Rural-Urban Student and Entrepreneur Exchange

Moving Montana Forward by Uniting Rural and Urban Communities
and Building Entrepreneurial Spirit

Great Falls to White Sulphur Springs


Real life project-based learning in action, One Montana’s Rural-Urban Student and Entrepreneur Exchange addresses education, local entrepreneurship and economic development. With elements that include a high school student exchange, on site entrepreneur connections, project development and public speaking, this multi-day program provides entrepreneur and cultural education as well as creates a rural-urban network that contributes to economic development throughout Montana.

The Purpose of the Rural-Urban Student and Entrepreneur Exchange program is to:

  • develop entrepeneurial spirit and skills;
  • learn hands-on the fundamentals of business and organization development;
  • acquire knowledge of local business;
  • foster mentor support amongst students, business leaders and educators;
  • develop collaboration and leadership skills;
  • build a better understanding of rural and urban communities and networks; 
  • forge long lasting connections that can grow into future opportunities; and
  • create economic opportunities for students that live in or return to their community.

We are excited to expand this program to additional communities next year.  If you are interested in participating as a classroom or community, or would like to sponsor a student, school or exchange, please contact Bobbi Geise.



What Does Success Look Like?

We will know this program has succeeded when rural-urban exchange networks are standard across the state; when we see innovative businesses being developed by students who have gone through the program; when we see an increasing number of Montana students staying or returning to the state; when rural and urban businesses and educators develop further connections; and when the program is used as a model for replication in other parts of the country.


  • 2014-2015 Exchanges: Bozeman/Harlowton, Great Falls Paris Gibson Education Center/White Sulphur Springs, Billings Skyview/Forsyth and Billings West/St. Labre Indian School
  • 2013-2014 ExchangesBozeman/Harlowton, Great Falls/White Sulphur Springs, and Billings/Forsyth.
  • 2012-2013 Exchange (Pilot Program): Bozeman/Harlowton 




  “As a Superintendent and educator, I have lived and worked in rural Montana and know the challenges that members of these communities face. Finding employment, health care and transportation and maintaining schools, businesses and family farms are a daily challenge. A dialogue that explores ways to enhance the well-being of all Montana’s people is a great starting point.” 
- Kirk Miller, Executive Director, School Administrators of Montana

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!  The following organizations have helped to sponsor these exchanges:  

Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation      Student Assistance Foundation

Northwest Energy Community Works     Montana Chamber Foundation           Pleades Foundation

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund     Yellowstone Club Community Foundation     D.A. Davidson     Gaelectric     

Red Ants Pants      Triangle Communications