Top 10 – 3/29/2020

Normont Equipment’s new building on 9th Avenue NW in Great Falls has gone vertical!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 27 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle!

1) Congratulations to Jamie Cole Foster who will be opening Foster’s Farmacy in Choteau on April 7th. In spite of the coronavirus crisis, this entrepreneur is taking the leap to start her business to be part of the solution in the food supply chain in rural Montana. Foster’s Farmacy is a natural grocer, filling the void left following the closure of Mountain Front Market. Jamie utilized our LivePlan business planning software, our Small Business Development Center, and our Food and Ag Development Center during her planning. Foster’s Farmacy’s press release announcement can be found on their Facebook page along with photos of the renovation of the building they’re purchasing at 714 Main Avenue North in Choteau. Read more in the Choteau Acantha.

2) For COVID-related business resources and ideas, visit the Disaster Toolkit section of our website. We will continue to send our blasts and social media posts as more resource information becomes available. Please share with us any good resources you come across so that we can share with businesses throughout the region. We continued to make outreach calls to businesses throughout the region to check on how they are navigating the crisis and see if they need help.

3) Congress passed the CARES Act and the President has signed the bill. It will take sometime, hopefully very short, for many of the details to be worked out. We’ll share the business aspects as various agencies roll out resources. The US Chamber put together a pretty good summary of the act.

4) If your business needs immediate cash to get through this crisis, and you do not have the resources, turn to your bank first. If they can’t help you yet, we may be able to help. Contact Jolene at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-4481. Existing GFDA or High Plains Financial borrowers contact Jill at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056. We will use every resource we can get to help previously profitable companies in the Golden Triangle survive this crisis and prosper long-term.

5) Our business coaches are working night and day to help with business strategies. Contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-0314, or Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-2078. Food and Ag businesses, contact Barnett at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-3285. If you are having issues with government contracts, contact Shannon at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1184.

6) NorMont Equipment is working on their new building located at 2101 9th Avenue NW in Great Falls. The 12,000 structure is scheduled to open later this spring. They are moving from their 3,500 square foot space which will enable them to hire more employees and greatly expand their business. You can see a 360 degree video of the progress on the new building here.

7) Over 60 businesses joined us for Retail/Restaurant and Downtown Peer Virtual Meet Ups. Entrepreneurs voiced concerns about supply chain disruption, employees safety, financial well being, business continuity, and debt.

8) Congratulations to Father Oliver Doyle on being named President of the University of Providence this week! See TheElectricGF.com.

9) Presented a webinar titled, Marketing, Communications, and Sales During the COVID-19 Crisis. Click here to watch the webinar. Our next webinar, Prepare for Government Contracting During COVID-19, will be this Friday, April 3, 11:00-11:30 AM. We will give business owners guidance on how to prepare to do business with government agencies during the COVID-19 crisis. Register here.

10) If you would like a Kids Education lawn sign put up in your yard at home and/or business to show support for the Great Falls Public Schools elementary school levy, please email me, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. If you have time to make get-out-the-vote phone calls, sign up at KidsEducationYes.com.

11) Congratulations to the organizations in our region who won grants from the Montana History Foundation including the J.C. Adams Stone Barn in Sun River, the Cascade County Historical Society (the History Museum) and the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, the Fort Benton Community Improvement Association (I.G. Baker House), the Central Montana Metis Oral History Project (Snowy Mountain Development) in Lewistown, the Glacier County Historical Museum in Cut Bank, the Old Trail Museum in Choteau, and the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum! See Great Falls Tribune and TheElectricGF.com.

12) Golden Triangle Resource Providers gathered virtually to share tools and resources to help businesses. We’ll be meeting again this week as the tools and resources available are changing dramatically. If you are a business resource provider in the Golden Triangle, join us! Call or email Jolene 406-750-4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) Business Insider ranked Montana as the 5th best financially prepared state for a recession; see article here.

14) Concerns about Supply Chain Disruption? Join other businesses for a Supply Chain Disruption Virtual Meet Up, Tuesday, March 31, 2 PM; register here. We want to hear from businesses across the Golden Triangle whose supply chain has been disrupted and what you’re doing about it. We’d like to hear from you in advance. Contact Barnett at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Share with and learn from other small businesses at a Small Business Virtual Meet Up, Wednesday, April 1, 2 PM; register here.This is a peer to peer discussion for small businesses across the Golden Triangle. Our business situation is changing daily. What is of most concern to your business right now and for your continued operations. We’ll have Coaches on the line and encourage you to submit questions in advance to Jolene at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

16) Do you provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs across the Golden Triangle? We’re holding another Resource Partner Meet Up on Thursday, April 2, 2 PM; register here. This Zoom meet up is for our resource partners across the Golden Triangle who provide assistance to entrepreneurs to share knowledge and best practices.

17) We are still moving ahead with brownfield assessments and cleanups for redevelopment projects. Did some research for a potential property owner to clarify status on a property that once had a leaking underground storage. We were able to confirm with our partners at MT DEQ that the tank was removed, and they received a no-further corrective action letter. The potential purchaser was happy that we were able to update him on the positive outcome. Do you have questions on a site or building? Contact Lillian before you purchase to see how we can help; LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-1253.

18) Keeping in touch and hearing about projects is crucial for GFDA Investors and future investors. Join us this Friday, April 3rd at 7:00 AM for Virtual Development Coffee. This meeting will be conducted via Zoom. Look for the invitation in your email this week. If you have any questions about Development Coffee, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. We cannot wait to see you!

19) Early Stage Montana is offering Virtual Mentorships to Tech-Leveraged Businesses. Innovative ideas and a strong workforce keep Montana moving forward. In uncertain times, it’s important to seek advice from experienced mentors. That’s why Early Stage MT is offering virtual training to Montana’s tech entrepreneurs. Please visit www.earlystagemt.org to submit a request for mentorship.

20) Montana’s representation and federal funding is determined by our population. Typically by this point the Census should be over 50% complete. Unfortunately we are at less than 25% complete in Montana. Please take a moment to complete the Census. You can do it online at www.2020census.gov or via telephone, 844-330-2020.

21) The Montana Nonprofit Association is offering a series of Virtual Town Halls this week every day at 2:00 PM, Q & A with Congressman Gianforte on Monday, Navigating Federal Relief on Tuesday, Applying for SBA Loans on Wednesday, Concrete Steps to Stabilize Your Fundraising Platforms on Thursday, and State of the Sector — End of Week Wrap Up on Friday. Register here.

22) We received proposals from seven consulting firms across the country to provide lead generation services to boost our business attraction efforts. We issued the RFP before the current crisis. Many companies will be changing their strategies and supply chains in response to current events which may create opportunities for the Great Falls and the Golden Triangle.

23) It’s time to innovate! The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a DOD SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Virtual Proposal Lab on April 7 from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM. Register here. Contact Ann Peterson at the MSU Techlink Center for more info, 406-994-7788 or techlinksbir@montana.edu.

24) GFDA’s Executive Committee held a special virtual meeting during which it approved our applying to several public agencies and banks for a significant amount of additional loan capital to meet the gap and bridge financing needs of companies in the region.

25) JobsEQ released preliminary economic data for 2019Q4. Total wages in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) grew by $52 million in 2019. Average wages were up 3.1%, above the inflation rate of 2.3%. The average annual wage increased $1,096 during the year, reaching $42,262.

26) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, North 40 Outfitters for their Leadership Division investment, and Cascade Electric and Tyree Investment Group for their Community Division investments. With so much uncertainty in the coming weeks, know that our team is working diligently to maximize your investment. Whether it is through virtual meetups, tailored to suit company business needs, crisis toolkits, or individualized consulting, GFDA is here for businesses. To continue discussing how an investment works in times like this, or to talk about your investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406. 781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

27) USDA is seeking applications for grants to make housing repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents. The grants are being provided through USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant program. Eligible applicants include town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations. USDA does not provide funding directly to individual homeowners under this program. For additional eligibility information, see Federal Register. Applications are due by 5:00 PM MST on May 7. More info at USDA Montana state office.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Take care,

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.

Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

 

“God bless perseverance. Because it’s not easy.”

Junot Diaz

Support Local Education!

The Great Falls Development Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy. Join us in supporting the critical efforts of Kids Education Yes!

GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-50,000+ with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Economic Development Services

See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

March SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.878%; 20-year at 2.804%; 25-year refinance at 2.88% and 20-year refinance at 2.806%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

Protect Your Business An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute of Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying risks relevant to your location both natural and man-made. Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. Potential flooding is a genuine concern in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2020. Participate in this webinar to find out the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and where to get aid if disaster strikes. SBA is offering a webinar to help you prepare, It’s Your Small Business, Protect It! on Mar 31, 2020 11:00 AM MDT. Register here.

We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

All of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.

Top 10 – 3/22/2020

Rendering of upcoming Dental Clinic expansion at Great Falls College MSU. The college is also a leader in online courses.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 15 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy! I’ll start out with a couple pieces of good news.

1) Congratulations to our fifth and final Fire Within Aspire winner Melissa Dascoulias, owner of the Descoulias Realty Group! See the surprise video here. Aspire winners are women who started younger businesses that show great promise. There are so many incredible female entrepreneurs in our region that we just couldn’t limit the awards to one in each category. Learn more about all our Inspire and Aspire winners by checking out The Fire Within Facebook page to keep up with all the latest in female entrepreneurship within our region. We’ve postponed the celebration and networking event, but will let you know when it’s rescheduled. Thank you to Embark Credit Union for sponsoring the 10th Annual Fire Within!

2) Congratulations to Grace Carr, a student at C.M. Russell High School, on winning Montana Journalist of the Year from the Journalism Education Association!

3) Ok, now to the challenge at hand. First, THANK YOU to the businesses, non-profits, public agencies, volunteers and neighbors who have stepped up and shown their true colors!!! Most importantly, THANK YOU to all the workers who have kept our communities and health care services running smoothly!!!

4) Support the businesses in our communities who have supported you year in and year out! Now more than ever, local businesses in Great Falls and throughout Montana need your support. Many restaurants are offering drive-through, take-out, delivery, and curb-side service. If you’d prefer, pre-purchase a gift card to be picked at a later date to keep these businesses going. And, if you can afford to, now is a great time for BIG TIPS and purchases.

5) We published a Crisis Tool Kit for Businesses with some ideas to help get through. Here is a PDF of the Tool Kit. We keep adding resources to a special section we created on our website. As of last night, all counties in Montana are now eligible for SBA Disaster loans. Here is a SBA Flyer from the Montana District Office about the loans. We have loan funds available and are working to roll out an emergency micro loan product in the next couple of days. If you need help, call, text or email me anytime; Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org, or just respond to this email or connect with any of our team members.

6) 280 business people participated in our live webinar on Friday that we called Business Crisis Toolkit – Control What You Can. We’ve shared this statewide presentation, a special addition to our ongoing small business webinar series, with other states through the national Association of Small Business Development Centers. Stay tuned to our ongoing efforts to help businesses navigate through at https://growgreatfallsmontana.org/covid-19-response/ and keep sharing great ideas and resources you come across.

7) Some businesses are set up to transition to sell online/takeout/delivery, and some are not. We’re hosting an online Downtown Business Forum for restaurants, bars and retailers this Wednesday at 2:00 PM to share best practices and help each other thrive. We’ll hear from boutique shops that have added to Facebook and Instagram shopping, restaurants that are offering family meals for take out, and unique gift card promotions. We’re in this together! Register here. Contact Christian Leinhauser with questions or for assistance, 406-836-0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) We’ll be offering more online brainstorming and idea sharing webinars and digital group chats. And, our business advisers can help with your strategy and marketing to get through this. Contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-2078.

9) Our team started making phone calls to over 400 business across the Golden Triangle of North Central Montana to check on how they are coping with this extraordinary challenge. We are here to listen and help. Our fear is that a business that needs help won’t know where to turn. We know there’s more than 400 businesses in the Golden Triangle, help us reach out. Please share our contact information widely and freely. Questions, call Jolene at 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Businesses are mobilizing quickly to meet the new working environment, offering family meals to GO, brunch to GO, painting kits to GO, Facebook boutique stores for downtown shopping from your living room, and more! We’re empowered by the caliber of entrepreneurs in our region and the customers rallying to support them. We’re celebrating these innovations in hopes that others will be inspired. Watch for more tools resources, and events to help connect our communities. BUT the only way this works is if people know about it. So please share our Top Ten and if you don’t receive it weekly sign up: https://growgreatfallsmontana.org/top-10-sign-up/

10) We closed a loan package totaling $280,000 to Talcott Properties, LLC to support continued development of West Bank Landing. Our financing helped leverage an additional $920,000 of private funding. We issued a loan commitment of $214,647 to Andrews-Bundtrock Holdings, LLC for environmental cleanup of their property located just outside the 2nd Avenue North entrance to Malmstrom AFB. The EPA Brownfield loan funds will provide the client low interest funding that will get the property ready for redevelopment. If you want to discuss different options that GFDA may be able to provide, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Call for amazing photographs! We are working on a new talent attraction website to pitch the Great Falls region. We need high-quality photography of Great Falls and the entire Golden Triangle (in summer and winter). If you can contribute or know of someone who can, contact Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0147.

12) Do you have a site sitting vacant or stalled due to the lack of resources to clean up hazardous materials? We have Brownfields Clean Up funds available to be put to use on your project. Lillian has been receiving many inquiries on potential projects and was able to start the process on one site in downtown Great Falls. If you have questions or want to know if your site is eligible, contact her at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-1253.

13) Thanks to this week’s Investor’s in Economic Development, BNSF Railway for their Leadership Division investment and Montana Milling for their Community Division investment. We are putting your investment to work to help businesses weather this extraordinary event. Reach out to GFDA if you have questions about your investment by contacting Teresa at 406.781.9499.

14) We urge you to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary operating levy. Now it’s more important than ever. We have Kids Education Yes lawn signs, posters and flyers in our office available for pick-up (and outside our office door — 2nd floor of The portage Building at West Bank Landing, the PayneWest office building next two The Peak at West Bank Landing and Five on Black; 405 3rd Street NW). KEY needs volunteers to make phone calls and help in get out the vote efforts, and of course donations.

15) January labor statistics were published by the Montana Department of Labor. We were at 4.2% unemployment and showed growth in both number of employed and size of our overall labor force from the previous January. We will get through this crisis, get back to those numbers, and work together to make them even better.

Every single business in the Golden Triangle is important. Please help get the word out to every business owner and manager that our team is hard at work and eager to help in any way we can.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Take care,

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Every new situation requires new strategy.”
Lailah Gifty Akita

Support Local Education!

The Great Falls Development Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy. Join us in supporting the critical efforts of Kids Education Yes!

GFDA Career Opportunity — Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-50,000+ with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Economic Development Services

See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

March SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.878%; 20-year at 2.804%; 25-year refinance at 2.88% and 20-year refinance at 2.806%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

Protect Your Business An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute of Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying risks relevant to your location both natural and man-made. Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. Potential flooding is a genuine concern in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2020. Participate in this webinar to find out the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and where to get aid if disaster strikes. SBA is offering a webinar to help you prepare, It’s Your Small Business, Protect It! on Mar 31, 2020 11:00 AM MDT. Register here.

We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

All of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.

Top 10 – 3/15/2020

A beautiful look at tranquil Giant Springs courtesy of Great Falls Tourism.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 14 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy!

It has been quite a week for everyone. GFDA has postponed or switched to virtual our meetings, trainings and events through the end of March as we see how things develop. If your business needs help, please let me know. Working together is our strength. It’s what makes Montana, Montana.

1) Congratulations to our Fire Within Inspire and Aspire winners who have demonstrated exceptional excellence in entrepreneurship! Inspire winners are women who created successful businesses that have excelled in the test of time. Aspire winners are women who started younger businesses that show great promise. There are so many incredible female entrepreneurs in our region that we just couldn’t limit the awards to one in each category. Learn more about them and click on the surprise reveals below.

Inspire Winners: Erin Schermele Merchant (Erin Schermele Films); Amber Hofstand (Windrift Hill); and, Vanessa Bucklin (PCI Conrad Insurance).

Aspire Winners: Tara Beam (Roadhouse Diner); Hallie Thompson (Wholesome Hal’s); Candice English (The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers); and, Ashley Wilkinson (Fetch). We have one more winner to announce on Monday. Be sure to like The Fire Within Facebook page to keep up with all the latest in female entrepreneurship within our region!

Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, GFDA and Embark Credit Union made the difficult decision to postpone The 10th Annual Fire Within previously scheduled for Thursday, March 26. Read the announcement here. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for the new date.

2) Networked with dozens of consultants at the Site Selectors Guild annual conference. We hosted a panel on strategies for rural communities to further engage site selection consultants. Site selectors discussed having available sites and shovel ready land (such as the BNSF-certified Great Falls AgriTech Park), messaging and relationship building (like being present and accessible) and gave several examples of communities that were fast and nimble with permitting processes. Congratulations to Jolene on winning the conference talent show (and free registration for next year’s event)!

3) Prior to the Site Selection Guild conference, co-hosted a lunch with several Montana economic development organizations for Atlanta-based site selection consultants. Great to partner with Montanans to pitch our wonderful state!

4) Great Falls made ChamberofCommerce.org’s 2020 list of Best Small Cities for Business for the second year in a row!

5) Twenty-five active duty military, veterans, and military spouses joined us for our first Boots to Business workshop of 2020. All of GFDA’s upcoming, in-person training events are being postponed as a precaution related to concerns over the coronavirus. This includes our March 18th Digital Marketing Strategies workshop, the second day of our Profit Mastery workshop on March 27th, and Jason’s presentation at the April 1-2 Small Business Summit hosted by the Department of Transportation’s DBE program. Please reach out to Jason with questions about modifications to upcoming trainings via email at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) Many of the Western Art Week activities have been postponed, but they’ll be back stronger than ever! The arts are an important industry for Great Falls and our entire trade area. KRTV ran a great story about local artist Tom Dean.

7) We urge you to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary operating levy. We have Kids Education Yes lawn signs, posters and flyers in our office available for pick-up. KEY needs volunteers to make phone calls and help in get out the vote efforts, and of course donations.

8) The Crafter’s Lounge opened in Great Falls at 724 6th Street NW, see KRTV.

9) Lillian and Shannon participated in the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers’ spring training event, learning about new opportunities for local businesses to win more government contracts.

10) Jolene participated in the review and re-accreditation visit for the economic development team in Asheville, North Carolina. GFDA is proud to be the first accredited economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West and both Brett and Jolene engage in the peer review process of leading-edge economic development organizations. These visits are insightful as we get to learn the future best practices from the top tier economic development organizations.

11) The Cut Bank Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event to help determine the feasibility of a co-working space in Cut Bank. The informal event is scheduled for Tuesday March 24th, 2020  from 5:30-7:00 PM at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery. The Chamber has created a Facebook event for the meeting.

12) 3 Rivers Communications announced that their $4.5 million project to upgrade the City of Choteau’s telephone and internet cables from copper to fiber optics should be completed by August.

13) We joined the Montana Nonprofit Association.

14) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, TC Glass, for their Pacesetter Division investment, Falcon, Lester, & Schaff, P.C., Alanna Ballard, and Midway Rental for their Community Division investments, and Schnider Funeral Home for their Supporter Division investment. With your support, we continue to provide businesses with resources, support, and access to capital in ways that would not otherwise occur. GFDA continues to help create economic opportunities, improving the quality of life throughout North Central Montana. If you want to be part of GFDA’s mission, contact Teresa Schreiner at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.781.9499.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
Walt Whitman

Support Local Education!

The Great Falls Development Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy. Join us in supporting the critical efforts of Kids Education Yes!

GFDA Career Opportunity

We have a great job opportunity! Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-50,000+ with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Economic Development Services

See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

March SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.878%; 20-year at 2.804%; 25-year refinance at 2.88% and 20-year refinance at 2.806%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

Protect Your Business An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute of Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying risks relevant to your location both natural and man-made. Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. Potential flooding is a genuine concern in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2020. Participate in this webinar to find out the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and where to get aid if disaster strikes. SBA is offering a webinar to help you prepare, It’s Your Small Business, Protect It! on Mar 31, 2020 11:00 AM MDT. Register here.

The Downtown Development Partnership signed up for the 2020 National Main Street Center’s Advanced Principles webinar series. These will be available for viewing at the BID/DGFA Downtown office. Next up, Economic Vitality for downtowns, March 17, 24, and 31, from 12:00-1:30 PM. Contact Kellie Pierce at the Downtown Great Falls Association if you would like to participate, info@downtowngreatfalls.net.

We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

Malmstrom AFB will be hosting their second Career and Education Pathway Fair on March 19, 2020 from 2:30-5:30 PM. The focus is military members and military spouses as well as military members/families who will be transitioning out of the military — providing information on how to pursue careers i.e. required education, certification, or how to utilize the resources you offer. The event includes a hiring fair for businesses/companies that have open positions. This will be open Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserve, DoD Civilian, and dependents. For any questions, call Carmen Kubiak at (406) 731-3060 or email carmen.kubiak.1@us.af.mil.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies. They are offering an excellent Lean Principles 101 introduction to lean manufacturing in Great Falls on March 26. Download flyer here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

All of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.

Mark your calendar for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Recreation, April 26-28 in Billings.

The Fire Within – POSTPONED

Dear Fire Within Registrants,

Every year, Great Falls Development Authority and Embark Credit Union look forward to connecting with our community of female entrepreneurs at The Fire Within. But given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone The 10th Annual Fire Within previously scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 2020.

This was a tough call to make — The Fire Within is an incredibly important event for both our organizations, and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate the Golden Triangle’s incredible community of female entrepreneurs — but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our community, partners, employees and everyone else who helps to put this event on.

We remain committed to celebrating female entrepreneurship within the Golden Triangle, and are currently working on securing an alternate date. We will notify all registrants when a future date is secured. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding — and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Top 10 – 3/8/2020

Big Sky Select Properties announced the Northern Lofts development of 18 beautiful new loft apartments under construction in downtown Great Falls above Mighty Mo Brew Pub! See TheElectricGF.com and KRTV.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy!

1) Walmart is investing $2.5 million in renovations to its older store in Great Falls. The Great Falls Tribune ran a great story about The Gibson boutique hotel development downtown. Great Falls Tourism posted the plans for new events facilities at the Montana ExpoPark. Amy’s Morning Perk has opened its new location in the new west side North 40 Outfitters amazing store.

2) We will be announcing the next Aspire and Inspire winners this week! Make sure you follow The Fire Within on Facebook and register for the event on March 26th! The event is free thanks to Embark Credit Union, but an RSVP is required!

3) Vote May 5 for Great Falls Public Schools! The Kids Education Yes campaign kick-off rally was an overflow crowd with a lot of enthusiasm for supporting a strong community; see Tribune. Our Board, the Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Great Falls, and many other organizations have endorsed support for the elementary schools operating levy and encourage their members and the entire community to do the same. Questions? Call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

4) We issued a loan commitment this week to Talcott Properties, LLC which will enable the continued development in the next phase of West Bank Landing. Many thanks to our lending partner Randy Williams at Stockman Bank for being such a business friendly lender! If your business needs assistance with financing to start or expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Congratulations to GFDA Board member Collette Hanson on being named President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana! See KRTV.

6) Fourteen Great Falls employer recruiters participated in our first Recruitment Roundtable on Tuesday. The peer-to-peer conversation centered on best practices to attract people to Great Falls, how local resources can assist in doing so, and thinking about what tools could be useful for recruiters/HR Directors to help their out-of-state recruitment efforts. Contact Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org to be included on future communications about GFDA’s Talent Attraction efforts.

7) The new Portage Supper Club held a soft opening March 3rd in the old Eddie’s Supper Club location on the corner of 38th Street and 2nd Avenue North in Great Falls, see KRTV. Owners Dale and Boungyob Yonkin, also owners of Best Sushi and Montana Sub Shop, utilized GFDA’s Brownfields program to assess the environmental status of the property prior to purchasing. The Yonkin’s have the bar and casino open now and are serving Montana Sub Shop sandwiches until renovations are completed. Their goal is to have the full restaurant open by May. Congratulations to the Yonkin’s for redeveloping and reopening a vacant property!

8) From employees to owners! One of our SBA 504 loans helped two women entrepreneurs begin their journey and Great Falls to retain a great local business. Click here to read more about this great success story. Effective interest rates for March came in at 2.878% for the 25-year term, 2.804% for the 20-year term, and the 10-year term came in at 2.839%. The SBA even offers a business debt refinance loan with 25-year rates at 2.880% and 20-year rates at 2.806%. Contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to get started on your SBA 504 loan today!

9) Traveled to Salt Lake City to meet with developers, brokers and retailers at an International Council of Shopping Centers event. In September, GFDA’s Board approved Five New Initiatives, all of which we have successfully launched. Thank you to our investors and partners who made this possible! On Thursday, our Board approved our Next Five Potential New Initiatives which are contingent on securing funding support from investors and partners. We’ve already started work on finding the funds. We are HUNGRY to grow our 13-county regional economy, and support the creation of higher wage jobs and improved quality of life for everyone!

10) Congratulations to Folk Lore Coffee on the opening of their newest coffee shop in Valier. Folklore Valier is the third location for Folklore following Conrad and Whitefish. The new Valier location has served both as the original bank and post office of the community and is full of character. Folklore is also currently working on its newest project which will be a store in Missoula opening in June.

11) Eight prospective entrepreneurs – including one over the internet – joined us for our monthly pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint. Eight more people participated in our monthly webinar, Three Steps to Profitable Growth. Five more training events are coming up over the next month. We’re now taking registrations for QuickBooks on April 3rd. March 13th is the deadline to register for Digital Marketing Strategies coming up on March 18th. For all of our upcoming events click here.

12) The City of Cut Bank has won over $350,000 in grants and $500,000 in loan forgiveness for infrastructure projects within the city, see Cut Bank Pioneer Press. Congratulations to everyone working on downtown Havre for earning designation as an affiliate of the Montana Main Street program!

13) The Great Falls PTAC presented an “Introduction to Government Contracting” in Havre this week to help small businesses on the Highline find bid opportunities with Federal Agencies in their area. To find out about upcoming training or how PTAC can help you navigate the Federal Contracting world, give Shannon Clancy a call at (406) 590-1184 or send her an email at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) Congratulations to the Celtic Cowboy on being recognized by Delish.com as the best Irish pub in Montana!

15) Join us at GFDA on March 19th at 12:00 for a webinar on Revitalization through Downtown Development Districts. For questions about the webinar, or to discuss any potential Downtown projects, please call Christian at 406.836.0136 or email at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

16) The Montana Cooperative Development Center and the Montana Council of Cooperatives are hosting the Montana Cooperative Summit in Great Falls on April 7-9.
The Montana Nonprofit Association is offering two workshops in Great Falls next month. A free Introduction to Nonprofit Boards on April 7th from 5:30-7:30 PM, and a day long Nonprofit Board Leadership and Stewardship on April 8th from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM.

17) Did you know that if your company plans to do business with the government, cybersecurity plans are now required for compliance? A three hour workshop titled “Evolving Federal Contractor Cybersecurity Requirements” is being held April 27th at the SpringHill Suites to educate small businesses on this important subject. Nationally recognized presenter, Adam Austin, will step companies through the process of getting compliant with these cybersecurity requirements. For more information contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register here.

18) The Montana World Trade Center is planning a trade mission to Ireland the week of May 18th. For more info visit their website. The Montana Department of Agriculture is holding the first Montana Beverage Show in Helena on June 29, more info here. Early bird registration opens tomorrow for the Montana Food Show in Missoula on October 26. The Montana Department of Commerce is organizing a pavilion for Montana made products at the Alberta Gift and Home Show that will be held in Edmonton on August 23-26. Learn more here.

19) Thank you to to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Springhill Suites for your Flagship Division investment, and The Wendt Agency, Big Sky Civil and Engineering and Tyree Investment Group for your Community Division investment. Your investments allow our team to continue their work on our existing operations, while also digging deep on our new strategic priorities across the 13 region trade area. To discuss renewing investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406-781-9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“There is NO substitute for WORK.”
Vince Lombardi

Support Local Education!

The Great Falls Development Authority’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to support the Great Falls Public Schools elementary schools operating levy. Join us in supporting the critical efforts of Kids Education Yes!

GFDA Career Opportunity

We have a great job opportunity! Commercial Lending Operations Specialist. Experienced, self-motivated lending operations professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Help us to continue to grow our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. Responsible for working with borrowers to put together thorough and accurate loan application packages, preparing loan documents, coordinating loans closings, managing our loan portfolio, maintaining digital loan files, preparing reports to public and private loan capital sources, and maintaining excellent relationships with clients and bank partners. Requires working familiarity with commercial loan documents and recording, insurance, appraisals, and lending practices. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients and bank partners, and excellent computer and communication skills. Must be detail-oriented and organized with the flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-50,000+ with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flex-time work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Economic Development Services

See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

March SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.878%; 20-year at 2.804%; 25-year refinance at 2.88% and 20-year refinance at 2.806%; and, 10-year equipment 2.839%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. Here is the online link to the magazine. For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

Protect Your Business An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute of Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying risks relevant to your location both natural and man-made. Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. Potential flooding is a genuine concern in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2020. Participate in this webinar to find out the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and where to get aid if disaster strikes. SBA is offering a webinar to help you prepare, It’s Your Small Business, Protect It! on Mar 31, 2020 11:00 AM MDT. Register here.

The Downtown Development Partnership signed up for the 2020 National Main Street Center’s Advanced Principles webinar series. These will be available for viewing at the BID/DGFA Downtown office. Next up, Economic Vitality for downtowns, March 17, 24, and 31, from 12:00-1:30 PM. Contact Kellie Pierce at the Downtown Great Falls Association if you would like to participate, info@downtowngreatfalls.net.

We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

GFDA has signed up for the 2020 series of webinars offered by the International Economic Development Council. Join us for free viewing in our conference room. Next up, Revitalization through Downtown Development Districts, March 19, 12:30-2:00 PM. RSVP to Nathan at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We’re also hosting the annual webinar series of the Destination Development Association (thanks to the Montana Department of Commerce). Next up, The Five Fastest Growing Tourism Trends, March 18, 9:30-10:30 AM. RSVP to Nathan at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

USDA has open grant rounds for the Value-Added Producer Grant, Rural Business Development Grant and Renewable Energy for America Programs. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt or contact Lea McGiboney for more info, 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov. Let us know if we can help!

Malmstrom AFB will be hosting their second Career and Education Pathway Fair on March 19, 2020 from 2:30-5:30 PM. The focus is military members and military spouses as well as military members/families who will be transitioning out of the military — providing information on how to pursue careers i.e. required education, certification, or how to utilize the resources you offer. The event includes a hiring fair for businesses/companies that have open positions. This will be open Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserve, DoD Civilian, and dependents. For any questions, call Carmen Kubiak at (406) 731-3060 or email carmen.kubiak.1@us.af.mil.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies. They are offering an excellent Lean Principles 101 introduction to lean manufacturing in Great Falls on March 26. Download flyer here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

Wholesale Buyers can register for the Made in Montana Tradeshow, March 13-14 in Helena. The 2020 show will feature 150 Made in Montana producers including more than 40 new exhibitors and a Native American Made in Montana Pavilion.

All of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.

Mark your calendar for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Recreation, April 26-28 in Billings.