Top Ten 1-29-23

Ten Montana entrepreneurial teams gave pitches at the First Annual Montana Ag Tech Innovation and Investment Summit in Great Falls. Congratulations to professor Mike Giroux and student Brandon Tillet, plant scientists at MSU Bozeman, on winning first place for their development of new Durum Wheat varieties and taking home the $25,000 prize!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 23 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) The McLaughlin Research Institute has proposed to create one of the first rural clinical research centers in the country; see KRTV. We think its a great concept and have been actively supporting the effort, along with other exciting plans to expand MRI’s research. Benefis Health System is the first hospital in Montana to utilize the ROSA: Robotic Orthopedic Surgical Arm; see KRTVCongratulations to Benefis Senior Services on being ranked among the elite 16% if American nursing homes in the U.S. News & World Report ranking!

2) The City of Great Falls Planning Advisory Board unanimously supported zoning and annexation for a proposed 252-unit apartment development on the East end of Great Falls; see The Electric. We testified in favor of the project, citing the need for continued housing development to meet the demand described in the Housing Market Demand Assessment we published last January. While we are excited about this project and others that have been announced, we are hungry for more housing production. If you have interest in exploring development opportunities in Great Falls, please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) The average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) grew 7.9% in the 12 months ending 2022Q3, according to data released by JobsEQ this week. Our average annual wage increased by $3,647 over one year, reaching $49,728. Employment in the MSA increased 3%. The highest employment growth was in construction, up 19%. Total wages grew by $192 million in the four quarters ending 2022Q3.

4) We sponsored and exhibited at the first annual Montana Ag Tech and Innovation Summit held this week at the Great Falls International Airport; see KRTV. The event attracted ag-tech businesses and entrepreneurs from across the state interested in the advancement of Ag Technology businesses in Montana. If you have an idea or business you are interested in starting, contact Justin at 406-590-1301 to see how GFDA can help.

5) Congratulations to all involved in the record-setting campaign of the United Way of Cascade County! See KRTV.

6) We secured a significant Targeted Brownfields Phase II Assessment from Montana DEQ for the Madison Apartments (former Cambridge Court) housing development. The hazardous materials assessment will be provided at no cost to the developer. This is exciting news, as it means that this site will be able to move forward to provide much needed affordable housing for Great Falls.

7) Wellness406 opened in Great Falls, offering massage therapy, a salt room, infrared sauna and a 24 hour gym; see TheElectric’s Business Bites. Mike Hallahan, executive chef and part-owner of Enbar and The Block in downtown Great Falls, was featured in an episode of “Guy’s Grocery Games” that aired on the Food Network; see KRTV. The Family Affair restaurant in Great Falls has reopened under new ownership; see KRTV.

8) Congratulations to Tilleman Equipment on the purchase of their building located at 369 Vaughn S Frontage Road in Great Falls. The business will serve as a dealer for Fendt, Massey, Gelaner, Rogator and Terragaator farm equipment. They hope to have this new location open for business by midyear. Welcome to Great Falls!

9) Would you like to increase your revenue opportunities? One way is through government contracting. Are you interested in securing government contracts? We’re here to help. Our team is experienced in getting you registered to secure government contracts and then provide trainings to help you win the bids! Call Shannon to get started, 1.406.590.1184.

10) Registration opened for the Montana Housing Partnership Conference that will be held in Helena May 15-17.

11) Interested in meeting state and federal contractors? We’re excited to host the quarterly STAR Roundtable with Northrop Grumman Corporation, MAFB Procurement Director, and others on February 9 from 8-10 AM. During the meeting you will learn about both large and small contracts. Click here to register. The meeting is both online and in person.

12) The University of Providence in Great Falls is accepting applications for its first on-campus 4-year, traditional BSN degree program. The Vander Werff Nursing Program will be the first School of Health Professions program to reside on-campus and the only BSN program within a 100-mile radius. The new program will help meet the growing demand for bachelor’s-prepared nurses. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

13) Great Falls College MSU celebrated the success of the college’s new CDL program. Thirty students have enrolled in the program since July and and many have been hired by area businesses. The CDL program was made possible by collaboration between community partners, Cascade County, 15 local businesses, and the state. Congratulations to all involved in this innovative approach to addressing the workforce shortage of CDL drivers in our region. More business partners are needed. If you are a business interested in partnering with Great Falls College MSU on this truck driver training, contact Priscilla Azure, priscilla.azure@gfcmsu.edu or Tammie Hickey, tammie.hickey@gfcmsu.edu. Let’s keep the program going!

14) A big shout out to Columbia Grain on the release of their new Producer Solutions Platform designed to help producers maximize profits; see Western Ag NetworkBig Equipment Company in Havre has partnered with Rome Agricultural and Construction Equipment in Cedartown, GA to build a new Big Bud tractor to be completed in March. Big Equipment will continue to build these tractors right in the heart of Montana. If you’re interested in a new Big Bud Tractor, call Big Equipment Company at 406-265-9554.

15) The Montana Department of Commerce has announced a new program to help companies to implement cybersecurity measures. Cyberattacks on small to medium-sized businesses are becoming more frequent, targeted, and complex. Visit the MONTANA Grants Application Portal.

16) A BIG thank you to Dr. Kartina Stark and six of her business research students at the University of Providence who will be helping complete a Downtown Great Falls Business & Building survey. For the next 14 weeks, the students will gather valuable data that will help us better understand downtown vacancy rates. The data will help us continue to attract private investment in Downtown Great Falls. If you have questions about the survey, please call Christian at 406.836.0136.

17) The Montana Department of Agriculture released information for a new round of Specialty Crop Block Grants. Applications are due March 17th. Grants are available to enhance the marketability and competitiveness of Montana specialty crops. State and/or local organizations, government entities, producer associations, academia, community based organizations, and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. We’re here to help. Give Justin Loch a call 406-590-1301. Informational sessions for applicants will be held on February 22 at 1 PM, click here to join, or March 8 at 10 AM, [http://%20https//mt-gov.zoom.us/j/87922225351?pwd=M3ptV2VWMld5YmYwbGgzYmcwdkRydz09]click here to join.

18) If you are a vendor preparing for a successful 2023 Farmers Market season, plan to attend the FARMERS MARKET SUCCESS VENDOR WORKSHOP on Monday, February 13 from 9:30 – 1:00 PM. This is a great opportunity to enhance your market presence and also network with other vendors across the state. Register here or contact Katesha at 406.788.0860 or Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.

19) I presented the local section of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research’s annual Economic Outlook for the Great Falls region; see KRTV. As always, the University of Montana’s BBER presented great data and analysis on the state of the Montana economy. Here is just one of the interesting facts that can be read in detail in the BBER’s Montana Business Quarterly — Montana state general fund revenues increased 21% in FY21 and 34% in FY22. Historically, 5-6% annual growth has been considered good.

20) I also enjoyed participating in the first Montana Recovery Resources Symposium at Ft. Harrison, speaking on the Economic Development & Workforce Panel along with USDA, EDA, SBA, and the Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District. The event was organized by Montana Disaster & Emergency Services and involved many federal, state and local agencies working together on the Yellowstone flooding disaster recovery.

21) Expanding your agricultural processing business and need funding? Attend USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) workshop this Tuesday, January 31st, 12 – 1:30 PM and Thursday, February 2nd, 4:30 – 6 PM. Applications for the grant open February 1st. This workshop is an opportunity to learn more about grant specifics and what to expect. For more information, click here or contact Katesha at 406.788.0860 or Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.

22) We participated in the Montana Department of Commerce’s listening session for Central Montana tourism resiliency planning project called Brand MT. Brand MT is hosting a variety of listening sessions, surveys, and other community feedback sessions. To learn more about statewide tourism efforts, visit Brand MT.

23) Economic development doesn’t just happen. It takes a team and the support from the community and our team of INVESTORS. They are the ones driving growth in the region. Recent investments include: Executive Division—Calumet Montana Refining; Advance Division—Transystems, LLC. They and other investors see the positive changes happening and are proud to be a part of it! If you want to make a positive difference in our local economy, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We’re working with clients on some exciting projects — getting close to putting all the financing pieces together. Stay tuned!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
January 31st is the deadline for employers to register for the Montana Job Growth Tax Credit Program. The job growth incentive tax credit (JGTC) encourages the growth of high-paying Montana-based jobs. The credit applies to certain industries and offers a tax credit equal to 50% of employer-paid payroll taxes for qualifying new employees. Visit the web site to see eligibility or click here to go directly to the application. Chris Bradley and Logan Hendrix are our contact people for the Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit Program.They can be reached at JobGrowthTaxCreditProgram@mt.gov.

43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses and attacks are becoming more frequent. The Montana Department of Commerce has launched an ARPA Cybersecurity Program. Businesses can apply for up to $8,000 in reimbursement for newly implemented cybersecurity measures paid to an accredited Montana cybersecurity company. For guidelines and the application, click here.

Join us for a Great Falls Public School Community Forum on Youth Wellness, Thursday February 2nd 6:00-7:30 PM at the University of Providence Conference Center. An overview of the issues currently facing youth in our community along with a panel of stakeholders will share data and discuss what is currently being done by the school District and its partners to address the challenges. The audience will be encouraged to interact with the panel throughout the session. For more information, call Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Office at 406-268-6001.

ArtsFest Montana will return to downtown Great Falls August 11-18. The Business Improvement District is looking for property owners who would like to have a professionally painted mural installed on their building. Contact Kellie at kellie@downtowngreatfalls.net or 1-406-727-5430. See TheElectric for more details.

Our next government contracting webinar will be on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 11:00 am. The topic is “Does the Government Buy My Products/Services?”. If you would like to register, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)750-1253.

If you are trying to redevelop a property that involves an environmental cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos) and you have a gap in your financing, your project may qualify for our low-interest brownfield redevelopment loan funds. We can make loans anywhere in Cascade County or within 100 miles from the borders of Cascade County which covers much of the region. We’re eager to help make your project move forward. Contact Tony Peres at 1-406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org. We also have some small business or nonprofit startup or expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

MSU Extension’s Community Development team is offering a monthly Reimagining Rural Inspiration Hour webinar the third Wednesday of each month from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. See all the topics and register for free here.

The Veteran Small Business Certification Program Has Moved to SBA. Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1st are automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period. SBA intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension of certification to current VOSBs and SDVOSBs verified by the VA as of the transfer date on January 1, 2023. This additional year will be added to the existing eligibility period of a current participant. New applicants certified by SBA after January 1st will receive the standard three-year certification period. SBA is now accepting applications for certification. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

Employers, are you aware of the Incumbent Worker Training program, Trades education & Training Tax Credit, and other resources available at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry? Check out their latest resource newsletter.

Join us in person at GFDA on February 9th from 8:00-10:00 AM for the first in a quarterly series of STAR events designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with government agencies and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). The Northrop Grumman team will present via Zoom and we will have Q&A after the meeting. Connect with panelists from a variety of large and small businesses currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist your company in achieving its government contracting goals. Learn about new opportunities nationally and on or near missile wing Air Force Bases (Cheyenne, FE Warren, Malmstrom and Minot) Gain insight and information about the importance of registering with the large contractors, SAM.gov, and others to make your company more visible and propel your contracting opportunities. Find out about free resources to help you on your journey. Register here.

The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena.

The White House released a Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are many tax incentives that will be available for businesses, non-profits, and public agencies to reduce their energy costs and build new power generating facilities. We’ll be organizing briefings and trainings to help you learn and take advantage of these as more guidance is released. For now, download the Guidebook here. The National Association of Counties has prepared a summary of the IRA; view it here.

Have You Reviewed the New FCC Map? The FCC recently released a new map showing broadband availability across the country. Why is this important? There is more than $42 billion in federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure development projects, and it will be allocated based on the number of unserved and underserved locations identified in the FCC map. The FCC Broadband Map is available online, and you can enter a specific address to see the data on broadband speed and availability for a specific location. If you have questions or concerns about the information, the deadline for submitting challenges to the map is January 13. Online resources can guide you through the challenge process.

 

The Montana Work-Based Learning Collaborative, a network of public and private partners working to expand and improve on-the-job learning for Montana students, has released its first Work-Based Learning Toolkit for Employers. The toolkit provides outlines, forms, and frameworks for employers in four key areas for work-based learning success: meaningful projects, welcoming community, mentorship, and expectations/feedback. Download toolkit.

Export Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC), is organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary in June. They have grant funds to pay for 75% of the costs plus $2,000 toward travel costs. Grant funds are available for any of your export business development efforts. Contact Angelyn Deyoung, MDOC International Trade Officer, at adeyoung@mt.gov or 1-406-431-5075. We’re thinking about going back to exhibit and network at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in June, participating again in the USA Pavilion. If you may be interested in joining us to connect with Canadian energy, industrial, construction, logistics and related companies, contact Jolene at JScalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is offering funding through its 4th “F” Fund (4FF) to provide direct assistance to Montana bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the bioscience industry. The fund will provide grants of $250 to $5,000. In exceptional circumstances the fund may consider larger applications. Grants may be awarded in phases (e.g. $1,000 initially with additional $1,000 on achieving specific milestone). More info and application here.

We released the Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Montana region. The report, prepared by Tripp Umbach with the input and assistance of key local industry partners, details four key findings and four strategic actions to grow and diversify bioscience-related industries in Great Falls. This report, along with other key findings from our strategic planning process will help guide the efforts of GFDA moving forward. Contact Jake Clark with questions regarding the report, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.

 

The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast.

Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

The Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

The Great Falls Housing Market Assessment shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

 

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.

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.

Street Art Cities has spotted Cobre’s Eyes Mural in Great Falls and named it one of the top 100 murals of 2022 – in the WORLD; see TheElectric. Only eight murals in the United States made the list! To get to #1, Street Art Cities has an app you can download in the app store or google to vote for the winner. You can vote 10 times. Click on Let’s boost our visibility and thank Cobre by voting!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 23 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) The Great Falls City Commission unanimously approved up to $972,373 in tax increment funds for infrastructure improvements that will make possible private investment of over $26 million in the next phase of West Bank Landing, the outstanding riverfront mixed-use brownfield development in the City’s West Bank Urban Renewal District. This phase will include a new hotel, fast casual restaurant, and more. West Bank Landing and West Bank One have been keystones of our riverfront redevelopment efforts. We’re excited that Talcott Properties is moving forward with this next phase of West Bank Landing, as well as some great additions to West Bank One!

2) Alluvion Health completed its purchase of the former Roosevelt Elementary School from Great Falls Public Schools. Alluvion plans to begin construction this fall on the Roosevelt Collaborative Project that will include a pediatric clinic, autism services, employer-sponsored childcare, and housing units; see TheElectric and KFBB. We are proud to have been able to provide over $18,000 in environmental assessments to support this great redevelopment.

3) We approved providing a Phase II environmental assessment for a project in Great Falls looking to expand daycare opportunities. If you are looking at purchasing an older building, give us a call to discuss how we can help you move your project forward. Contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) This week Tony headed to Browning to host a Business Pitch training at Glacier Peaks Casino’s bingo hall along with Blackfeet Manpower Tourism and Economic Development and NACDC Financial Services. We had almost 40 attendees with half of those being business owners from the High Line. Regional resources were shared from all participating organizations and the Business Pitch training was well received in preparation for the video pitch contest being held through February 15th. To find out more about a Business Pitch or to participate in the video pitch contest, please reach out to Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Expanding your agricultural processing business and need funding? Attend USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG ) workshop this Monday, January 23rd, from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM or Wednesday January 25th, 4:30 – 6:30 PM. Applications for the grant will open February 1st. This workshop is an opportunity to learn more about the specifics and what to expect. For more information click here or contact Katesha at Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org

6) Cut Bank Creek Brewery celebrated its 5th anniversary; see KRTVNorthwest Distributors, a Sweetgrass based company that specializes in shipping and receiving packages to and from Canada announced this week that they will be opening a location in Cut Bank. See Northwest Distributors Facebook for their announcement. Amber Hofstad, owner of Windrift Hill in Conrad was the keynote speaker at the Havre Chamber’s annual meeting; see Havre Daily NewsCongratulations to Fort Benton High School senior, Emerson Giese, on the publication of her first novel, The Miserable Lives of the Perfect Ones; see KRTV. You can buy the book at your local bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon.

7) A total of 18 companies and partners presented at Ignite 2023, sponsored by PayneWest PayneWest Insurance! We heard from healthcare, education, manufacturing, and more! Here’s a look at the major announcements and projects moving forward in 2023!

8) 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses and attacks are becoming more frequent. The Montana Department of Commerce has launched an ARPA Cybersecurity Program. Businesses can apply for up to $8,000 in reimbursement for newly implemented cybersecurity measures paid to an accredited Montana cybersecurity company. For guidelines and the application, click here.

9) We hosted a Business Pitch in downtown Great Falls at Fire Pizza with exciting and well thought out pitches from local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Ensuing conversation was excellent with fantastic questions and suggestions from the energetic audience. If you are interested in hosting or participating in a Business Pitch please reach out to Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) With several exciting new apartment developments announced, Jake has sharpened our focus to pursue developers to undertake production of more homeownership opportunities. One area of interest is condo production in Great Falls. If you know of a lender with experience financing such projects or, even better, a company currently producing condos in Montana, please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Congratulations to entrepreneur Laura Ewalt, owner of Honey Hippo, for hitting the 1 year milestone as a Downtown Great Falls Business. One year ago Laura took the leap into owning a business and took advantage of many of the tools and resources that GFDA offers to help get her business off the ground. If you’re interested in discussing these tools for your Downtown business, call Christian at 406.836.0136.

12) Brett, Justin, and Katesha networked at the Great Falls Area Chamber’s Ag Appreciation banquet with over 40 Ag businesses and organizations. If you have a new business, expansion, or idea to grow the food, ag and bio processing industries in the region, contact Justin 406-590-1301 or Katesha 406-788-0860 to see how we can help make your project come to life.

13) The site of the former Red Wing Boot Repair shop in downtown Havre is now home to Jenny’s Kitchen, a new gluten-free restaurant. Owner Jenny Parks was inspired to open the restaurant after discovering a lack of gluten-free options for her husband and daughter with celiac disease.The restaurant is part of a larger effort to revitalize downtown Havre and generate more jobs for the community. Learn more about the restaurant’s transformation from the ground up in our Announcement of the Week!

14) Are you buying a business, a commercial building, or equipment? We can help. We have a variety of programs and resources that work together with your bank to lower your equity requirement, lock in your interest rate, and fill gaps in your financing. Our goal is to make business happen! Call Tony to discuss, 406.750.2099.

15) Lillian and Shannon were invited out to Malmstrom AFB to present to the Contracting Wing on government contracting services that we provide for small businesses in our region. We also shared how we could help them get the word out on contract opportunities and partner together on potential matchmaking events.

16) A large construction business in the region reached out to GFDA for assistance with their subcontracting needs. They have been out of the federal contracting market for several years and want to look at how to ramp up again. We will be working with them to look at subcontracting plans, updating information and market research for companies that are certified in federal set-asides. We are excited to be helping a company that will utilize many of the small businesses in our region. Interested in finding out more about government contracting? Email Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) We issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for environmental consulting firms interested in providing environmental oversight services for our second EPA Brownfields revolving loan fund. Download the RFQ here.

18) Looking for a new opportunity to capitalize on your farm? Consider adding Safflower, a crop that will be processed into oil, into your crop rotation. Justin attended an informational meeting for potential growers put on by JG Boswell and United Grain Corporation. They are currently looking for growers and acres in the Great Falls region and across Montana to contract with. If interested contact Blake with United Grain at 406-750-2872.

19) The O’Haire Inn in Downtown Great Falls has taken their look, RETRO! They recently completed their façade renovation turning back time to a former look and utilized the Downtown Tax Increment Financing Façade Grant to help cover some of the costs. If you’re interested in how to use TIF funds for your next Downtown project, email Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

20) This week we met with numerous companies at the MAGIE, Montana’s Agriculture, Equipment, and Technology trade show. A key target industry of our economic development strategy for the region is food, ag and bio processing operations. If you have a project or idea call Katesha Campbell at 406.788.0860 or Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.

21) I talked with the Leadership Great Falls class about our efforts to grow local health and bioscience industries and the recent Bioscience Economic Development Strategy we commissioned.

22) We earned the 2023 Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid Guidestar. We are proud to once again earn this highest level of nonprofit transparency. We are the only Montana economic development organization to reach and/or maintain platinum status. Transparency is one of GFDA’s key guiding values. Visit our website to learn about the nine values that guide our work.

23) The continued support we get from our INVESTORS is crucial to the success of our region. They choose to invest their dollars into growing our economy. Recent Investments include: Advance Division—Culligan Water Conditioning; Leadership Division—Big Sky Select Properties; Community Division—Geranios Enterprises, Inc. and Grabofsky, VanHeel & Funderhburk, PC. These and other investors are actively helping to bring more high wage opportunities to our residents. If you want to join the team that is growing Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Another week of hard, smart work to transform our regional economy! THASNK YOU for starting, strengthening, and growing your businesses that are the heart of our regional economy!

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

We have two great career opportunities to join the GFDA staff team. Download info on Small Business Advisor — Director Regional Small Business Development Center and Loan Originations & Closing Associate. GFDA is proud to be on Equal Opportunity Employer!

Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro set a record for competitiveness in 2022Q3 at 85.6% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Seattle’s 152.2%, Portland’s 122.2%, Bozeman’s 125.0%, Denver’s 111.2%, Salt Lake City’s 107.4%, Boise’s 105.4%, or Spokane’s 103.5%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

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; download AgriTech Park Flyer. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

January SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.310%; 20-year at 6.282%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.433%; and, 20-year refinance 6.300%; 25-year refinance 6.327%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
January 31st is the deadline for employers to register for the Montana Job Growth Tax Credit Program. The job growth incentive tax credit (JGTC) encourages the growth of high-paying Montana-based jobs. The credit applies to certain industries and offers a tax credit equal to 50% of employer-paid payroll taxes for qualifying new employees. Visit the web site to see eligibility or click here to go directly to the application. Chris Bradley and Logan Hendrix are our contact people for the Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit Program.They can be reached at JobGrowthTaxCreditProgram@mt.gov.

Join us for a Great Falls Public School Community Forum on Youth Wellness, Thursday February 2nd 6:00-7:30 PM at the University of Providence Conference Center. An overview of the issues currently facing youth in our community along with a panel of stakeholders will share data and discuss what is currently being done by the school District and its partners to address the challenges. The audience will be encouraged to interact with the panel throughout the session. For more information, call Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Office at 406-268-6001.

ArtsFest Montana will return to downtown Great Falls August 11-18. The Business Improvement District is looking for property owners who would like to have a professionally painted mural installed on their building. Contact Kellie at kellie@downtowngreatfalls.net or 1-406-727-5430. See TheElectric for more details.

Our next government contracting webinar will be on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 11:00 am. The topic is “Does the Government Buy My Products/Services?”. If you would like to register, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)750-1253.

If you are trying to redevelop a property that involves an environmental cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos) and you have a gap in your financing, your project may qualify for our low-interest brownfield redevelopment loan funds. We can make loans anywhere in Cascade County or within 100 miles from the borders of Cascade County which covers much of the region. We’re eager to help make your project move forward. Contact Tony Peres at 1-406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org. We also have some small business or nonprofit startup or expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

Are you a farmers market vendor or have aspirations of becoming a vendor? Do you want to learn how to make your business a success at the famers market? Then make plans to attend the virtual Farmers Market Success Vendor Workshop Monday February 13th from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM offered by National Center for Appropriate Technology and the Community Food and Ag CoalitionRegister here.

MSU Extension’s Community Development team is offering a monthly Reimagining Rural Inspiration Hour webinar the third Wednesday of each month from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. See all the topics and register for free here.

The Veteran Small Business Certification Program Has Moved to SBA. Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1st are automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period. SBA intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension of certification to current VOSBs and SDVOSBs verified by the VA as of the transfer date on January 1, 2023. This additional year will be added to the existing eligibility period of a current participant. New applicants certified by SBA after January 1st will receive the standard three-year certification period. SBA will begin accepting applications for certification on January 9th. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

The Montana Department of Commerce opened the Recovery Destination Event Grant application cycle. These grants assist Montana communities with destination events that will generate out-of-state visitors.

Do you like to learn about new technologies focused on agriculture innovation? Are you looking to invest in or partner with an ag-tech innovation? Then make plans to attend the Montana Ag-Tech Innovation and Investment Summit January 24th at the Great Falls Airport. Are you an entrepreneur with a great idea? Sign up for the Speed-Pitch Competition and have a chance to win a piece of $50,000 in prize money.  For more information on the competition or to practice your pitch call Justin at 406-590-1301.

Employers, are you aware of the Incumbent Worker Training program, Trades education & Training Tax Credit, and other resources available at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry? Check out their latest resource newsletter.

Join us in person at GFDA on February 9th from 8:00-10:00 AM for the first in a quarterly series of STAR events designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with government agencies and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). The Northrop Grumman team will present via Zoom and we will have Q&A after the meeting. Connect with panelists from a variety of large and small businesses currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist your company in achieving its government contracting goals. Learn about new opportunities nationally and on or near missile wing Air Force Bases (Cheyenne, FE Warren, Malmstrom and Minot) Gain insight and information about the importance of registering with the large contractors, SAM.gov, and others to make your company more visible and propel your contracting opportunities. Find out about free resources to help you on your journey. Register here.

The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena.

The White House released a Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are many tax incentives that will be available for businesses, non-profits, and public agencies to reduce their energy costs and build new power generating facilities. We’ll be organizing briefings and trainings to help you learn and take advantage of these as more guidance is released. For now, download the Guidebook here. The National Association of Counties has prepared a summary of the IRA; view it here.

Have You Reviewed the New FCC Map? The FCC recently released a new map showing broadband availability across the country. Why is this important? There is more than $42 billion in federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure development projects, and it will be allocated based on the number of unserved and underserved locations identified in the FCC map. The FCC Broadband Map is available online, and you can enter a specific address to see the data on broadband speed and availability for a specific location. If you have questions or concerns about the information, the deadline for submitting challenges to the map is January 13. Online resources can guide you through the challenge process.

 

The Montana Work-Based Learning Collaborative, a network of public and private partners working to expand and improve on-the-job learning for Montana students, has released its first Work-Based Learning Toolkit for Employers. The toolkit provides outlines, forms, and frameworks for employers in four key areas for work-based learning success: meaningful projects, welcoming community, mentorship, and expectations/feedback. Download toolkit.

Export Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC), is organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary in June. They have grant funds to pay for 75% of the costs plus $2,000 toward travel costs. Grant funds are available for any of your export business development efforts. Contact Angelyn Deyoung, MDOC International Trade Officer, at adeyoung@mt.gov or 1-406-431-5075. We’re thinking about going back to exhibit and network at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in June, participating again in the USA Pavilion. If you may be interested in joining us to connect with Canadian energy, industrial, construction, logistics and related companies, contact Jolene at JScalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is offering funding through its 4th “F” Fund (4FF) to provide direct assistance to Montana bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the bioscience industry. The fund will provide grants of $250 to $5,000. In exceptional circumstances the fund may consider larger applications. Grants may be awarded in phases (e.g. $1,000 initially with additional $1,000 on achieving specific milestone). More info and application here.

We released the Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Montana region. The report, prepared by Tripp Umbach with the input and assistance of key local industry partners, details four key findings and four strategic actions to grow and diversify bioscience-related industries in Great Falls. This report, along with other key findings from our strategic planning process will help guide the efforts of GFDA moving forward. Contact Jake Clark with questions regarding the report, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.

 

The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

 

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.

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 Ten 1/15/23

Dave Loboy and Chris Knight with Montana Specialty Mills join officials from the Montana Department of Commerce, the City of Great Falls, and GFDA at Ignite 2023 to announce a major expansion of their oil seed processing facility in the Great Falls Agri-Tech Park.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 22 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) A total of 18 companies and partners presented at Ignite 2023 sponsored by PayneWest Insurance! We heard from healthcare, education, manufacturing, and more! The CMR Drumline joined us for our two big announcements from Montana Specialty Mills and Pasta Montana and Bison Business Students joined as well. We will have a full recap going out on Tuesday! Cheers to 2023! See KRTV and KFBB.

2) Montana Specialty Mills announced a major expansion at Ignite 2023! The oil seed crush and refining plant will be growing from current processing of 50 tons per day to 150 tons per day. This expansion will bring more high wage jobs and a substantial capital investment. Thank you for investing in Great Falls, Montana!

3) Pasta Montana announced a $7 million expansion at Ignite 2023! The noodle company will add an additional short goods line to keep up with demand for their premium pasta. Pasta Montana buys high quality wheat from area farms which is milled next door at General Mills and piped into the plant for the freshest pasta in the world. Thank you for investing in Great Falls Montana!

4) We are hosting a Business Pitch this Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 PM at Fire Artisan Pizza in downtown Great Falls. Feel free to come out and network with other entrepreneurs and business owners and pitch your idea or small business.  For questions or assistance please reach out to Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or via email at Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Touro University Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine in Great Falls is now accepting applicants. Learn more about Touro’s medical school and scholarships available to Montana students in our Announcement of the Week.

6) The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board voted to support the rezoning for a proposed 531-unit apartment development. The Board also supported the annexation of a property that the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians plan to use as a groceries cold storage building for tribe members; see TheElectric. We testified in support of both projects.

7) January 31st is the deadline for employers to register for the Montana Job Growth Tax Credit Program. The job growth incentive tax credit (JGTC) encourages the growth of high-paying Montana-based jobs. The credit applies to certain industries and offers a tax credit equal to 50% of employer-paid payroll taxes for qualifying new employees. Visit the web site to see eligibility or click here to go directly to the application. Chris Bradley and Logan Hendrix are our contact people for the Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit Program.They can be reached at JobGrowthTaxCreditProgram@mt.gov.

8) Met with a housing developer regarding potential new projects. We are still looking for a developer to take on a large scale homeownership project. Per the HousingMarket Demand Assessment there is a market for the 2-3 bedroom products – all types. Contact Jake to discuss, 406.403.4937.

9) New business openings include the Backroads Bar and GrillHighwood Dental StudioTres65, and the Golden Goose; see TheElectric’s Business Bites.

10) We will be in Browning this Wednesday from 11 AM-2 PM at the Glacier Peaks Bingo Hall hosting a business pitch training along with NACDC Financial ServicesBrowning Manpower and Sweetgrass Development. This training event will prepare entrepreneurs and business owners to successfully organize their ideas into a format to pitch to a network of other entrepreneurs and business minded individuals.  Please reach out to Tony Peres at 407-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org to learn more.

11) Eighteen businesses participated in our monthly Microlearning webinar series this week on “Can a DBE Certification Help My Woman Owned Business?” by Shannon Hahn (MDT). Our next webinar will be on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 11:00 am. The topic is “Does the Government Buy My Products/Services?”. If you would like to register, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)750-1253.

12) Met with a local business looking to expand into primary sector manufacturing! Our economy loves expansion deals, especially primary sector deals (when more than half the income comes from outside of our region bringing new money into our economy). First step is to discuss the idea with our Business Advisor Rich Gannon to map out the action plan. If you’re interested in discussing your business idea, give Rich a call at 406.868.2078.

13) ArtsFest Montana will return to downtown Great Falls August 11-18. The Business Improvement District is looking for property owners who would like to have a professionally painted mural installed on their building. Contact Kellie at kellie@downtowngreatfalls.net or 1-406-727-5430. See TheElectric for more details.

14) Are you a farmers market vendor or have aspirations of becoming a vendor? Do you want to learn how to make your business a success at the famers market? Then make plans to attend the virtual Farmers Market Success Vendor Workshop Monday February 13th from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM offered by National Center for Appropriate Technology and the Community Food and Ag CoalitionRegister here.

15) Join us for a Great Falls Public School Community Forum on Youth Wellness, Tuesday February 2nd 6:00-7:30 PM at the University of Providence Conference Center. An overview of the issues currently facing youth in our community along with a panel of stakeholders will share data and discuss what is currently being done by the school District and its partners to address the challenges. The audience will be encouraged to interact with the panel throughout the session. For more information, call Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Office at 406-268-6001.

16) Christian spoke at Neighborhood Council #7 this week per a request from the council for project updates and to talk about the ongoing revitalization efforts. He was also able to share with them our new material on SBA 504 loans and Bridge/Gap financing and talk about how to effectively use those tools, among many others. If you have a project in Downtown Great Falls or are interested in a project, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 to discuss your Downtown development project.

17) MSU Extension’s Community Development team is offering a monthly Reimagining Rural Inspiration Hour webinar the third Wednesday of each month from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. The first webinar is this Wednesday, January 18th, titled “Supply and Demand of Leaders in Small Towns.” See all the topics and register for free here.

18) Three of our team members: Jill Kohles, Christian Leinhauser, and Jake Clark successfully completed a real estate finance course through the National Development Council towards their Economic Development Finance Professional certifications. This certification will help team GFDA better serve businesses in the Great Falls region and better offer our financial tools to attract, retain, and help businesses expand.

19) Great Falls College MSU’s physical therapist assistant program has introduced a limited-residency option that opens up the opportunity statewide; see KFBB.

20) The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary invited us to provide an introduction to GFDA and our economic development strategies as well as how they can be involved. We love bringing more people onto the Team and were excited to see several of our new fans join us at Ignite 2023. Can we speak with your team or club? Call Tony to arrange a presentation, 406.750.2099.

21) I drove down to the capitol to testify in support of the Governor’s budget for the Montana Department of Commerce and to commend the department’s new business attraction efforts.

22) GFDA relies on our team of INVESTORS. With each check, they are helping our community make positive changes & take control of our future. Recent investments include: Flagship Division—Great Falls Public Schools; Leadership Division—TDS Telecom; Pacesetter Division—Detailed Construction; Community Division—Great Falls Association of Realtors.  They are committed to long term support which will help our region grow. If you want to join the team that is driving growth, Contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Have a great new week!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

We have two great career opportunities to join the GFDA staff team. Download info on Small Business Advisor — Director Regional Small Business Development Center and Loan Originations & Closing Associate. GFDA is proud to be on Equal Opportunity Employer!

Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro set a record for competitiveness in 2022Q3 at 85.6% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Seattle’s 152.2%, Portland’s 122.2%, Bozeman’s 125.0%, Denver’s 111.2%, Salt Lake City’s 107.4%, Boise’s 105.4%, or Spokane’s 103.5%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

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; download AgriTech Park Flyer. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

January SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.310%; 20-year at 6.282%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.433%; and, 20-year refinance 6.300%; 25-year refinance 6.327%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
If you are trying to redevelop a property that involves an environmental cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos) and you have a gap in your financing, your project may qualify for our low-interest brownfield redevelopment loan funds. We can make loans anywhere in Cascade County or within 100 miles from the borders of Cascade County which covers much of the region. We’re eager to help make your project move forward. Contact Tony Peres at 1-406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org. We also have some small business or nonprofit startup or expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

The Veteran Small Business Certification Program Has Moved to SBA. Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1st are automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period. SBA intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension of certification to current VOSBs and SDVOSBs verified by the VA as of the transfer date on January 1, 2023. This additional year will be added to the existing eligibility period of a current participant. New applicants certified by SBA after January 1st will receive the standard three-year certification period. SBA will begin accepting applications for certification on January 9th. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

The Montana Department of Commerce opened the Recovery Destination Event Grant application cycle. These grants assist Montana communities with destination events that will generate out-of-state visitors.

Do you like to learn about new technologies focused on agriculture innovation? Are you looking to invest in or partner with an ag-tech innovation? Then make plans to attend the Montana Ag-Tech Innovation and Investment Summit January 24th at the Great Falls Airport. Are you an entrepreneur with a great idea? Sign up for the Speed-Pitch Competition and have a chance to win a piece of $50,000 in prize money.  For more information on the competition or to practice your pitch call Justin at 406-590-1301.

Employers, are you aware of the Incumbent Worker Training program, Trades education & Training Tax Credit, and other resources available at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry? Check out their latest resource newsletter.

The 2023 Montana Economic Outlook Seminar is headed to Great Falls on January 24th. The theme is the Future of Montana and will highlight the latest economic trends for local economies and the state of Montana, with special focus on the new wave of in-migration and what it means for the state. To register, visit Economic Outlook Seminar’s website here.

Join us in person at GFDA on February 9th from 8:00-10:00 AM for the first in a quarterly series of STAR events designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with government agencies and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). The Northrop Grumman team will present via Zoom and we will have Q&A after the meeting. Connect with panelists from a variety of large and small businesses currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist your company in achieving its government contracting goals. Learn about new opportunities nationally and on or near missile wing Air Force Bases (Cheyenne, FE Warren, Malmstrom and Minot) Gain insight and information about the importance of registering with the large contractors, SAM.gov, and others to make your company more visible and propel your contracting opportunities. Find out about free resources to help you on your journey. Register here.

The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena.

The White House released a Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are many tax incentives that will be available for businesses, non-profits, and public agencies to reduce their energy costs and build new power generating facilities. We’ll be organizing briefings and trainings to help you learn and take advantage of these as more guidance is released. For now, download the Guidebook here. The National Association of Counties has prepared a summary of the IRA; view it here.

Have You Reviewed the New FCC Map? The FCC recently released a new map showing broadband availability across the country. Why is this important? There is more than $42 billion in federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure development projects, and it will be allocated based on the number of unserved and underserved locations identified in the FCC map. The FCC Broadband Map is available online, and you can enter a specific address to see the data on broadband speed and availability for a specific location. If you have questions or concerns about the information, the deadline for submitting challenges to the map is January 13. Online resources can guide you through the challenge process.

 

The Montana Work-Based Learning Collaborative, a network of public and private partners working to expand and improve on-the-job learning for Montana students, has released its first Work-Based Learning Toolkit for Employers. The toolkit provides outlines, forms, and frameworks for employers in four key areas for work-based learning success: meaningful projects, welcoming community, mentorship, and expectations/feedback. Download toolkit.

Export Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC), is organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary in June. They have grant funds to pay for 75% of the costs plus $2,000 toward travel costs. Grant funds are available for any of your export business development efforts. Contact Angelyn Deyoung, MDOC International Trade Officer, at adeyoung@mt.gov or 1-406-431-5075. We’re thinking about going back to exhibit and network at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in June, participating again in the USA Pavilion. If you may be interested in joining us to connect with Canadian energy, industrial, construction, logistics and related companies, contact Jolene at JScalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is offering funding through its 4th “F” Fund (4FF) to provide direct assistance to Montana bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the bioscience industry. The fund will provide grants of $250 to $5,000. In exceptional circumstances the fund may consider larger applications. Grants may be awarded in phases (e.g. $1,000 initially with additional $1,000 on achieving specific milestone). More info and application here.

We released the Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Montana region. The report, prepared by Tripp Umbach with the input and assistance of key local industry partners, details four key findings and four strategic actions to grow and diversify bioscience-related industries in Great Falls. This report, along with other key findings from our strategic planning process will help guide the efforts of GFDA moving forward. Contact Jake Clark with questions regarding the report, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.

 

The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

 

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.

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 for 1-8-23

We market what we love about Great Falls across Montana and the Pacific Northwest as part of our talent attraction efforts. We focus on elements that make Great Falls an amazing place to live and work. Check out our full campaign on Instagram – LiveInGreatFallsMT.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for the last two weeks celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Calumet issued a 2022 Year End Operational Update. Calumet’s Montana Renewables generated a full month of on-spec Renewable Diesel production in December and commenced rail shipments. Congratulations to the Calumet Team on this great achievement! We look forward to more exciting news as work continues on the largest value-added ag project in Montana history, right here in Great Falls.

2) The University of Providence started accepting applications for a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Clinical placements include partnerships with Benefis Health System and the Great Falls Clinic. The first class will start in the fall. See KRTV.

3) We look forward to a packed house at Ignite 2023, brought to you by Payne West Insurance. Expect some announcements you will not want top miss! There is still time to register and attend the event in person at the Meadowlark Country Club on Friday, January 13th at 8:00 AM or online via Zoom Register here!

4) Congratulations to Tiffany and Lindsay Ostman on their opening of Flour Power Gluten Free Bakery and Beyond. This unique business offers a wide variety of gluten-free foods. The bakery is located at 721 Sixth Street SW, suite C in Great Falls.

5) GFDA closed a $498,997 loan for an equipment purchase to help a local manufacturer, TC Glass, expand its affiliated operating business, Balanced Unitized Team. Balanced Unitized Team will allow increased manufacturing to help with the demand in the region and expand into outside markets. GFDA will participate this loan with the Montana State Small Business Initiative (SSBCI 2.0) which allows for a lower interest rate for a fixed period of time. If you have a new or existing Montana businesses that wants to start, stabilized, pivot, expand or re-start please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss your options.

6) The Great Falls City Commission approved $68,000 in tax increment financing (TIF) funds to support the renovation of the historic Metropolitan Building in Downtown Great Falls. Read more about it at The Electric. The Downtown TIF is just one tool of many to help in your redevelopment project. If you’re interested in learning more about TIF and how it can help you in Downtown, call Christian at 406.836.0136 or email him at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) We closed a $590,000 bridge loan for a local startup company. We stepped in with a quick short-term bridge loan because the company’s buy/sell agreement was expiring and the company was at risk of losing a prime location for their operations. In one week we were able to structure, underwrite, approve, and close a loan for the company to purchase the property location while their permanent financing is being finalized. We’ll name the company when the entire deal comes together. If you have some financing hurdles that you may need some creative solutions for, please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss your options.

8) USDA is holding a stakeholder call this Monday, January 9, at 1:00 PM MST for anyone interested in applying for the current grant round of the expanded Renewable Energy for America (REAP) program. Applications are due March 31st. This round grants will fund 50% of the cost to install a renewable energy system or to do energy efficiency improvements for rural small businesses or ag businesses. Register for the call here. Contact Lea McGiboney at the Great Falls USDA Rural Development Office for more info; 1-406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

9) The 10th Ave South corridor in Great Falls continues to grow with the addition of OrthoRehab Physical Therapy. Great Falls is the company’s 11th location. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

10) Great progress is being made on the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center; read details on TheElectric. We testified in support of MT3 Community Partners’ proposed renovation of 82 affordable apartments in Great Falls that would keep these homes affordable for lower income residents for decades to come (see TheElectric).

11) The Montana Department of Commerce opened the Recovery Destination Event Grant application cycle. These grants assist Montana communities with destination events that will generate out-of-state visitors.

12) Do you like to learn about new technologies focused on agriculture innovation? Are you looking to invest in or partner with an ag-tech innovation? Then make plans to attend the Montana Ag-Tech Innovation and Investment Summit January 24th at the Great Falls Airport. Are you an entrepreneur with a great idea? Sign up for the Speed-Pitch Competition and have a chance to win a piece of $50,000 in prize money.  For more information on the competition or to practice your pitch call Justin at 406-590-1301.

13) Employers, are you aware of the Incumbent Worker Training program, Trades education & Training Tax Credit, and other resources available at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry? Check out their latest resource newsletter.

14) We are preparing to host another primary sector company looking at our market. When companies are looking for a location, they are weighing many factors. Our first step is to pass a company’s information review. If we have the assets they are looking for we earn a site visit. Several communities will fit their asset needs and the site visit is the time to show them why Great Falls Montana is their best location. During the visit they speak with existing companies, community leaders, property owners and more! They tour our community and experience the diverse, high quality restaurants we offer. Here’s to many successful site visits and company groundbreakings in 2023!

15) If you are trying to redevelop a property that involves an environmental cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos) and you have a gap in your financing, your project may qualify for our low-interest brownfield redevelopment loan funds. We can make loans anywhere in Cascade County or within 100 miles from the borders of Cascade County which covers much of the region. We’re eager to help make your project move forward. Contact Tony Peres at 1-406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org. We also have some small business or nonprofit startup or expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

16) The Veteran Small Business Certification Program Has Moved to SBA. Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1st are automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period. SBA intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension of certification to current VOSBs and SDVOSBs verified by the VA as of the transfer date on January 1, 2023. This additional year will be added to the existing eligibility period of a current participant. New applicants certified by SBA after January 1st will receive the standard three-year certification period. SBA will begin accepting applications for certification on January 9th. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.

17) Networked at the Montana Chamber’s Business Days at the Capital. Participated in the Montana Infrastructure Coalition’s first weekly legislative session update zoom. Submitted a TIF application to the City of Great Falls on behalf of the Downtown Development Partnership seeking matching funds to undertake a downtown market assessment and develop an updated market-based economic development strategy to attract more private investment downtown over the next few years. Started reviewing the draft of the 2023 Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine. Began interviewing candidates for our two open positions (see GFDA Staff Openings below). Reviewed takeaways from the Winter Site Selection Consultant Forum and our business development plans for the first two quarters of 2023 with the GFDA Board of Directors. Please join us in welcoming Jim Dea of ERA Horizon Realty Group to our Board.

18) With a new year comes new opportunities. Our INVESTORS share the same enthusiasm & optimism about the future as we do. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—TD&H Engineering, Pacesetter Division—Bravera Bank; Community Division—Ferrin’s Furniture and Loucks & Glassley, PLLP. They are true champions of economic development and are the reason we can keep working towards our mission. If you want to help our region excel in the new year, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of GFDA Investors who make everything we do possible. THANK YOU for investing in the future of the Great Falls region!

A great start to the new year! Hope to see you at Ignite on Friday. Have a prosperous week!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

We have two great career opportunities to join the GFDA staff team. Download info on Small Business Advisor — Director Regional Small Business Development Center and Loan Originations & Closing Associate. GFDA is proud to be on Equal Opportunity Employer!

Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro set a record for competitiveness in 2022Q3 at 85.6% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Seattle’s 152.2%, Portland’s 122.2%, Bozeman’s 125.0%, Denver’s 111.2%, Salt Lake City’s 107.4%, Boise’s 105.4%, or Spokane’s 103.5%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

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; download AgriTech Park Flyer. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

December SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.110%; 20-year at 6.032%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.050%; 25-year refinance 6.128%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
Certification with SBA allows service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to compete for federal sole-source and set-aside contracts across the federal government. Certified veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) have additional opportunities to pursue sole-source and set-aside contracts at the Veterans Administration (VA) under the VA’s Vets First program. SBA’s new Veteran Small Business Certification program implements changes from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA 2021) which transfers the certification function from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to SBA as of January 1, 2023. The transfer will provide veterans with a central support point for their small business certification needs. The final rule, which provides program and governance guidance, was published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2022. Learn more here or contact one of our government contracting specialists, Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1184.

The 2023 Montana Economic Outlook Seminar is headed to Great Falls on January 24th. The theme is the Future of Montana and will highlight the latest economic trends for local economies and the state of Montana, with special focus on the new wave of in-migration and what it means for the state. To register, visit Economic Outlook Seminar’s website here.

Join us in person at GFDA on February 9th from 8:00-10:00 AM for the first in a quarterly series of STAR events designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with government agencies and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). The Northrop Grumman team will present via Zoom and we will have Q&A after the meeting. Connect with panelists from a variety of large and small businesses currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist your company in achieving its government contracting goals. Learn about new opportunities nationally and on or near missile wing Air Force Bases (Cheyenne, FE Warren, Malmstrom and Minot) Gain insight and information about the importance of registering with the large contractors, SAM.gov, and others to make your company more visible and propel your contracting opportunities. Find out about free resources to help you on your journey. Register here.

The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena.

The White House released a Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are many tax incentives that will be available for businesses, non-profits, and public agencies to reduce their energy costs and build new power generating facilities. We’ll be organizing briefings and trainings to help you learn and take advantage of these as more guidance is released. For now, download the Guidebook here. The National Association of Counties has prepared a summary of the IRA; view it here.

Have You Reviewed the New FCC Map? The FCC recently released a new map showing broadband availability across the country. Why is this important? There is more than $42 billion in federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure development projects, and it will be allocated based on the number of unserved and underserved locations identified in the FCC map. The FCC Broadband Map is available online, and you can enter a specific address to see the data on broadband speed and availability for a specific location. If you have questions or concerns about the information, the deadline for submitting challenges to the map is January 13. Online resources can guide you through the challenge process.

 

The Montana Work-Based Learning Collaborative, a network of public and private partners working to expand and improve on-the-job learning for Montana students, has released its first Work-Based Learning Toolkit for Employers. The toolkit provides outlines, forms, and frameworks for employers in four key areas for work-based learning success: meaningful projects, welcoming community, mentorship, and expectations/feedback. Download toolkit.

Export Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC), is organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary in June. They have grant funds to pay for 75% of the costs plus $2,000 toward travel costs. Grant funds are available for any of your export business development efforts. Contact Angelyn Deyoung, MDOC International Trade Officer, at adeyoung@mt.gov or 1-406-431-5075. We’re thinking about going back to exhibit and network at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in June, participating again in the USA Pavilion. If you may be interested in joining us to connect with Canadian energy, industrial, construction, logistics and related companies, contact Jolene at JScalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is offering funding through its 4th “F” Fund (4FF) to provide direct assistance to Montana bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the bioscience industry. The fund will provide grants of $250 to $5,000. In exceptional circumstances the fund may consider larger applications. Grants may be awarded in phases (e.g. $1,000 initially with additional $1,000 on achieving specific milestone). More info and application here.

We released the Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Montana region. The report, prepared by Tripp Umbach with the input and assistance of key local industry partners, details four key findings and four strategic actions to grow and diversify bioscience-related industries in Great Falls. This report, along with other key findings from our strategic planning process will help guide the efforts of GFDA moving forward. Contact Jake Clark with questions regarding the report, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.

 

The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

 

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.

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 Ten 12-30-22

Another beautiful mural added to Downtown Great Falls during the 2022 Montana ArtsFest.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 10 for 2022 celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

It’s a challenge to condense a great year into a Top 10, but here it goes!

1) Excellent progress has been made on Touro University’s new Montana Medical School in Great Falls with construction of the 100,000 square foot campus, first scholarships announced, and applications being accepted for the first class of medical students who will start in 2023.

2) Great progress has also been made on Calumet’s Montana Renewables renewable diesel and green hydrogen project, the largest value added ag project in the state’s history.

3) The first apartments opened in the 216-unit Arc Apartment Homes and construction started on the 124-unit Milwaukee Station and 216-unit Benefis and Farran Group apartment developments. Developers announced proposed projects totaling over 1,175 more apartments. NeighborWorks Great Falls made progress on getting the Baatz permanent supportive housing into construction. Tax credit allocation was secured for the 24-unit affordable carter Commons project to move forward.

4) Funding was secured for major infrastructure projects across our region, including $85 million for the St. Mary Diversion water project, $57 million for the Rocky Boy North Central Montana Rural Water System, and significant broadband projects being undertaken by the Blackfeet, 3 Rivers, and Charter. TDS announced it plans to build a high speed broadband fiber network throughout the City of Great Falls.

5) Numerous business expansions took place including the Great Falls Clinic Hospital and Outpatient Surgery Center, TC Glass, Independence Bank, Western Feed Corral, and Mountain View Coop. We recognized a record 32 female owned businesses at our annual Fire Wihtin event.

6) New businesses opened in many industry sectors. To name just a few, Big Iron Truck & RV Wash, Sustainable Oils, Farm Power Malt, Jersey Mike’s, and Coffee Republic. Numerous property redevelopments moved forward along Great Falls commercial corridors and many of our rural communities benefited from new businesses.

7) Downtown Great Falls momentum continued with construction starts on Alluvion’s Ricky Mountain Building redevelopment and The Gibson boutique hotel. New businesses opened including the Wild Hare, Hometana, Honey Hippo Play Cafe, and the Omerta Cigar Lounge. ArtsFest Montana added new murals and the City continued progress on Civic Center renovations.

8) Key community projects moved forward with construction started on the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center. The auto signage part of the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan was installed. Great Falls USAF made good progress on the future GBSD missile system. The Great Falls International Airport secured new flights and capacity and continued to make infrastructure improvements. Great Falls College MSU launched a new CDL training program with business support. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce launched the World of Wonder event to encourage students to aspire to great career opportunities.

9) GFDA and our partners made significant progress on our deep dive strategic planning, publishing a housing market assessment, COVID industry impact report, and industry assessments including defense, transportation and logistics, food/ag/bio processing, and bioscience. GFDA’s Board adopted new mission and vision statements and a framework for a new regional economic development strategy with four areas of focus: People, Place, Opportunities, and Team.

10) With fantastic support from our investors and partners, GFDA was able to substantially increase our resources and capacity to begin to implement parts of the ambitious new plan. We secured $6 million in new loan capital, purchased 250 acres for the Great Falls AgriTech Park, and created three new staff positions: Small Business Navigator, Resource Director, and a second Business Development Officer focused on expanding and diversifying regional food/ag/bio processing industries. We were recognized with six national and state economic development impact awards.

My apologies for the many achievements and advancements across the region in 2022 that I’ve missed in this quick summary. THANK YOU to every entrepreneur, business, real estate developer, nonprofit organization, public agency, and community member who invested and/or made great things happen in our region during the year!!!

If you want a look at great exciting things planned for the region in 2023, register to attend, or present, at Ignite 2023 on January 13, 2023 sponsored by Payne West Insurance! This annual event showcases major investments, business expansions, new businesses, and construction projects starting or completing in the 2023 calendar year. We have some exciting announcements lined up for the event. Register HERE!

Happy New Year!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

We have two great career opportunities to join the GFDA staff team. Download info on Small Business Advisor — Director Regional Small Business Development Center and Loan Originations & Closing Associate. GFDA is proud to be on Equal Opportunity Employer!

Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro set a record for competitiveness in 2022Q3 at 85.6% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Seattle’s 152.2%, Portland’s 122.2%, Bozeman’s 125.0%, Denver’s 111.2%, Salt Lake City’s 107.4%, Boise’s 105.4%, or Spokane’s 103.5%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

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; download AgriTech Park Flyer. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

December SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.110%; 20-year at 6.032%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.050%; 25-year refinance 6.128%. 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.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
Certification with SBA allows service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to compete for federal sole-source and set-aside contracts across the federal government. Certified veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) have additional opportunities to pursue sole-source and set-aside contracts at the Veterans Administration (VA) under the VA’s Vets First program. SBA’s new Veteran Small Business Certification program implements changes from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA 2021) which transfers the certification function from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to SBA as of January 1, 2023. The transfer will provide veterans with a central support point for their small business certification needs. The final rule, which provides program and governance guidance, was published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2022. Learn more here or contact one of our government contracting specialists, Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1184.

The 2023 Montana Economic Outlook Seminar is headed to Great Falls on January 24th. The theme is the Future of Montana and will highlight the latest economic trends for local economies and the state of Montana, with special focus on the new wave of in-migration and what it means for the state. To register, visit Economic Outlook Seminar’s website here.

The Department of Ag is hosting a Speed Pitch Competition at their MT Ag Tech Innovation and Investment Summit in Great Falls on January 24th. The summit will bring together entrepreneurs and investors. Do you have an AgTech Innovation? Are you ready to pitch to investors? We can help! Do you have a Montana business that strengthens and diversifies Montana’s ag industry? The Department of Ag is hosting a Speed Pitch Competition at the summit. Three prizes are offered, $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 AND numerous investors will be present. We can help you refine your pitch! Call Katesha to chat about your idea, 406.788.0860. To register or learn more about the summit, click here.

Join us in person at GFDA on February 9th from 8:00-10:00 AM for the first in a quarterly series of STAR events designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with government agencies and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). The Northrop Grumman team will present via Zoom and we will have Q&A after the meeting. Connect with panelists from a variety of large and small businesses currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist your company in achieving its government contracting goals. Learn about new opportunities nationally and on or near missile wing Air Force Bases (Cheyenne, FE Warren, Malmstrom and Minot) Gain insight and information about the importance of registering with the large contractors, SAM.gov, and others to make your company more visible and propel your contracting opportunities. Find out about free resources to help you on your journey. Register here.

The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena.

The White House released a Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are many tax incentives that will be available for businesses, non-profits, and public agencies to reduce their energy costs and build new power generating facilities. We’ll be organizing briefings and trainings to help you learn and take advantage of these as more guidance is released. For now, download the Guidebook here. The National Association of Counties has prepared a summary of the IRA; view it here.

Have You Reviewed the New FCC Map? The FCC recently released a new map showing broadband availability across the country. Why is this important? There is more than $42 billion in federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure development projects, and it will be allocated based on the number of unserved and underserved locations identified in the FCC map. The FCC Broadband Map is available online, and you can enter a specific address to see the data on broadband speed and availability for a specific location. If you have questions or concerns about the information, the deadline for submitting challenges to the map is January 13. Online resources can guide you through the challenge process.

 

The Montana Work-Based Learning Collaborative, a network of public and private partners working to expand and improve on-the-job learning for Montana students, has released its first Work-Based Learning Toolkit for Employers. The toolkit provides outlines, forms, and frameworks for employers in four key areas for work-based learning success: meaningful projects, welcoming community, mentorship, and expectations/feedback. Download toolkit.

Export Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC), is organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary in June. They have grant funds to pay for 75% of the costs plus $2,000 toward travel costs. Grant funds are available for any of your export business development efforts. Contact Angelyn Deyoung, MDOC International Trade Officer, at adeyoung@mt.gov or 1-406-431-5075. We’re thinking about going back to exhibit and network at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in June, participating again in the USA Pavilion. If you may be interested in joining us to connect with Canadian energy, industrial, construction, logistics and related companies, contact Jolene at JScalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is offering funding through its 4th “F” Fund (4FF) to provide direct assistance to Montana bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the bioscience industry. The fund will provide grants of $250 to $5,000. In exceptional circumstances the fund may consider larger applications. Grants may be awarded in phases (e.g. $1,000 initially with additional $1,000 on achieving specific milestone). More info and application here.

The Montana Energy Office at DEQ will host a second meeting on the funding the state of Montana qualifies for under Section 40101(d) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). These formula Grid Resilience funds are a subset of transmission related funding from DOE under IIJA and are unique in that they will be managed by states. The program will be available for 5 years and DEQ will be submitting its first application for funds by the deadline of March 31, 2023, after which it intends to issue a competitive solicitation for qualifying projects. The second public meeting will be held via Zoom on January 4th from 9:30-11:00 AM. Meeting information and registration is available here. Registration is required for this meeting. DEQ has some information available on its website here under the “Grid Resilience Formula Funding” drop down but the best source of information currently is hosted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

We released the Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Montana region. The report, prepared by Tripp Umbach with the input and assistance of key local industry partners, details four key findings and four strategic actions to grow and diversify bioscience-related industries in Great Falls. This report, along with other key findings from our strategic planning process will help guide the efforts of GFDA moving forward. Contact Jake Clark with questions regarding the report, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.

 

The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

 

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.

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.