Top 10 – 4/4/2021

We’ve been busy working on almost 200 active client projects and pursuing targets to invest in the region, but we’ve also been looking at the future. In addition to the housing development market analysis we announced last week, we’re going to be pursuing a range of market assessments to answer what’s next? Watch for details soon.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 10 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) Great Falls was named a Great American Defense Community by the Association of Defense Communities, recognizing the support our community and region provide to Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard!

2) Did you know buying a building is often more cost effective than leasing? Our High Plains Financial Board approved a $500,000+ SBA 504 loan for a Great Falls business owner that is doing just that. After years of leasing the entrepreneur decided that it was time to purchase. This will allow them to not only reduce the amount they will be paying monthly, but they will also be able to increase their owner equity. If your commercial space is not keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) Submitted a proposal to a major site selection consultant in collaboration with GTF. We periodically receive requests for information (RFIs) from site selectors and others. So far in 2021 we’ve received more RFIs than normal. All RFIs take a team effort. Thank you to the many partners we reach out to for information to make our proposals as complete and competitive as possible.

4) This week’s announcement of the week was the first Independence Bank branch opening in Great Falls! Check out the video announcement here – and help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to do business! If you need assistance moving your project forward, call Jolene at (406) 750-4481.

5) The Sip ‘N Dip was named one of the five most extraordinary bars in the world by Artful Living! See KRTV. Vision Net launched a new website with more content and a better client-focused interface. Demolition started to make way for the new Starbucks on 3rd Street NW on the west side of Great Falls.

6) The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) application will open April 8th. SBA hosted a webinar on with details about applying that you can listen to here. Ahead of time, review the application checklist and eligibility. You will need to be registered in 8AM to apply. While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application hasn’t come out yet, businesses will may need to be registered in SAM and DUNS to apply. If you need help with SAM registration you can talk to Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 590-1184. If you have questions about COVID recovery programs contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937.

7) Join us in welcoming the future CEO/Dean of Great Falls College MSU, Stephanie Erdmann!

8) Businesses fail for a wide variety of reasons. The ability to avoid, mitigate, assume, transfer, or finance risk enables a business to deal with many of the reasons businesses fail, including the opportunity cost of an insufficient labor force. Risk management was the topic of our April Small Business Webinar Series presentation with Dena Johnson of PayneWest Insurance. Nineteen entrepreneurs from around the state participated live. To gain insight on how to plan for risk, click here to watch the recording. To discuss how risk fits into a company’s strategic plan, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Rustin Lippincott started as our newest Business Development Officer. Welcome Rustin! We updated our Menu of Services & Staff Team flyer. One of our long-time clients was in town this week to sign a purchase agreement to expand into a new facility they plan to construct in Great Falls.

10) Lots of upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings. Looking to increase sales and develop repeat customers? Sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold. The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop for budding entrepreneurs is on April 8th. The popular Social Media Marketing workshop with KRose is back on April 13th. Need a website with e-commerce capabilities? Join us for our Website Bootcamp series starting April 20th. Ever considered selling goods or services to the government? Learn how in our Government Contracting 101 workshop on April 21st. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7.

11) Our Live in Great Falls talent attraction video has reached over 32,000 people on Facebook. 68% of viewers came from Montana, Washington, and California and the rest came from across the US. The video follows the story of 3 families or individuals that relocated to Great Falls and how awesome their lives are here! Watch now on YouTube.

12) Public Service Announcement from GSA, Federal Acquisition Service to Businesses registered in SAM: The expiration date for entity registrations due for renewal between April 1 and September 30, 2021 will have an additional 180 days added to its expiration date to allow businesses extra time because of the new SAM merger. FYI…The extension does not waive a company’s responsibility to keep their company information in SAM current and accurate. This is especially important if they are depending on their electronic SAM Representations and Certifications as part of their response on a Federal solicitation. They will be considered to be non-responsive to a solicitation if they have not updated their certifications to the new/current regulations that were not in SAM when the company last registered or renewed their SAM registration. Prior to bidding on an opportunity, update your SAM registration! If you have questions or would like more information, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) Please subscribe to our YouTube channels – both Great Falls Development Authority and Live in Great Falls Montana. If each account gets 100 subscribers, we’ll be able to get our own customs URL. (We are currently 79 and 95 subscribers away, respectively.) Just click on the links above and click “Subscribe”. It makes a huge difference for our marketing efforts; we would go from our channel being https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFBzSac2tX8oW1CKSbrKh_gto www.youtube.com/channel/GrowGreatFallsMontana – much better!!

14) Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.orgor call (406) 750-0314.

15) We continued to move projects along in Downtown Great Falls this week. We were able to connect a Downtown primary sector business with our Talent Attraction Director to assist in their expansion and we connected a developer from outside of our market with contacts in Great Falls for a possible project in Downtown. Also, be on the lookout for a major announcement Tuesday, April 6th at 4PM about a new Downtown project! If you’re interested in pursuing a project in Downtown Great Falls, call Christian 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

16) Check out these upcoming training from our partners. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp starting April 6. The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

17) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
Last year we started producing videos to tell the stories about great businesses throughout the Golden Triangle. Now we’ve commissioned a series of professional videos to use in business attraction and talent attraction. Telling compelling stories about entrepreneurial successes here is one of the best marketing tools we can employ to attract future entrepreneurs, businesses to expand into our region, and developers to build quality projects here.

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, LoenbroTransystems, LLC, and U.S. Bank for their Advance Division investments, M&D ConstructionOpportunity Bank, and PayneWest Insurance for their Pacesetter Division investments, Cappis Consulting and Tax for your Community Division investment, and City Bar for your Supporter Division investment. We could not do what we do without your continued support. Thank you for your time and commitment to growth, high wage jobs, and economic equity. See the complete list of Investors in Economic Development here. If you would like to discuss investment and learn more about how we pool, match, and leverage investor dollars, call Teresa at 406.781.9499.

Happy Easter!
Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
Moliere

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

Edition 487


GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdfdescribing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

Here is our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout.

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

March SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.043%; 20-year at 2.995%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.038%; 25-year refinance 3.084%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Do you need additional working capital? The SBA made changes to two of their working capital loan programs. The second round of PPP loans deadline has been extended to May 31st. The SBA also increased the EIDL loan limit to the lesser of 24 months of working capital or $500,000. If you have questions about either of these loans, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program will provide rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords will be able to apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.

The Montana Department of Commerce opened applications for the new Tribal Digital Tourism Business Development Grant. The pilot program will award up to $6,250 to help tourism-related entrepreneurs with digital assets to reach potential customers and convert them into sales. The application cycle is open through April 30.

The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email madeinmontana@mt.gov if you want to reactivate or check your info. The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is tentatively scheduled for September 10-11 in Helena. The Exhibitor application will be available in early May on the Made in Montana Tradeshow webpage.

Pro-tip: Post positivity! When you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and share something positive about Great Falls, tag @LiveinGreatFalls or @GrowGreatFallsMontana. We will like and share your posts. Follow our talent attraction effort, Live in Great Falls, on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

USDA announced that it is making an additional $35 million available this year in the Value-Added Producer Grant Program to support agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $76 million is available. USDA extended the application deadline to May 4. Read the full announcement here. Contact Lea McGiboney for help at 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

The Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine has been released. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. 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.

Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Job Service Great Falls is hosting online Job Fairs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 10-11 AM. Employers should contact a job Service Workforce Consultant at 406-791-5800 to participate.

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

Attention all businesses doing government contracting: Are you aware of the regulations for Cybersecurity? Don’t know where to start? Check out this E-Book – Cybersecurity 101 for Government Contractors. By entering the promo code “4PTAC2020” at the checkout link, you can receive it for free. For more information and future trainings on cybersecurity or doing business with the government, contact our government contracting advisor Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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.

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or (937) 489-3985.

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

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

Top 10 – 3/28/2021

Our first talent attraction video is LIVE – watch it on YouTube now! “Like” the video and “Subscribe” to the Live in Great Falls channel. If 100 users subscribe, we will be able to get our own custom channel URL. The video reached over 11,000 users on Facebook alone in the first 24 hours!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 26 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 for Biomedical Studiesannounced that Dr. Renee Pera of Cal Poly will become its new Director with plans to expand neurogenetic research in Great Falls. See Great Falls Tribune.

2) Hosted a visiting Site Selector that was a result of our Downtown Business Attraction efforts. We provided data from our JobsEQ system, discussed possible sites for a potential project in Great Falls and helped them connect with the right people for those sites. Met virtually with senior executives of a primary sector target discussing potential in our market. Continued work with a local primary sector business on a large proposed expansion. Started work on a response to an international site selector request for information. Discussed rail projects with visiting BNSF executives.

3) Montana ranks Number 1 in the nation to start a small business, according to the Motley Fool’s Blueprint! See KFBB.

4) The Tribune ran a great story about the education degree partnership between Great Falls College MSU and Northern University that allows students to earn a teaching degree without leaving Great Falls. Virtually meet the two finalists to become the new CEO/Dean of Great Falls College MSU this Monday and Tuesday, March 29-30, and voice your opinion. Times and login info here.

5) Lots of upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Looking to increase sales and develop repeat customers? Sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold. Learn Five Things to do Today to Manage Risk in Your Company in our next webinar coming up April 1st. The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop for budding entrepreneurs, is on April 8th. The popular Social Media Marketing workshop with KRose is back on April 13th. Need a website with e-commerce capabilities? Join us for our Website Bootcamp series starting April 20th. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7.

6) The City of Great Falls, in collaboration with the Downtown Development Partnership, won a $12,500 Montana Main Street grant to help install signs and kiosks that are part of the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan. The City of Havre won a $20,000 grant to complete a downtown master plan.

7) Do you need additional working capital? The SBA made changes to two of their working capital loan programs. The second round of PPP loans deadline has been extended to May 31st. The SBA also increased the EIDL loan limit to the lesser of 24 months of working capital or $500,000. If you have questions about either of these loans, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program will provide rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords will be able to apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.

9) Joined the Cascade Farmer’s Union tour of IND Hemp in Fort Benton. IND Hemp processes hemp grains and is expanding to fiber processing this summer. This is another great rotation crop for Golden Triangle farmers. For more information, visit IND Hemp.

10) The Downtown Development Partnership voted in favor of a TIF request for a catalyst project that will be coming soon to our core Downtown. Read more about this on The Electric. If you’re interested in applying for a TIF request and you are not sure where to start, call Christian at 406.836.0136.

11) Kaboom is planning on opening in April in Great Falls. It will include an arcade, laser tag, inflatable obstacle course, ninja park, and skee-ball. You can read articles about it on The Electric and on KRTV or check for updates on their Facebook Page. Dr. Heather Moore is returning home to Great Falls to open Homegrown Dental in May. Daydream Boutique is opening a new retail space in Great Falls. We love The Electric’s Business Bites!

12) Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-0314.

13) The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) application will open April 8th. SBA is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 30 from 12:30 to 2:00 PM MST; register here. Ahead of time, review the application checklist and eligibility. You will need a SAM number to apply. While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application hasn’t come out yet, businesses will need to be registered in SAM and DUNS to apply. If you need help with either of those you can talk to Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 590-1184. If you have questions about COVID recovery programs contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937.

14) GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

15) The Montana Department of Commerce opened applications for the new Tribal Digital Tourism Business Development Grant. The pilot program will award up to $6,250 to help tourism-related entrepreneurs with digital assets to reach potential customers and convert them into sales. The application cycle is open through April 30. KRTV featured one of our loan clients, Native Life in Browning, that is excited about the east side of Glacier National Park re-opening.

16) The Great Falls Area Chamber’s Ag Committee celebrated Ag Week with new videos featuring six local food and ag businesses. Check out the videos at https://www.greatfallschamber.org/agriculture/ or on Facebook.

17) KRTV featured GFDA investor Spark Architecture. Owner Sophia Sparklin recently reorganized her firm into a public benefit corporation. Spark Architecture was also featured as one of our success stories in 2020.

18) We issued an RFP seeking an industrial broker to list the Great Falls AgriTech Park to help us generate new leads for manufacturing and distribution companies that would build new facilities in our market.

19) Check out this upcoming training from our partners: The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

20) Participated in the virtual Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Center’s Spring 2021 Training Conference to learn the latest in government contracting, including legal and regulatory federal updates, cybersecurity compliance, and set-aside certifications affecting small businesses. This gives us an opportunity to gain valuable information and training for our PTAC clients to make them be more successful in government contracting.

21) Thank you to investor University of Providence for letting us know about the awesome app Handshake, which will make our internship job postings available to thousands of additional college students. Handshake is the “LinkedIn for college students and recent grads” – a great resources for finding candidates to fill your open positions.

22) Join us for Development Coffee on Friday, April 2nd at 7:00 AM to discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. If you have not received Zoom login information, contact Investment Director Teresa Schreiner to be added to our Development Coffee Distribution list.

23) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week

Through the affiliate we created and staff, High Plains Financial, we offer SBA 504 loans statewide. These loans help businesses to start and grow because they finance real property and long-term equipment with low-interest fixed-rate loans for up to 25 years and with equity as low as 10%. This helps businesses preserve their operating cash, allowing them to more quickly start and expand. We act as an agent for SBA in partnership with banks and credit unions which take first position.

24) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, First Interstate BankGreat Falls Clinic, and U.S. Bankfor their Advance Division Investments, and Mitchell Development and Investments and The Wendt Agency for their Community Division investments. Your investments continue to drive growth and high wage opportunities for our regional economy. Thank you for making things happen! You can see the list of GFDA Investors here. To learn more about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406-781-9499.

25) GFDA is proud to welcome its new GFDA Board members, Wayne Gillis, CEO from the Great Falls Clinic, and Dani Grebe, Principal Architect, AIA, from LPW Architecture. We appreciate your willingness to contribute time, expertise and new ideas to our strategic plan as we push for growth, high wage jobs, and diversification.

26) We hosted another brainstorming session about how best to put American Rescue Plan funds to work to strengthen our regional economy and help businesses and residents recover. I was able to participate in a great half-day roundtable with leaders of the International Economic Development Council. We signed a 4-month social media marketing contract with Development Counsellors International to expand our talent attraction efforts to recruit workforce to relocate to Great Falls.

Let’s keep the momentum growing!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“Power is the ability to get things done.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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

Edition 486


GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdfdescribing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

Here is our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

March SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.043%; 20-year at 2.995%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.038%; 25-year refinance 3.084%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email madeinmontana@mt.gov if you want to reactivate or check your info. The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is tentatively scheduled for September 10-11 in Helena. The Exhibitor application will be available in early May on the Made in Montana Tradeshow webpage.

Pro-tip: Post positivity! When you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and share something positive about Great Falls, tag @LiveinGreatFalls or @GrowGreatFallsMontana. We will like and share your posts. Follow our talent attraction effort, Live in Great Falls, on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

USDA announced that it is making an additional $35 million available this year in the Value-Added Producer Grant Program to support agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $76 million is available. USDA extended the application deadline to May 4. Read the full announcement here. Contact Lea McGiboney for help at 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

The Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine has been released. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. 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.

Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Trisha Gardner, CCHD Health Officer, presented a Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce webinar talking about workplace protocols with employees who have either been exposed, contact traced, waiting for results, and/or tested positive. Click here for the presentation and question and answer afterward.

If your supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 or if you are researching new product lines, you may be facing challenges sourcing certain items. The MEP National Network is leading a new effort to offer Supplier Scouting, a formal process to connect U.S. companies to domestic manufacturers that can meet specific supply chain needs. The program leverages the knowledge and connections of MEP manufacturing experts in every state. Contact MMEC’s adviser for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or 1-937-489-3985.

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts has been rescheduled for September 17-18. Exhibitor registration will open in early May 2021 and wholesale buyer registration will open in early July 2021. Made in Montana members are encouraged to verify their membership status and information in the online directory at madeinmontanausa.com to be sure it is accurate and up to date.

Job Service Great Falls is hosting online Job Fairs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 10-11 AM. Employers should contact a job Service Workforce Consultant at 406-791-5800 to participate.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership now exceeds 500 member companies offering over 235,000 online job listings. Employers, check out how you can gain access to fantastic employees!

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

Attention all businesses doing government contracting: Are you aware of the regulations for Cybersecurity? Don’t know where to start? Check out this E-Book – Cybersecurity 101 for Government Contractors. By entering the promo code “4PTAC2020” at the checkout link, you can receive it for free. For more information and future trainings on cybersecurity or doing business with the government, contact our government contracting advisor Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/.

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or (937) 489-3985.

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

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

Top 10 – 3/21/2021

GFDA announces its College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 24 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) All 42 members of GFDA’s Board of Directors signed a Letter of Support for the Osteopathic Medical School that the Touro College & University System plans in Great Falls.

2) The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) application will open April 8th. SBA is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 30 from 12:30 to 2:00 PM MST; register here. Ahead of time, review the  application checklist and eligibility. You will need a SAM number to apply. While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application hasn’t come out yet, businesses will need to be registered in SAM and DUNS to apply. If you need help with either of those you can talk to Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 590-1184. If you have questions about COVID recovery programs contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937.

3) Our announcement of the week was the million dollar site improvements of the C.M. Russell Museum. Check out the video announcement here – and help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to do business! We have resources to support would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses – contact Jolene to get connected (406) 750-4481.

4) The Lifelong Learning Center at Great Falls College MSU is accepting applications for its first-ever certified nursing assistant (CNA) program. See KRTV.

5) Our Loan Committee approved a gap financing package totaling $316,420 for an exciting startup business in downtown Great Falls. We love to see all the activity going on in downtown Great Falls and want to see more! If your business needs assistance with financing to start, innovate or expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) We hosted an interactive webinar, Making Great Falls A Remote Ready City, based on a recent Remote Ready Cities webinar by Fourth Economy and Livability Media. 14 individuals attended and there was great and insightful conversation on the future of Great Falls as a remote worker magnet. You can watch our interactive webinar on YouTube and watch the full Remote Ready Cities webinar on Fourth Economy’s website.

7) The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email madeinmontana@mt.gov if you want to reactivate or check your info. The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is tentatively scheduled for September 10-11 in Helena. The Exhibitor application will be available in early May on the Made in Montana Tradeshow webpage.

8) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Spots are still open for free one-on-one consultations with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold. Learn Five Things to do Today to Manage Risk in Your Company in our next webinar coming up April 1. The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop for budding entrepreneurs is on April 8th. And the popular Social Media Marketing workshop with KRose Marketing is back on April 13th.

9) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls is offering a limited number of free registrations to local community leaders and downtown businesses for the virtual National Main Street Now 2021conference April 12-14. Contact Joan Redeen at info@greatfallsbid.com or 406-727-5430. Registrants will be able to watch sessions live or later at their convenience.

10) Connected an agri-processing company to discuss gap financing options for a planned expansion. Met with two new businesses opening in downtown Great Falls and uncovered potential resources to help them. Answered questions to help a 10th Avenue South property owner in their goal of redeveloping their property. Discussed resource options with an entrepreneur working on two major recreation facilities. Fielded numerous phone calls with other business owners routing them to the right people to meet their needs. This is a bit of what we do for business development. Call us to help move your project forward, Jolene 406.750.4481.

11) GFDA’s Executive Committee approved commissioning a Great Falls housing market analysis to identify development opportunities for new homeownership and rental housing production. We’re undertaking this time-sensitive effort in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Association of REALTORS®. If you would like to partner with us as we put together the RFP, contact Brett at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) Our Executive Committee also held a special meeting to discuss potential uses of American Rescue Plan funds to propose to local and state leaders to help our economy recover and grow. GFDA’s Board will hold weekly informal discussions beginning Friday, March 26 at 11:00 AM.

13) Special thanks to veteran-owned businesses Electric City Coffee and Mountain Wave Distilling for speaking at our first Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship workshop of 2021. Ten potential entrepreneurs transitioning out of service at Malmstrom Air Force Base got access to Thad and Heidi Reiste and Jeff Miser’s insight in starting businesses. If you’re a veteran who owns a business, transitioning service members considering entrepreneurship would love to hear from you. Contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org to get on our guest speaking agenda for our next B2B on May 14th.

14) The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council voted this week to allow the opening of the east entrances to Glacier National Park. The move will allow for a somewhat normal tourist season. It is welcome news for tourism related businesses in Glacier County and beyond.  See story in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

15) Join us for Development Coffee on Friday, April 2nd at 7:00 AM to discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. This month’s development coffee will take place via Zoom. For login details, please register.

16) Pro-tip: Post positivity! When you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and share something positive about Great Falls, tag @LiveinGreatFalls or @GrowGreatFallsMontana. We will like and share your posts. Follow our talent attraction effort, Live in Great Falls, on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

17) Join the Montana Department of Labor and Industry next Wednesday March 24th at 12:00 PM for an Employer Town Hall with the theme Engaging Young Montanans: Understanding Montana’s Youth Employment Laws. If you’re an employer concerned about hiring young people for apprenticeships or internships due to working laws and other age-related issues, this town hall will provide guidance.

18) The Montana Chamber of Commerce released its Skills Gap Survey Results. 85% of the business respondents reported attempting to grow their Montana workforce in 2020. 64% are having difficulty filling both entry and mid-level positions. 36% have turned down business opportunities due to workforce challenges.

19) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners. Google Page Experience Workshop March 25th at 9 AM and 2 PM with our partners at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

20) The Montana World Trade Center is hosting a Montana-Ireland Virtual Trade Forum this Wednesday, March 24, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, in partnership with the Montana High Tech Business Alliance and the Montana BioScience Cluster Initiative.

21) We submitted an application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury for its Rapid Response Program. We are in the midst of an effort to rapidly grow our loan capital base so that we can continue to provide gap and bridge financing throughout the Golden Triangle.

22) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
We provide gap and bridge financing to entrepreneurs, businesses, real estate developers, and non-profits in the Great Falls trade area, Montana’s 13-county Golden Triangle region. We fill gaps that banks and credit unions cannot fill and provide bridge loans for things they can’t finance. This makes things happen that otherwise would not, which is our guiding principle. To date, we’ve made $40.6 million in loans that have leveraged over $200 million in private investment in our region. We’ve financed business startups and expansions, business attractions, community service facilities, historic and brownfield redevelopment, and housing production. Loans have ranged from $2,992 to $4 million packages. Our cumulative capital loss over the last 25 years is only 1%. We’ve recently issued loan commitments amounting to $2,377,260 and have another $5+ million in loans in underwriting.

23) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Loenbro for your Advance Division investment, BNSF Railway Company and KDS Networks for your Legacy Division investments, TD&H Engineering for your Pacesetter Division investment, Cascade Electric for your Community Division investment, and Anderson Family Pharmacy and Scott, Tokerud, and McCarty, P.C. for your Supporter Division investments. Keep in touch with us and share your concerns, thoughts and ideas. We want to hear from you. We consider ourselves stewards of your investment. Your investment drives the direction of the region, and your voice keeps us on target. See our list of Investors throughout the region on our website. To discuss investment, email Teresa at Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406.781.9499.

24) I was able to participate in parts of the annual Leadership Summit of the International Economic Development Council this week and plan to find time to watch sessions that I missed. We’re always trying to learn new economic development strategies from colleagues around the world that we can put to work here at home.

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“Attitude is everything.”
Diane von Furstenberg

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

Edition 485


GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

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

March SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.043%; 20-year at 2.995%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.038%; 25-year refinance 3.084%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

USDA announced that it is making an additional $35 million available this year in the Value-Added Producer Grant Program to support agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $76 million is available. USDA extended the application deadline to May 4. Read the full announcement here. Contact Lea McGiboney for help at 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

The Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine has been released. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. 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.

Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Trisha Gardner, CCHD Health Officer, presented a Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce webinar talking about workplace protocols with employees who have either been exposed, contact traced, waiting for results, and/or tested positive. Click here for the presentation and question and answer afterward.

USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements (REAP RES/EEI), with an application deadline of March 31. REAP funds agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems for their operations. Grant funding is available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs with a maximum of $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Guaranteed loan funding is also available in conjunction with grant funding.

Attention Small Businesses! Sign up Today!- Virtual Capability Briefings with U.S. Army Corps are available…This is a great chance to get a virtual one-on-one meeting to market your business to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. See official announcement. If you would like information on how our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) can help you with other government contracting opportunities, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

If your supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 or if you are researching new product lines, you may be facing challenges sourcing certain items. The MEP National Network is leading a new effort to offer Supplier Scouting, a formal process to connect U.S. companies to domestic manufacturers that can meet specific supply chain needs. The program leverages the knowledge and connections of MEP manufacturing experts in every state. Contact MMEC’s adviser for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or 1-937-489-3985.

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts has been rescheduled for September 17-18. Exhibitor registration will open in early May 2021 and wholesale buyer registration will open in early July 2021. Made in Montana members are encouraged to verify their membership status and information in the online directory at madeinmontanausa.com to be sure it is accurate and up to date.

Job Service Great Falls is hosting online Job Fairs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 10-11 AM. Employers should contact a job Service Workforce Consultant at 406-791-5800 to participate.

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Falls Public Schools partnered to create a Military Welcome to Great Falls videofor military service members and their families.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership now exceeds 500 member companies offering over 235,000 online job listings. Employers, check out how you can gain access to fantastic employees!

If you missed the Invest Downtown Great Falls event, visit our Downtown Great Falls page to watch the recording and hear about Downtown Successes, Opportunities, the Visioning, and the announcement of Mountain Wave Distilling. While you’re visiting our Downtown page, check out some more opportunities that are available in Downtown Great Falls! For more information or to inquire about some of these opportunities, call Christian Leinhauser at 406.836.0136 or email, CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

There are many documented benefits of remote working and there are unique stressors. We explored these stressors and management techniques with Erin Butts, GFPS, and the Stop the Stigma Team on a workforce focused webinar. In case you missed it, here are the slides which include contact information for Erin if you want to follow up.

Attention all businesses doing government contracting: Are you aware of the regulations for Cybersecurity? Don’t know where to start? Check out this E-Book – Cybersecurity 101 for Government Contractors. By entering the promo code “4PTAC2020” at the checkout link, you can receive it for free. For more information and future trainings on cybersecurity or doing business with the government, contact our government contracting advisor Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great Falls Tourism has a host of resources available to help local businesses deal with the pandemic. Check out the resources at https://visitgreatfallsmontana.org/COVID-19/. If you are a business owner and need materials to help educate your customers on how to stay safe, Great Falls Tourism is here to help, contact Rebecca Engum at 406-761-4436 to arrange for material distribution.

The Montana Department of Commerce is offering business grants to increase your international digital marketing efforts. Read more here.

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

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/.

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or (937) 489-3985.

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

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

Top 10 – 3/14/2021

We have fascinating businesses throughout the Great Falls trade area — Montana’s Golden Triangle. One of our business outreach visits this week was with Warhorse Development LLC, owned by former Marine Chas and his wife Dawn, in Valier. They are a leading supplier of support bags for rifles.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 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) Congratulations to the local high school entrepreneurs who participated in the Montana Chamber Foundation’s The Prospects competition. Six winners from the Golden Triangle! Graze, Ben Archer, Fergus County High School in Lewistown second place $2,500 prize for New Business Idea. Dual-Metal Reality Heatbreak, Cialeo Smith, Fergus County High School in Lewistown, third place $1,500 prize for New Business Idea. These two finalists also won $10,000 scholarships from the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Montana State University. Wow! Paris Gibson Education Center in Great Falls won a $500 prize for Community Inspiration. Wholesome Hal’s, Hallie Thompson, Great Falls High School won a $250 gift card Honorable Mention and the Marketing Mentorship sponsored by Tara Beam of the Roadhouse Diner in Great Falls. Thanks Tara! Sun River Valley Robotics and Via’s Productions each won $500 prizes for Golden Triangle Awards provided by GFDA. See Montana Chamber Foundation’s press release for more details. Congratulations to all involved for Untaming Your Entrepreneurial Spirit!

2) A number of projects made the news this week. We’ll fill you in on more details as these exciting developments move forward. Read about Independence Bank and River’s Edge Trail on KRTV, Colored Snow shaved ice on KRTV, Black Eagle SmokeStack Amphitheater and a ski/tubing hill on Great Falls Tribune, and Starbucks on TheElectric. KRTV ran a great story about the expansion of Jeremiah Johnson Brewing.

3) The American Rescue Plan adopted in DC this week has a number of things in it that we’ll be following and getting you information about. The SBA will have a new Restaurant Revitalization Fund that includes restaurants, caterers, food trucks, and bars. Additional funds were appropriated for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). SBA is still accepting applications for these loans. PPP loan eligibility was extended to 501(c)(5), 501(c)(7), and 501(c)(8) non-profits. The size of eligible 501(c)(3) non-profits was increased to 500 employees. Congress may soon approve an extension of the current March 31 PPP deadline. We’ll keep pushing out more details as they become available. Please rely on official agency info and beware of the many scam thieves out there! Contact our SBDC COVID business specialist, Nathan Reiff, for help with accessing these programs; NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

4) SBA 504 loan rates for March, including fees, were 2.995% fixed for 20-year real estate loans and 2.684% fixed for 10-year equipment loans. Contact Jill for more info about how you can use these loans to reduce your equity requirements and save money on interest in partnership with your bank or credit union. JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

5) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings:  Boots to Business, our pre-business workshop for transition military personnel starts March 18th. Spots are still open for free one-on-one consultations with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold. Learn Five Things to do Today to Manage Risk in Your Company in our next webinar coming up April 1.

6) Did you know that SAM.GOV is changing? The latest GSA’s target date for transition and retirement of legacy SAM is May 24th. At that time beta.sam.gov and SAM.GOV will merge. A new Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) generated by the System for Award Management (SAM) will replace the proprietary D-U-N-S® (DUNS) number as the official identifier for entities doing business with the federal government. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed agencies to complete their transition to using the SAM-generated UEI by April 2022. Until then the DUNS number will continue to be the UEI for assignment, monitoring, and validation of businesses involved with the federal government during the extended transition period. For more information on these changes contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Met with two developers who are interested in downtown real estate re-development projects. Timing was perfect for Christian to take the International Economic Development Council’s virtual Real Estate Development and Reuse course to gain additional tools to aid developers. If you’re interested in pursuing a downtown Great Falls real estate project, call Christian 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) Is Great Falls positioned to take advantage of the emerging post-pandemic remote workforce? More and more remote workers are looking for places to set up and spread out, and we want to make Great Falls that place. Join us for an online brainstorming workshop, Making Great Falls A Remote Ready City, on Friday, March 19th at 10:00 AM.

9) There are 589 short term rentals (STRs) in the Golden Triangle according to a report issued by the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. Every county has some with cascade County leading the way at 242 STR’s, 179 of which are within the City of Great Falls. Download the full statewide report.

10) Short term rentals and population growth have created market opportunities for housing developers across the Golden Triangle. This was emphasized by rural partners during our monthly Golden Triangle Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Network virtual meeting this week. If you’re a housing developer looking to gather more information about demand in rural communities, Rich can put you in contact with our rural economic development partners. We have been using subordinate bridge loans to spur apartment construction in Great Falls and can do this throughout the Triangle. We’re always looking for more business supporters to join our Network. Our goal is to help existing businesses to survive and thrive and spur more startup entrepreneurs. Email Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Do you need working capital for your business? The EIDL loan can offer up to 6 months of working capital capped at 150,000 at 3.75 percent interest for up to 30 years. Or if you haven’t done Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) it is open till March 31st. There is also a new calculation for sole proprietors Independent contractors, and self-employed individuals. If you would like help applying for or comparing these loans give Nathan Reiff a call at 406-403-4937 or email NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) USDA announced that it is making an additional $35 million available this year in the Value-Added Producer Grant Program to support agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $76 million is available. USDA extended the application deadline to May 4. Read the full announcement here. Contact Lea McGiboney for help at 406-770-4291 or lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

13) The Great Falls Association of REALTORS® invites you to register for Policy, Practice, Process: Transforming Neighborhoods through Equitable Revitalization – a free webinar series presented by the National Association of REALTORS® in partnership with the Center for Community Progress. The six-part series focuses on realizing equitable revitalization strategies, exploring why vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties exist and how they affect community stability; how data can guide equitable, effective, and efficient solutions; how to transition VAD properties into assets; and opportunities for building partnerships between REALTORS®, local government, and community stakeholders focused on addressing VAD properties. The first webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16, at 2:00 PM EDT. You can review the full series description and register here.

14) Check out this upcoming training from our partners at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce: Google Page Experience Workshop, March 25th at 9 AM and 2 PM. Do you want to stay relevant and visible in the online world? Google is launching an algorithmic page experience update in late spring and it’s going to be a pretty significant impact on everyone.

15) Jeff Tripp started work this weekas a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Project Manager to assist in designing and launching a volunteer entrepreneur mentorship network. Jeff is an entrepreneur with a background in community and economic development supporting veterans, housing projects, businesses, and mentorship in the Denver metro area. In creating a network of volunteer mentors, we hope to build internal capacity, bridge gender, racial, and rural/urban divides, and leverage partnerships to spur entrepreneurship throughout the Golden Triangle. Jeff can be reached at Jeff@GrowGreatFalls.org. We welcomed Jeff as our announcement of the week.

16) Now Hiring! Women’s Business Center Manager. Our University of Montana partners, Pursue Your Passions and Montana Enterprise Technology Center (MonTEC) seek a manager to launch the new Women’s Business Center. The WBC Manager will provide business counseling, create and promote classes and trainings, and host events for current and aspiring women business owners. The WBC Manager will manage operations of the decentralized center including the supervision of two, full-time WBC Business Advisors to be hired in Great Falls and Fort Belknap. For more details or to apply, visit the online MonTEC Submittable Application. The application deadline has been extended to March 21.

17) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
This week let me tell you about our Brownfields program that we offer in partnership with EPA. Our goal is to drive more redevelopment of underutilized properties in the region, especially in downtowns and old industrial areas such as parts of the Great Falls riverfront. We provide free hazardous material property assessments to developers, businesses and non-profits, usually during pre-purchase analysis of potential redevelopment sites. The assessments are conducted by highly skilled local firms which specialize in this work. We also provide low interest subordinate loans to clean up properties as part of redevelopment projects, including new construction on contaminated land. Dozens of businesses, developers and non-profits have moved forward with investments with our help, putting these properties back into use and increasing local property values.

18) Participated in meetings of the International Economic Development Council’s Economic Development Research Partners. We’re proud to be part of this network of 71 of the top economic development organizations in the world that pool resources to do cutting edge practitioner-driven research on best in class economic development.

I was lucky to get my first COVID vaccination this week. Thank you to everyone making vaccinations available!

It’s exciting to see so many projects underway and about to start!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
Madam C.J. Walker

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

Edition 484


GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

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

March SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.043%; 20-year at 2.995%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.038%; 25-year refinance 3.084%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

A new resource for Montana employers will launch on March 17. Workforce Connections Across Montana is the official launch of the new Workforce Connections website, created through a collaborative effort between the Montana Department of Labor and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce. The website connects today’s employers with tomorrow’s workforce. This event on March 17th at Noon will include panel members from business, education and government and features Gov. Greg Gianforte as the keynote speaker. Register here.

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

The Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine has been released. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. 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.

Follow Live in Great Falls on Instagram and Facebook! We’re growing these social media platforms every day – give us a follow and share with your friends. Help us attract talent to Great Falls!

Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

The SBA has released additional information on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, including updated FAQ’s, eligibility requirements document, preliminary application checklist and additional video tutorials for live venue operators or promoters, talent representatives and museum operators. All SVOG program information can be found on the SBA website at Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (sba.gov). Contact our COVID business specialist Nathan Reiff for help accessing any recovery programs; NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

We are looking for a local writer to do a freelance project. The writer should have familiarity with Great Falls and the surrounding region, including history, demographics, economy, and culture. Please reach out to Talent Attraction Director Soren Chargois Ebbasi at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147 if you are interested or would like to suggest a writer.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Trisha Gardner, CCHD Health Officer, presented a Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce webinar talking about workplace protocols with employees who have either been exposed, contact traced, waiting for results, and/or tested positive. Click here for the presentation and question and answer afterward.

USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements (REAP RES/EEI), with an application deadline of March 31. REAP funds agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems for their operations. Grant funding is available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs with a maximum of $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Guaranteed loan funding is also available in conjunction with grant funding.

Attention Small Businesses! Sign up Today!- Virtual Capability Briefings with U.S. Army Corps are available…This is a great chance to get a virtual one-on-one meeting to market your business to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. See official announcement. If you would like information on how our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) can help you with other government contracting opportunities, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

If your supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 or if you are researching new product lines, you may be facing challenges sourcing certain items. The MEP National Network is leading a new effort to offer Supplier Scouting, a formal process to connect U.S. companies to domestic manufacturers that can meet specific supply chain needs. The program leverages the knowledge and connections of MEP manufacturing experts in every state. Contact MMEC’s adviser for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or 1-937-489-3985.

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts has been rescheduled for September 17-18. Exhibitor registration will open in early May 2021 and wholesale buyer registration will open in early July 2021. Made in Montana members are encouraged to verify their membership status and information in the online directory at madeinmontanausa.com to be sure it is accurate and up to date.

Job Service Great Falls is hosting online Job Fairs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 10-11 AM. Employers should contact a job Service Workforce Consultant at 406-791-5800 to participate.

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Falls Public Schools partnered to create a Military Welcome to Great Falls videofor military service members and their families.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership now exceeds 500 member companies offering over 235,000 online job listings. Employers, check out how you can gain access to fantastic employees!

If you missed the Invest Downtown Great Falls event, visit our Downtown Great Falls page to watch the recording and hear about Downtown Successes, Opportunities, the Visioning, and the announcement of Mountain Wave Distilling. While you’re visiting our Downtown page, check out some more opportunities that are available in Downtown Great Falls! For more information or to inquire about some of these opportunities, call Christian Leinhauser at 406.836.0136 or email, CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

There are many documented benefits of remote working and there are unique stressors. We explored these stressors and management techniques with Erin Butts, GFPS, and the Stop the Stigma Team on a workforce focused webinar. In case you missed it, here are the slides which include contact information for Erin if you want to follow up.

Attention all businesses doing government contracting: Are you aware of the regulations for Cybersecurity? Don’t know where to start? Check out this E-Book – Cybersecurity 101 for Government Contractors. By entering the promo code “4PTAC2020” at the checkout link, you can receive it for free. For more information and future trainings on cybersecurity or doing business with the government, contact our government contracting advisor Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great Falls Tourism has a host of resources available to help local businesses deal with the pandemic. Check out the resources at https://visitgreatfallsmontana.org/COVID-19/. If you are a business owner and need materials to help educate your customers on how to stay safe, Great Falls Tourism is here to help, contact Rebecca Engum at 406-761-4436 to arrange for material distribution.

The Montana Department of Commerce is offering business grants to increase your international digital marketing efforts. Read more here.

USDA announced the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the United States. The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. The final rule is available for viewing in the Federal Register and will be effective on March 22, 2021. More information about the provisions of the final rule is available on the Hemp Production web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service website.

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.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/.

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or (937) 489-3985.

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

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

Top 10 – 3/7/2021

Two local retailers planning for growth participated in a private session of our cash flow and profitability workshop, Profit Mastery. “No matter how long you’ve been open or how big your company is, you will learn something valuable from this course,” John Chapman, owner of Tacticality Workwear in Great Falls. Contact Jason to learn more about scheduling a workshop, JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 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) Is Great Falls positioned to take advantage of the emerging post-pandemic remote workforce? More and more remote workers are looking for places to set up and spread out, and we want to make Great Falls that place. Join us for an online brainstorming workshop, Making Great Falls A Remote Ready City, on Friday, March 19th at 10:00 AM.

2) This week’s announcement of the week is the expansion of Jeremiah Johnson Brewing Company’s production. Check out the video announcement and help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to do business! We have resources to support would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses – contact Jolene to get connected (406) 750-4481.

3) A new resource for Montana employers will launch on March 17. Workforce Connections Across Montana is the official launch of the new Workforce Connections website, created through a collaborative effort between the Montana Department of Labor and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce. The website connects today’s employers with tomorrow’s workforce. This event on March 17th at Noon will include panel members from business, education and government and features Gov. Greg Gianforte as the keynote speaker. Register here.

4) Did you know that our Great Falls regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center isn’t just for SAM assistance, but so much more? This week we worked with a new woman-owned business to evaluate their potential for government contracting and set-aside certifications. Give us a call or send us an email so we can help look at diversifying your company’s potential expansion into government contracting. Contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) In case you missed it – the Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine was released last week. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147.

6) Follow Live in Great Falls on Instagram and Facebook! We’re growing these social media platforms every day – give us a follow and share with your friends. Help us attract talent to Great Falls!

7) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop designed to answer entrepreneur’s burning questions before they open their doors on March 9th. Boots to Business, our pre-business workshop for transition military personnel and veterans starts March 18th. Spots are still open for free one-on-one consultations with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold.

8) This week we approved three brownfield assessments for potential redevelopment projects. Do you have a project or property that is being inhabited by the presence or potential presence of contamination? Contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253 for information on how to get your project moving forward.

9) Black Heart Coffee opened in Great Falls; see KRTV.

10) Do you have a food, ag, or renewable energy business or business idea? We want to hear about it! We are part of a network of Food and Ag Development Centers across the state. The goal is to help Montanans innovate and grow businesses that produce and commercialize food, agricultural and renewable energy products and processes, creating wealth and jobs in our communities and on our farms and ranches. We are one of the these centers here to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and innovate. Connect with Jolene Schalper, JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) On Friday the SBA released additional information on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, including updated FAQ’s, eligibility requirements document, preliminary application checklist and additional video tutorials for live venue operators or promoters, talent representatives and museum operators. All SVOG program information can be found on the SBA website at Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (sba.gov). Contact our COVID business specialist Nathan Reiff for help accessing any recovery programs; NREiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

12) The GFDA Board of Directors approved our Business Development Plan and Operations Plan for 2021. The Board also discussed a series of target industry, housing, and workforce market assessments that we will seek to commission this year to identify new opportunities to strengthen and grow our regional economy. We just need to find partners and money…

13) Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

14) Our target outreach for Downtown Great Falls is working! We’ve received call backs from targeted leads and have some promising meetings and site visits planned in the next few weeks. Also, be on the lookout for more Downtown business announcements coming soon. Have you been thinking about expanding your business into Downtown Great Falls or interested in residential development? Call Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss opportunities in Downtown.

15) Check out this upcoming training from our partners at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce: Google Page Experience Workshop, March 25th at 9 AM and 2 PM. Do you want to stay relevant and visible in the online world? Google is launching an algorithmic Page Experience update in late spring, and it’s going to be a pretty significant impact on everyone!

16) Several long awaited projects are moving forward! We’re here to help you access tools and resources; advocate for your project; partner with your bank to fill gaps in financing; promote your project; aid in talent attraction; and navigate each stage of your business. Call Nathan to talk about your project, 1.406.403.4937, NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

18) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week

Business retention and expansion is at the core of our economic development strategy. Reaching out to existing businesses throughout Great Falls and the Golden Triangle, learning about their opportunities and challenges, and helping them to prosper and grow leads to capital investment, job creation and products/services sought after by residents. Taking care of your existing customers (in our case existing businesses) is also the best way to attract customers (startup entrepreneurs, spin-off businesses and companies expanding into our region.

19) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Guy Tabacco Construction and LPW Architecture for your Leadership Division investments, and Northern Directory Publishing and The Wendt Agency for your Community Division investments. Your dollars determine how we meet the constantly-evolving needs of businesses, real estate developers, and entrepreneurs. If you have questions about investment and would like to learn more, contact Teresa at (406) 781-9499 or Teresa.

Kiplinger projects U.S. GDP will grow 6.2% in 2021. With the prime interest rate at 3.25% — and projected to stay there for the next year — it’s a great time to expand!

Have a great week,

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“I’m always asked, ‘What’s the secret to success?’ But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”
Dwayne Johnson

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

Edition 483


Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

February SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.752%; 20-year at 2.714%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.794%; 25-year refinance 2.757%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

You are facing tough decisions right now. We’ve developed toolkits to help you decide what is best for your business. Toolkits include: Crisis Toolkit, Hibernation Toolkit, Business Resiliency Guide, Re-Opening Toolkit, and a Child Care Whitepaper. All of these can be found on our website.

We are looking for a local writer to do a freelance project. The writer should have familiarity with Great Falls and the surrounding region, including history, demographics, economy, and culture. Please reach out to Talent Attraction Director Soren Chargois Ebbasi at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147 if you are interested or would like to suggest a writer.

The University of Montana is accepting applications for a program manager to lead its new SBA-funded Women’s Business Center (WBC). The program manager will be based in Missoula to lead a team of three business advisors serving the Missoula area, Golden Triangle, and Fort Belknap Reservation. GFDA and the Fort Belknap Reservation are partnering on this effort to bring more resources for female entrepreneurs to the state. The application deadline is March 10. Apply online via Submittable.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Trisha Gardner, CCHD Health Officer, presented a Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce webinar talking about workplace protocols with employees who have either been exposed, contact traced, waiting for results, and/or tested positive. Click here for the presentation and question and answer afterward.

USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements (REAP RES/EEI), with an application deadline of March 31. REAP funds agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems for their operations. Grant funding is available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs with a maximum of $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Guaranteed loan funding is also available in conjunction with grant funding.

Attention Small Businesses! Sign up Today!- Virtual Capability Briefings with U.S. Army Corps are available…This is a great chance to get a virtual one-on-one meeting to market your business to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. See official announcement. If you would like information on how our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) can help you with other government contracting opportunities, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

If your supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 or if you are researching new product lines, you may be facing challenges sourcing certain items. The MEP National Network is leading a new effort to offer Supplier Scouting, a formal process to connect U.S. companies to domestic manufacturers that can meet specific supply chain needs. The program leverages the knowledge and connections of MEP manufacturing experts in every state. Contact MMEC’s adviser for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or 1-937-489-3985.

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts has been rescheduled for September 17-18. Exhibitor registration will open in early May 2021 and wholesale buyer registration will open in early July 2021. Made in Montana members are encouraged to verify their membership status and information in the online directory at madeinmontanausa.com to be sure it is accurate and up to date.

Job Service Great Falls is hosting online Job Fairs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 10-11 AM. Employers should contact a job Service Workforce Consultant at 406-791-5800 to participate.

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Falls Public Schools partnered to create a Military Welcome to Great Falls videofor military service members and their families.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership now exceeds 500 member companies offering over 235,000 online job listings. Employers, check out how you can gain access to fantastic employees!

If you missed the Invest Downtown Great Falls event, don’t fret, we recorded it! Make your way over to our Downtown Great Falls page to watch the recording and hear about Downtown Successes, Opportunities, the Visioning, and the announcement of Mountain Wave Distilling. While you’re visiting our Downtown page, check out some more opportunities that are available in Downtown Great Falls! For more information or to inquire about some of these opportunities, call Christian Leinhauser at 406.836.0136 or email, CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

There are many documented benefits of remote working and there are unique stressors. We explored these stressors and management techniques with Erin Butts, GFPS, and the Stop the Stigma Team on a workforce focused webinar. In case you missed it, here are the slides which include contact information for Erin if you want to follow up.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! 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. The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. For printed copies or to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Help us recruit talent to our region! Be sure to follow Live in Great Falls on Instagram and Facebook. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

Attention all businesses doing government contracting: Are you aware of the regulations for Cybersecurity? Don’t know where to start? Check out this E-Book – Cybersecurity 101 for Government Contractors. By entering the promo code “4PTAC2020” at the checkout link, you can receive it for free. For more information and future trainings on cybersecurity or doing business with the government, contact our government contracting advisor Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great Falls Tourism has a host of resources available to help local businesses deal with the pandemic. Check out the resources at https://visitgreatfallsmontana.org/COVID-19/. If you are a business owner and need materials to help educate your customers on how to stay safe, Great Falls Tourism is here to help, contact Rebecca Engum at 406-761-4436 to arrange for material distribution.

The Montana Department of Commerce is offering business grants to increase your international digital marketing efforts. Read more here.

USDA announced the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the United States. The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. The final rule is available for viewing in the Federal Register and will be effective on March 22, 2021. More information about the provisions of the final rule is available on the Hemp Production web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service website.

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

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.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center has put together a free online Montana Cooperatives 101 course. This self-paced resource includes recorded presentations, activities and custom videos that will help you learn about the cooperative business model and successful Montana coops.

Northrup Grumman is working to gather subcontractors for the missile upgrade project. This is a long process and they expect to gather information for three to four years. If you are a small business interested in doing business with Northrop Grumman, please complete the Supplier Information form at https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/.

Manufacturers, if you’re not engaged with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center hosted by MSU, you’re missing out on powerful resources, services, and networking. MMEC clients report cost savings of $160.3 million, new investment of $328.4 million, $1.3 billion in new and retained sales, and 6,186 new and retained jobs since 2000. We’re proud to host an MMEC business adviser who covers the Golden Triangle region. Contact Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or (937) 489-3985.

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.