Funding Foundations

An Exclusive Learning and Funding Opportunity For Rural Women Business Owners


The number one issue facing the business community is access to capital- or simply getting funds to start or grow a business. University of Montana’s Rural Entrepreneurship And Leadership Co-Lab for Women (REAL Women Co-Lab) will research possible solutions for rural women who own a business or have an idea to start a business. REAL Women Co-Lab, with a generous grant from Wells Fargo and its partners Dakota Business Lending and Snowy Mountain Development, will kick off its research through an alternative funding pilot program.

*Scroll down to apply.*



If you live in a rural community in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, you need funds to start or grow your business, AND/OR: 

  • you’re unsure of how to go about getting money for your business, and/or
  • you’re wary of bank loans and/or taking on debt, and/or
  • you have applied for funding previously only to be rejected and/or
  • you’re using personal funds (credit card, savings, etc.) to finance your business, and/or
  • you just want an excuse to accelerate your idea, grow your business, or learn more about the financials of your business in an approachable way, this pilot is for you.


Learn the finance fundamentals in this one-time, six-week, pilot program to fund rural women’s ideas and grow existing businesses with the support of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Business Center, Dakota Business Lending, and Snowy Mountain Development. If you need funding to start or grow your business, participate in this program and you may qualify for up to $1000 at the start of the program. Upon completing the program and its learning requirements, you will earn a badge that fast-tracks you to a funder who will consider capital at terms that best meet your needs. 

  • 6 weeks of exclusive online course materials developed by the Rocky Mountain Women's Business Center
  • 1 digital kick-off event to meet other cohort members
  • 1 digital wrap-up event to celebrate your progress
  • 4 digital group sessions hosted by the Rocky Mountain Women's Business Center to discuss course materials
  • 6 one-on-one coaching sessions with a Rocky Mountain Women's Business Center Business Advisor
  • 2 one-on-one meetings with a funding expert from Dakota Business Lending
  • The opportunity to qualify for a loan of up to $1,000 at the beginning of the program
  • The potential to qualify for a larger loan at the end of the program
  • Connect with other rural women business owners!

Where and When?

All meetings will be held over Zoom and the course materials live in the Rocky Mountain WBC's exclusive online community.

Cohort 2: June 3 - July 12, 2024

  • Kickoff - June 7 (time TBD)
  • Group Meet Ups - 9:00-10:30am 
    • June 13
    • June 20
    • June 27
    • July 3 (WEDNESDAY)
  • Wrap-up event - The week of July 12 (time and day TBD)

In the application, participants will have the opportunity to select which cohort they would like to participate in.

Apply Below!