Top 10 for 12-6-22

Construction on the new Aim High Big Sky indoor aquatics and recreation center in Great Falls is making great progress. The 20-million-dollar project is tentatively scheduled to be complete by the fall of 2023.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for last 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) Calumet Montana Renewables is moving forward with strong local support. The Cascade County Commission voted unanimously to support Industrial Revenue Bonds for the project. These are just one of many tools we use to grow and diversify our economy. To learn more about Montana Renewables click here.

2) The EPA finalized approval of canola oil for several additional types of fuel under the renewable fuel standard including renewable diesel. Great news for area farmers and Calumet Montana Renewables!

3) Congratulations on the opening of a new bakery and coffee shop in Shelby. The Whistle Stop Bakery and Coffee Shop officially opened their doors on November 26th. Read more about the new bakery in the Shelby Promoter.

4) The new CDL program at Great Falls College MSU is achieving great success. Download flyer to learn first results!

5) We are putting lots of effort into housing production because we want Great Falls to be an affordable community. We have been working to close the gap between income and cost of living by supporting the creation of higher wage career opportunities while promoting housing production to keep our cost of living as low as possible. We have much work to do on both rentals and homeownership, however, two of the housing affordability indices we monitor show we’re doing better than many other communities in the region.

Great Falls housing is more affordable than other communities in the region, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve home ownership affordability monitor that compares housing prices with household income. As of September, Great Falls earned an affordability score of 67.4, a far cry from a perfect score of 100 which only Toledo, Ohio scored, but better than Billings 62.9, Helena 60.4, Bozeman 52.4, Kalispell 50.9, Spokane 49.9, Coeur d’Alene 49.7 or Missoula 45.4.

Moody’s predicts that housing prices will drop 15-20% in 2023 in the 210 metro housing markets that are “significantly overpriced” if there is no recession and 25-30% if there is a recession. Moody’s calculates significantly overpriced housing markets by comparing housing prices to household income. Any market that they score as 25% or more overpriced is in the “significantly overpriced” category that Moody’s predicts large drops in. Great Falls scores only 16.46% so we are not a significantly overpriced market. A number of markets in our region are scored as significantly overpriced by Moody’s, including Billings 31.03%, Missoula 37.84%, Spokane 53.15%, Idaho Falls 57.71%, Coeur d’Alene 62.6%.

So are homes cheaper in Great Falls than elsewhere and more likely to retain their value. Now we just need to build more!

6) October employment data released by the Montana Department of Labor indicates that the Great Falls MSA had 556 more people employed this October than pre-pandemic October 2019 and that our labor force this October was 381 people larger. Our unemployment rate this October was 2.7% which leaves 1,038 unemployed people in Cascade County looking for work.

7) Annie’s Tap House is officially open in Great Falls joining three other businesses in The Commons on Central co-op space. Learn the story behind the name in our Announcement of the Week. If you’re interested in expanding your business into Downtown Great Falls, call Christian at 406.836.0136 and let’s discuss the opportunities in Downtown!

8) We traveled to Shelby last week to partner with the Shelby Chamber of Commerce and Sweetgrass Development in a Business Pitch at The Alibi Lounge resulting in solid ideas and great feedback. If you are interested in partnering on a Business Pitch please reach out to Tony Peres at Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-2099.

9) The Montana Office of Tourism released three digital booklets detailing resources for partners including Made in Montana ProgramsTourism Grant Programs, and Montana Film Office Programs.

10) We networked with Ag Producers and Value Added Ag Companies at the Montana Grain Growers Association’s annual convention in Great Falls. There is plenty of opportunity in North Central Montana for all types of value added agriculture entrepreneurs and innovators. If you are interested in value-added products as a business or ag processing, contact Justin at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org or Katesha at Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss tools and resources to get your company to the next level.

11) The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is still accepting applications for their low interest rate participation loan. GFDA is an approved participating lender that can use this program to help your business innovate, expand, or stabilize. This program is a first come, first served program with limited funds available. If you have questions on the program please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) Our Small Business Webinar Series, co-hosted with MSU Extension, last week contained some great information about how setting up automations and reducing friction for your customers can yield big results. Steve Dogiakos of Choteau presented on how he helped the Montana Dinosaur Museum in Bynum increase sales by over 250% in the past few years.  To watch a recording of the presentation click here.

13) Our next government contracting webinar will be December 13th at 11:00 AM on “Can A DBE Certification Help My Woman-Owned Business?” featuring Shannon Hahn at MDT. To register, click here. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) Registration is now available for IGNITE 2023 attendees here! IGNITE 2023 is an energetic, fast-paced hybrid event where the Golden Triangle’s most exciting new business developments are announced. This year we already have three very significant projects to announce! The format is simple and quick: three-minute presentations on projects that will either start or open in 2023! If your business has an announcement and you’d like to present at the event contact Jake Clark; Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Sweetgrass Development released its draft economic development strategy and is seeking public comment.

16) Get ready for the first annual Montana AgTech Innovation & Investment Summit set for January 24, 2023 in Great Falls Montana. The summit will bring together entrepreneurs and investors. Do you have an AgTech Innovation? Are you ready to pitch to investor? We can help! Get your pitch ready with coaching from one of our business advisors. Call Katesha to learn more, 406.788.0860. To register or learn more about the summit, click here.

17) GFDA is governed by a large and diverse Board of Directors. The board is made up of Investor Members and representatives of public and private partners. We are pleased to welcome our two newest board members; Jim Dea, Broker/Owner of ERA Advantage Realty and Tyler Muzzana, Operations Manager/Director of Engineering of Energy West. These two have been key members of our community for years and we are looking forward to having their expertise & insights on our board. Welcome to the team Jim & Tyler!

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

19) GFDA relies on the support from our INVESTORS. Because of them, we are able to keep providing businesses with the tools & resources they need while also focusing on a number of initiates that will help to grow diverse economic opportunities. Recent investments Community Division— ERA Advantage Realty and Northern Directory Publishing. They along with our other investors and public partners all share the same goals to enhance the overall quality of life for our residents. If want to support our team & help to grow the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Progress!

Brett Doney

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

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

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.529%; 20-year at 6.452%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.470%; 25-year refinance 6.547%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The ConnectMT program is holding a second round of broadband outreach in-person and virtual sessions in December. For more information about ConnectMT and these upcoming events, please visit the ConnectMT website.

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

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Top Ten 11/27/22

Thank you to all who pitched this week as well as the Magpie for allowing us to host another fun and successful Business Pitch. A big thanks to the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce for cohosting with us. We will be hosting a Business Pitch in Shelby this week. Find out more about that one here. Reach out to Tony Peres with any questions at Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-2099.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 15 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) Touro University Montana is accepting applications! The state of the art facility is expected to be mostly complete by the end of the year with finishing touches occurring through March 2023. The first students will begin this summer. Touro is looking for scholarships for Montana students. If you’re interested in learning more, attend our meet and greet with Touro Leadership on December 13. Email Jolene for more information; JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

2) Congratulations to Montana Premium Processing, a producer owned multi-species meat processing facility, on officially opening its doors in Havre!

3) Our Loan Committee approved a $249,498.50 loan for an equipment purchase to help a local manufacture expand their business. GFDA will participate this loan with the Montana State Small Business Initiative (SSBCI 2.0) program. We also submitted 2 additional loans for approval to the state for the SSBCI 2.0 program totaling $711,000 which will leverage an additional $1,234,000. If you have a new or existing Montana businesses that wants to start, stabilized, pivot, expand or re-start please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss your options. Funds are very limited and will be on a first come first served basis.

4) Five Great Falls natives have opened Dahl House Aesthetics next to Dahlquist Realtors on Country Club Blvd in Great Falls. Collectively the medical team has 90 years of experience treating patients by combining science and beauty in their practice. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

5) The ConnectMT program is holding a second round of broadband outreach in-person and virtual sessions in December. For more information about ConnectMT and these upcoming events, please visit the ConnectMT website.

6) Our next government contracting webinar will be December 13th at 11:00 AM on “Can A DBE Certification Help My Woman-Owned Business?” featuring Shannon Hahn at MDT. To register, click here. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board voted to support a tax increment financing request from Talcott Properties for infrastructure and environmental remediation to support the next phase of development of West Bank Landing to include a 108-room hotel and a national restaurant chain. GFDA continues to strongly support this important riverfront redevelopment in the West bank Urban Renewal District. See The Electric.

8) We submitted a $20,000 Economic Vitality Transformation Strategy grant application to Montana Main Street on behalf of the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls. This would fund a market assessment of downtown properties to create a strategy for economic vitality. It will include commercial and housing development (including renovation and new construction), start-up businesses, expansions and new businesses.

9) Two new restaurants are coming to Great Falls, Chipotle and Highway 55! See The Electric’s Business Bites. The Bourbon Chicken food truck is moving into the former Missouri River Diner in Great Falls and Les Schwab plans a second tire center in Great Falls in The Marketplace; see last week’s The Electric Business Bites.

10) Registration is now available for IGNITE 2023 attendees here! IGNITE 2023 is an energetic, fast-paced hybrid event where the Golden Triangle’s most exciting new business developments are announced. This year we already have three very significant projects to announce! The format is simple and quick: three-minute presentations on projects that will either start or open in 2023! If your business has an announcement and you’d like to present at the event contact Jake Clark; Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) The National Center for Appropriate Technology, along with nationally recognized organic leaders, will offer an Organic Academy Road Show (OARS) session in Billings, Montana on December 6 and 7, 2022. Beginning farmers and ranchers in the northern Great Plains will have the opportunity to explore the regenerative, certified organic production systems for grains, oilseeds, and pulses. More info here.

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

13) Global News posted an article about our growing cross-border collaboration with Lethbridge, Alberta, see “Economic challenges and goals similar for Lethbridge and Great Falls, Montana.”

14) I hope you visited many local small businesses yesterday on Small Business Saturday. Here are some amazing statistics about Montana small businesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2021 there were 129,180 small businesses in Montana that represented 99.3% of all businesses in the state. Montana small businesses employed 250,680 people, 66.8% of all Montana employees. Between March 2020 and March 2021 there was a net increase of 2,138 new Montana small businesses. Women owned 46% of Montana’s small businesses.

15) GFDA relies on our INVESTORS and their support. The checks they write annually for our work allow us to keep providing resources and tools to help grow the region. Recent investments include: Community Division—Mighty Mo Brewing Co. & Rocky Mountain Carriers. They are champions of Great Falls and understand the importance of economic development. Thank you for investing in Great Falls! If you want to join the team that is growing the region, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Economic momentum continues to build across our region. We’re working with great clients on exciting projects that have not yet been announced, already gearing up for spring construction starts. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to see if we can help with your business start, expansion, modernization or diversification, or your real estate project.

Have a great week!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

 

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

Career Opportunity

We’re looking for a new team member. We have a great career opportunity: Business Advisor — Small Business Development Center Regional Director.

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

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.529%; 20-year at 6.452%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.470%; 25-year refinance 6.547%. 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.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is hosting a Produce Safety Grower Training Course to help producers to meet the requirements of institutional food buyers, December 6-7 via Zoom. This remote course will help producers develop a farm food safety plan by detailing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and reviewing the foundations of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). The course includes a copy of The Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Manual and a certificate of completion that satisfies the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule training requirements. Cost is only $25. Space in the course is limited and registration will close as soon as maximum number of participants has been reached. More information and registration here.

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Top Ten 11/20/22

One of the cool new murals created in downtown Great Falls during the 2022 Montana

ArtsFest this summer that we can enjoy year-round.

Here is our Top 16 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 Rod and Lisa Cline of Cut Bank on winning the first-place state “Community Impact Award” from the Reimagining Rural program, for their efforts to help revitalize downtown Cut Bank. Read the full story at the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

2) In 2021 personal income increased 6.5% in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) despite a significant drop in farm earnings, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total personal income grew by $279 million with wages and salaries increasing 8.2%. Per capita personal income grew by 6.3%, increasing by $3,189 to reach $53,765. Per capita personal income reached 83.8% of the national average, inching closer to our cost of living which in 2022Q3 was 85.6% of the national average.

3) Hosted the Montana Economic Development Conference bringing 180 professionals from across the state to Great Falls! The Newberry proved to be an excellent conference location with responsive staff and great amenities. The conference featured national subject matter experts zooming in as well as in person speakers. The response from the attendees was overwhelming positive. Many of our guests hadn’t been to Great Falls in a while and frequently told us how much it has changed and how exciting it is to be in our reinvigorated downtown! Well done team Great Falls!

4) We approved another loan for the Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative for a Great Falls business that is purchasing their real estate instead of leasing. This is a low interest rate loan participation that helps move potential deals forward that otherwise would not. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1056.

5) We hosted the 2022 Brownfields and Beyond DEQ Workshop at the Hotel Arvon Darkhorse this week. There were representatives from all parts of the State learning from national and state resources, sharing successful projects in their area, and making great connections for collaboration.

6) The Montana Department of Agriculture is hosting a Produce Safety Grower Training Course to help producers to meet the requirements of institutional food buyers, December 6-7 via Zoom. This remote course will help producers develop a farm food safety plan by detailing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and reviewing the foundations of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). The course includes a copy of The Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Manual and a certificate of completion that satisfies the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule training requirements. Cost is only $25. Space in the course is limited and registration will close as soon as maximum number of participants has been reached. More information and registration here.

7) We will be hosting two Business Pitch events in the upcoming weeks. The first will be this Tuesday, November 22nd at the Magpie in downtown Great Falls. The second will be November 29th at The Alibi in Shelby. For more information please check out our Business Pitch page here. Please reach out to Tony Peres with any questions at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) Cassie Campbell, owner of Spices N’ Spurs, has opened Mise en Place Kitchens in Great Falls. Mise en Place Kitchens is a shared commercial kitchen in Great Falls on 6th Street SW. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

9) We have a new flyer for the Great Falls AgriTech Park; download here. For info on shovel ready rail-served heavy industrial sites, contact Jolene at 1-406-750-4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Our next government contracting webinar will be December 13th at 11:00 AM on “Can A DBE Certification Help My Woman-Owned Business?” featuring Shannon Hahn at MDT. To register, click here. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) We had a great week in Downtown Great Falls working on our business attraction efforts. We’re always looking for new ideas for businesses that can expand into our market. If you know of a business that could be a great addition to Downtown, call Christian at 406.836.0136.

12) We won three 2022 Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) Impact Awards! One for our weekly Great Falls Montana Top Ten, one for the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls, and one for our use of videos to enhance economic development. Again – kudos to Team Great Falls!

13) The Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is a new USDA initiative that will invest up to $100 million over five years to provide education, technical assistance, and support to help ag producers transition to organic. The goal of this initiative is to help grow the organic crop sector. Contact Justin at 406-590-1301 at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org with questions.

14) Registration is now available for IGNITE 2023 attendees here! IGNITE 2023 is an energetic, fast-paced hybrid event where the Golden Triangle’s most exciting new business developments are announced. The format is simple and quick: three-minute presentations on projects that will either start or open in 2023! If your business has an announcement and you’d like to present at the event contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) We spoke at the international Women in AgTech Conference hosted by the US Commercial Services Select USA Team. This was an opportunity to share information about why business choose our region and how we can aid in their long term success.

16) The support from we receive our INVESTORS allows us to continue providing products and services that assist businesses and produce investment in our region. Simply put, communities that invest in economic development are investing in resources that lead to increase in tax revenue, adding the number of available high wage jobs, and opportunities for citizens. Without the support of our investors, a lot of the growth & opportunity we are seeing wouldn’t be possible. If you are interested in supporting the team that is growing the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

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

Career Opportunity

We’re looking for a new team member. We have a great career opportunity: Business Advisor — Small Business Development Center Regional Director.

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

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.529%; 20-year at 6.452%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.470%; 25-year refinance 6.547%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Top Ten 11/13/22

McLaughlin Institute
Community partner the McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences celebrated their 70th anniversary with an open house. Andrea Grindeland, Assistant Professor and Institutional Veterinarian provides a tour of the lab where she conducts research on chronic wasting disease during the institute’s open house. McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls is world-renowned for their contributions in mouse genetics and work on Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Chronic Wasting Disease, among others.
GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 13 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) Met with companies and new/old partners at Select USA Canada. Canada is the country that provides the third largest amount of foreign direct investment into the United States and here in the Great Falls Region of North Central Montana we know that to be true. While in Canada, we met with one of the many Canadian companies that invest in our community and are now working on a major expansion project. Oh Canada! To discuss our foreign direct investment strategies, give Jolene a call 406.750.4481.

2) Fundraising is underway to create a second Farm in the Dell in the area near Fairfield; see KRTV. Les Schwab Tire plans to build a second Great Falls location in the Marketplace. New City Church plans to begin renovations of the former riverfront Tribune building. Broke Axe Throwing plans to open on November 16th. Chrysalis Flowers is expanding to become the Graceful Living Emporium — ribbon cutting on November 15th. See TheElectric’s Business Bites for more info on all of these.

3) Did you know buying a building is often more cost effective than leasing? GFDA’s Loan Committee approved a gap loan for a local agency that is doing just that! This project will allow a nonprofit business to not only own their real estate but expand their operations. 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.

4) Leslie Hansen-Clewien comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Leslie began her journey of business ownership with the gift shop and boutique Rustic Mug in Columbia Falls. This fall she returned to Fort Benton and opened Rustic Mug and Boutique on Main Street. Learn more about Leslie’s business in our Announcement of the Week.

5) JobsEQ issued preliminary 2022Q2 labor data. Average annual wages in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased by 7.2% in the four quarters ending in 2022Q2, climbing by $3,260 to $48,819. This topped USA average wage growth of 6.7% and Montana average wage growth of 6.8%. Total wages in our MSA increased by 10.2% or $171 million in the four quarters ending in 2022Q2. That is a significant growth in local spending power! Business establishments data for 2022Q1 was released showing an increase of 109 establishments in our MSA in a year.

6) We will be hosting two Business Pitch events in the upcoming weeks. The first will be on November 22nd at the Magpie in downtown Great Falls. The second will be November 29th at The Alibi in Shelby. For more information please check out our Business Pitch page here. Please reach out to Tony Peres with any questions at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Alluvion Health updated the community on their Rocky Mountain Building project. Representatives from Sletten Construction and Nelson Architects gave updates on the project slated to be completed in 2024. Based on 2021 UDS data, the project will generate economic impact including 248 total jobs, $31.3M total economic impact of current operations, and $3.4M total tax revenues.

8) The agenda has been finalized and the registration is now open for the upcoming Montana Brownfields workshop on November 16-17th at the Darkhorse – Celtic Cowboy in Great Falls following the MEDA Conference. Please check out the workshop’s webpage for additional information and to register for the event. This workshop is free, but we request that you register so that we can prepare the room accordingly. If you have questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) We’re offering a new low interest loan participation product in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce that provides 50/50 loan participations with your bank or credit union. We are a processing potential deals to move projects forward that otherwise could not. These funds are limited, first come first serve, and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1056.

10) Miles City Community College is hosting a webinar on new CDL regulations, November 15th at 7:30. Webinar link or dial-in information 1-866-749-7984.

11) We kicked off our Microlearning Webinar series this week on Introduction to Small Business Certifications with 15 in attendance. Our next webinar will be in December 13th at 11:00 AM on “Can A DBE Certification Help My Woman-Owned Business?” featuring Shannon Hahn at MDT. To register, click here. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) Resources make projects happen. Right now we have resources to devote to projects. Some are very specific, like our meat processing funds and some are more general. The key thing to remember is resources are limited and our resources are first come first served. If you are thinking about an expansion or starting your business, now is the time to get started. Call Tony to discuss available resources to move your project forward,1.406.750.2099.

13) With the help of our INVESTORS, a broader and more impactful scope of work is being achieved throughout our community. Each check they write allows our team to continue to attract business, work with entrepreneurs, and create high wage jobs for our residents.  Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Hybrid Steel Design, LLC. Their continued support is the reason we can keep working towards our mission. If you want to support the team that is growing Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Have a great week!

Brett Doney

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

Career Opportunity

We’re looking for a new team member. We have a great career opportunity: Business Advisor — Small Business Development Center Regional Director.

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

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.439%; 20-year at 6.362%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.598%; and, 20-year refinance 6.457%; 25-year refinance 6.380%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Top Ten 11-8-22

Group photo of the presenters at the 2022 Invest Downtown Great Falls event. We have great entrepreneurs and developers investing downtown!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for last 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 Big Sandy Organics for winning this year’s Trailmix competition presented by Albertsons during Boise Entrepreneur Week. The company is known for its product “Kracklin Kamut”. They were awarded $50,000 along with shelf space at the Albertsons’ Broadway Avenue Store in Boise, Idaho. See KRTV.

2) September labor data released by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry contained more good news for the Great Falls MSA. Employment in Cascade County climbed to 37,931, topping pre-pandemic employment of 37,334 in September 2019, and the labor force grew to 38,867, topping pre-pandemic labor force of 38,455 in September 2019. The unemployment rate in September was 2.4% (not seasonally adjusted).

3) We’re looking for a new team member. We have a great career opportunity: Business Advisor — Small Business Development Center Regional Director.

4) Montana Premium Processing, a cooperative member owned meat processing facility in Havre created through the efforts of the Montana Farmers Union, was awarded a $291,900 grant through the USDA Meat and Poultry Expansion Program. The funds will be used to provide independent producers in Montana with an option for a local USDA inspected facility.

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

6) Congratulations to Lyle and Caroylon Yoder on their recent purchase of Cascade Meat Processors in Cascade. They specialize in processing beef, lamb, and pork.

7) Studio Montage Salon and Spa has served clients in downtown Great Falls for 22 years under the leadership of DeAnna Corn-Murphy. Studio Montage Salon and Spa has expanded with the addition of two partners to join the business and a new, larger location which boasts a boutique and more amenities. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

8) Over 30 people tuned in last week for our monthly Small Business Webinar cosponsored with MSU Extension. This month’s webinar featured some tips about dipping your toes into Tik-Tok for marketing and media engagement. The recording for this webinar and past webinars in our monthly Small Business Webinar series can be found here. Next month’s webinar will feature a local case study in customer engagement automations. For more information on that webinar and to register click here.

9) Check out the KRTV stories about two new local businesses, Spy High Mounts and Mise En Place Kitchens.

10) Talked with several banking partners in regards to participating with the State Small Business Credit Initiative Program (SSBCI 2.0) to provide their clients with a lower interest rate option. Their entrepreneurs are trying to expand their business by purchasing equipment and real estate in a market with rising rates. The SSBCI 2.0 program allows for a lower rate in participation with the bank loan, which allows for a lower overall blended interest rate. Projects that otherwise would be stalling out are able to successfully move forward. If you would like more information on the SSBCI 2.0 program please contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) The Great Falls International Airport Board approved moving ahead with a $900,000 front canopy rehabilitation project; see The Electric.

12) We recently purchased a large portion of the land in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. This land is some of the only shovel-ready industrial acreage with rail access in the Great Falls area. Just this week our AgriTech Park garnered interest from a successful energy company as well as an advanced manufacturing company. If you or your company are considering an expansion or relocation to Great Falls please contact Jake Clark, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) Our Resource Director will give a 30-min presentation “Developing Relationships for Successful Grants” on November 22 at 10 AM for the Great Falls Area Chamber Nonprofit Alliance. The Chamber welcomes any nonprofit staff or board member to be a guest, so they need not be Chamber members to attend. Please pre-register HERE.

14) Joined Montana Department of Commerce leaders at the Council of Development Finance Agencies annual conference in Denver to discuss latest news on State Small Business Credit Initiative and C-PACE financing. Met with potential sources of new loan capital.

15) We are a member of the Grant Professionals Association and sent our Resource Director to its annual conference in Louisville. We strive to continually improve our professional knowledge and skills in grant research, proposal development, and post-award grant management. The result is building capacity for programs that directly benefit our clients

16) We invest in our team so they can better support businesses across the region. Jolene completed an Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies on her way to her Entrepreneurship Development Professional Certification. We can only give you the best if we learn the best practices to share!

17) The GFDA Board of Directors has endorsed the Cascade County Public Safety Levy and encourage voters to support the measure. Visit WeStandSafe.com for more info. A few more hours left to vote!

18) Register today for the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and business attraction.

19) Our goal is to make a positive difference in a community and in people’s lives. Our team of INVESTORS share that same goal. By supporting GFDA, they are helping us achieve that so we can continue to work toward our mission. Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—GPD Consulting Engineers and Transystems, LLC; Community Division—Great Falls Voyagers and K&K Trucking. These and other investors are true champions of economic development and growth in the region! If you want to support our communities’ growth, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Thanks!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

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

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

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.439%; 20-year at 6.362%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.598%; and, 20-year refinance 6.457%; 25-year refinance 6.380%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Mission
Grow diverse economic opportunities that enhance quality of life.
GFDA is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a 501(c)3 charitable organization. High Plains Financial is a certified Community Development Corporation that offers SBA 504 loans statewide. GFDA and High Plains Financial are Equal Opportunity Employers and Lenders.
GFDA is proud to host a Montana Small Business Development Center, a Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and a Montana Food & Ag Development Center. We are also proud to provide office space for MSU’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center and an SBA Women’s Business Center in partnership with the University of Montana and the Montana Native Growth Fund.
GFDA was the first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to earn accreditation from the International Economic Development Council.
For more info, click to our website.