elsewhere. Getting old is never easy but it can be approached with grace and dignity.


Reader Comments(0)