Montana Automation Loan Program

The Montana Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) Automation Loan Program is designed to assist Montana manufacturers who are seeking to automate or modernize their existing operations and enabling the upskilling of their current workforce.

Commerce will partner with an approved lender in a participation loan for equipment purchases. Commerce’s portion of the loan will be provided at 0.00% interest for up to 50% of the purchase price of the automation equipment, but not to exceed $500,000 with the option to defer the first year of loan payments. The maximum loan term for the program is five (5) years.

Registration Requirement – OKTA

OKTA account registration is required to access the guidelines and application for the Montana Automation Loan Program.

Guidelines and Application


Capital Investment Justification Report: The capital investment justification report will identify the cost of the equipment and identify the resulting annual savings and/or costs. Additionally, the capital investment justification will demonstrate the pay-back period and return on investment (ROI).

Eligible Activities: Purchase of automation equipment.

Eligible Business: Eligible applicants are Montana-based manufacturing businesses that are in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State or Tribal Government and the Montana Department of Revenue, and who derive at least 51% of their revenue from the sale of manufactured goods. These businesses must have been in operation in Montana for at least three years prior to the application. Businesses must not be debarred from doing business with the State or federal government.

Montana Manufacturing Extension Center: MMEC is a statewide manufacturing outreach and assistance center that provides solutions to help Montana manufacturers grow, innovate and enhance their businesses.

Performance Metrics: The proposed automation will need to demonstrate a payback period of less than five (5) years and an ROI of at least 20%.

Eligible Costs

The purchase and installation of production equipment that will result in a 20% ROI with a payback of at least five (5) years will be eligible. This will be supported through the Capital Investment Justification Report.

Loan Application Submittal Process

Commerce is the primary point of contact for initiating a loan application and working through the process leading to the loan closing.

The eligible business will submit an application to Commerce. Once the application is received, the businesses lender is identified, and a lender loan servicing agreement is signed, Commerce will contract with MMEC to complete an inspection and assist the business in completing the required Capital Investment Justification Report. The loan amount will be based on the firm costs contained in this report.

Receipt of an application does not imply a commitment for funding from Commerce. A review committee will review the applications for eligibility and suitability with State and program requirements.

Scoring and Ranking Criteria

Purchases that show an ROI of more than 30% will have the highest priority.


Eligible businesses may apply directly to the program. Please see the instructions on OKTA registration at the top of this page. Applications are only accepted here:
Guidelines and Application

Deadline for Application Submittal

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been obligated.


Patsy Rasch
Business Resource Partner