Top 10 – 5/9/2021

There is nothing we love more than local serial entrepreneurs! Congratulations and THANK YOU to this great team of entrepreneurs who are launching The Newberry downtown events center: Seth Swingley, Tim Peterson, Keith Schneider, Scott Reasoner and Andy Ferrin!!

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) We submitted a response to a site selector’s Request for Information for a $500 million manufacturing expansion. Working with partners, we were able to provide enough information to meet the initial requirements. If we are selected to move forward we will learn more about the company and work with additional partners to evaluate this potential opportunity for our community.

2) We are excited to work with Scott Osterman, Montana’s new Director of the Department of Commerce. Director Osterman is building a stronger business attraction effort for Montana. Each month we meet virtually with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and now the Director of the Department of Commerce. This collaboration helps promote all of our locations and ensures that the Governor’s Office and others think of the Golden Triangle when there are opportunities.

3) We made a $50,000 COVID Business Stabilization and Recovery Loan to Severson Productions. We created these special loans last spring to help previously profitable local businesses that were hit hard by the pandemic. Does your business need a working capital boost to deal with the effects of COVID? Needs that your bank, credit union, or government support programs can’t fill? We’re here to help. Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

4) Country Table Restaurant offering “simply southern food” opened in Downtown Great Falls; see KRTV. The Great Falls City Commission approved tax increment financing support for The Newberry events center that is under construction downtown. The Commission and City staff confirmed that the changes in the works to the downtown urban renewal TIF district for the proposed new downtown TIF programs will also enable greater support on a case-by-case basis for larger catalytic downtown projects such as The Newberry. The updated Downtown Great Falls website went live. Thank you to the City for supporting this with TIF funds!

5) We continue to hear from employers that hiring and retaining employees is one of their biggest challenges. In response, we created an ongoing series of webinars focused on connecting employers with local resources designed to help attract, develop, and retain their workforce. Head over to GrowGreatFallsMontana.org/Workforce to learn more and register for the remainder of the series!

6) The average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased 4.6% in 2020 according to preliminary data released this week by Chmura Economics’ JobsEQ system. The average local annual wage grew by $1,938 to reach $44,167. The Growth in the Golden Triangle was 5.1%.

7) AgroLink secured a $20,000 Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to help to hire and train new employees at its pulse crop processing facility on the Blackfeet Reservation west of Cut Bank.

8) This week we hosted a QuickBooks workshop, our Small Business Webinar Series’ May session, the final installment of our quarterly Website Boot Camp, and two Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) webinars totaling 51 attendees. Our four-part RRF series was the only RRF training in Montana. In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and more than 20 partner organizations statewide, we trained 80 restauranteurs seeking access to these limited funds. Click here for the recording of the May 6th RRF webinarClick here for the recording of the Generations in the Workforce webinar in partnership with MSU-Extension.

9) Are you a food truck, caterer, snack bar, or other entity who’s main purpose is to sell food or drink? If you incurred a loss in gross revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 you could be eligible for Restaurant Revitalization Funds. You can apply here. To help you apply, the SBA has set up a call line to answer questions at 844-279-8898, a searchable FAQ, and application screenshots to help. For more help, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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. Dive into Email Marketing and Facebook ads with our popular workshop with KRose Marketing on May 11. Boots to Business: Reboot, our pre-business workshop for military personnel interested in entrepreneurship is back on May 14. Take control of your business’s finances, increase profit, and improve your bottom line in our two-day Profit Mastery workshop May 17 & 24.

11) Are you eligible to apply for a PPP loan but haven’t yet? There are still locations in Montana that can process them. Contact Embark Credit Union of Great Falls by emailing info@embarkcu.com and put attention to Erin Townsend or you can apply online with MoFi. If you have questions about eligibility, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org. Final deadline is May 31st so act now!

12) Exhibitor applications for the 2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow will start being accepted at 9 AM on Wednesday, May 19. The online application will be available on the Tradeshow webpage. The show will take place September 10 and 11, 2021 at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena. Only active members will be considered for the Tradeshow. Check to see if your membership is up to date by searching your business in the Product Directory. If you can’t find your listing, send an email to madeinmontana@mt.govwith your business name. Save the date for the 2022 Made in Montana Tradeshow — March 11-12, 2022 in Helena.

13) Are you looking to convert post-pandemic consumers to purchasers? Jon Shallert, a nationally known speaker who created the Destination Creation course, is offering a free training “The Post Pandemic Comeback” this Friday, May 14th at 10 AM. If you can’t make it, you will get the recording if you register. If you are interested in taking the full Destination Creation Course you can email Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org to reserve a spot in the next session we offer.

14) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp. The Prospera Business Network in partnership with One Valley Community Foundation are hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3.

15) A few promising tourism stats were released this week by Destination Analysts, courtesy of the Montana Department of Commerce. Nearly 7-in-10 American travelers have or plan to get vaccinated. 51.5% of American travelers report now being fully vaccinated. Nearly 90% of these vaccinated travelers are now comfortable with the idea of traveling. Now 73.5% of American travelers say they have high levels of excitement about travel this year, up from 65.0% last week. 76.5% expect to travel in the next 3 months. About 87% of American travelers expect to be taking trips this summer. The top 3 most common desires for travel this year: Chill-out/Decompress, Experience Beautiful Places, Do New Things/Visit New Places.

16) GFDA has two great career opportunities. Investment Director (Fundraising). And, we’re expanding 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. GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

17) We submitted an application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury seeking $400,000 in grant funds matched by $400,000 from our amazing GFDA Investorsand $500,000 in a loan matched by a $500,000 loan commitment from the Montana Board of Investments. These funds would be used to help expand our loan capital base so we can continue to provide bridge and gap financing to make things happen in the Golden Triangle that otherwise would not.

18) We committed $1,000 of our investor funds to provide the first seed money to the Montana ExpoPark for All committee that has formed to inform Cascade County voters about proposed improvements to Montana ExpoPark.

19) GFDA’s Board discussed priorities for our new fiscal year that begins on July 1st. Addressing employer workforce needs through talent attraction, housing production, employer training and support, and seeking continued private investment to make Great Falls more and more competitive will be a key focus of our work.

We’ll share more information on exciting construction starts this week. One by one we’re getting more projects off the shelf and into construction!

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.

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

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 492


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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.933%; 20-year at 2.845%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.612%; and, 20-year refinance 2.887%; 25-year refinance 2.974%. 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 Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or BDoney@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 provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords can apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.

Beginning July 1, the City of Great Falls will be accepting small works roster applications from contractors and vendors for several categories of work. The purpose of the roster is to reduce the time it takes city departments to complete repairs and projects, up to $25,000, to reduce administrative and operating costs by using a list of prequalified and approved vendors who can be contracted immediately, and to be more efficient for contractors and vendors in that they will be required to provide insurance and other documentation on a yearly, rather than per project, basis. Service categories include, but are not limited to, acoustical tile, audio/visual, boilers, carpet/flooring, chemicals, concrete, drywall, electrical, excavation, fencing, fire equipment, fire sprinkler systems, general contracting, hazardous waste removal, HVAC/mechanical, insulation, irrigation/landscaping, lumber and supplies, overhead doors, painting, paving/seal coating & striping, pest control, plumbing, recreation equipment, roofing, sprinkler systems, telecommunications, tree/stump removal, vehicle supplies, water testing and window cleaning. Contractors and vendors are encouraged to submit the completed application and supporting documentation via email: smallworksroster@greatfallsmt.net. Contact City for more info and all the requirements.

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.

The Montana Young Professional Summit will be held June 9-10 in Sydney. Montana Young Professional provides career development, networking, and community engagement opportunities aimed at professionals aged 21-39.

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.

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 – 5/2/2021

Another great project that was announced at Ignite 2021 is nearing completion. The Great Falls Clinic’s new Legacy Housing Facility is planning on opening in July.

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) Five Guys has applied for a building permit to open a restaurant in Great Falls; see The Electric. The Cascade County Commission approved the stormwater permit for the Milwaukee Station downtown riverfront development; see The Electric.

2) When you render auto cad drawings, cloud compute, play video games, watch streaming movies, and so much more – you need high speed computers working in the background. Many times those computers are in other states. This week we worked with a prospect that wants to do that here, hosting a great visit to Great Falls. Our job is to connect them with the right partners and resources to make it happen! Curious about what we do to attract businesses to the Golden Triangle, call Jolene 406.750.4481.

3) The Great Falls Business Improvement District won an $84,184 tourism grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to fund construction of the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan; see The Electric. GFDA is providing a $1,000 grant match. The Glacier County Historical Society won $31,400 to re-create the historic local Point Drive-in diner. The Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce won $16,570 to upgrade its visitor center. Havre Beneath the Streets won $9,405 to develop a website. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce won $6,000 to create a safe use Missouri River map for the City of Great Falls.The City of Shelby won $4,500 for a new welcome sign.

4) Experiencing workforce challenges? Curious to know what tools and resources are available to bolster your existing workforce attraction, development, and retention strategies? Introducing the Workforce Webinar Series: Connecting Employers to Vital Resources Addressing Workforce Challenges. Check out the video announcement, and head over to GrowGreatFallsMontana.org/Workforce to learn more and register.

5) Gateway Community Services and the Center for Mental Healthannounced a new partnership to provide integrated primary care, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services; see Great Falls Tribune.

6) Registration for the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) opened April 30th. The application portal opens this Monday May 3rd. We hosted two trainings with 50 attendees in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Montana District Office and 25 statewide partners. To watch a recording, click here. We have two more trainings on The Restaurant Revitalization Fund on May 4th and May 6th. Contact Nathan with questions about eligibility for the RRF at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org. Food trucks and caterers are eligible. Maybe your business is?

7) Quote from a prospect this week, “This is such a progressive, vibrant community!” We hear this frequently from people looking to bring businesses here.

8) 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 catch-all workshop for budding entrepreneurs is back on May 4. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7. The topic of May’s monthly webinar is Generations in the Workforce on May 6. And dive into Email Marketing and Facebook ads with our popular KRose Marketing workshop.

9) Congratulations to the newly pinned and graduated class of Dental Hygienists from Great Falls College MSU! The College is partnering with the University of Montana to offer a 2+2 program to earn an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in social work.

10) GFDA has been accepted into membership in the Angel Capital Association, part of our efforts to bring more equity capital to support entrepreneurs, existing businesses and real estate projects in our region.

11) Eighteen building permits were pulled in Downtown Great Falls last quarter totaling $2.1 million. One new business opened, creating 12 jobs. Downtown volunteers donated 5,789 hours. We had many projects continue to move forward this week in Downtown Great Falls and a prospect visit as well! The prospect was very impressed with the momentum that Downtown Great Falls has and even commented on positivity of the catalyst projects in the works. If you have a project that you want to pursue Downtown, call Christian at 406.836.0136 to discuss how we can help make it happen.

12) The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is now open to all eligible applicants. You can apply here. If you have questions about the program, who is eligible, or what you need to apply, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

13) We commissioned updates to the Great Falls, Montana Wikipedia page and so far have updated the Introduction section and added a Recreation section. We will continue these updates to other sections on a rolling basis. Wikipedia is the first page that pops up when users Google “Great Falls Montana” – these are individuals considering relocation and businesses looking at expansions. It needs to be great!

14) Met with NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe and Rick Edwards who leads NorthWestern’s Economic Development efforts across the state. We are continually impressed with their work to grow Montana’s economy and their support of our efforts.

15) Check out these upcoming training from our partners: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp. The Prospera Business Network in partnership with One Valley Community Foundation is hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering Internal Quality Auditor Training ISO 9001 in Great Falls May 12-14 and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual for Human Food in Bozeman May 25-27.

16) We spoke on two MSU panels regarding the future of food and energy security. The audience was MSU faculty and these panels are part of their research into the Grand Challenges at MSU. Brett spoke on Monday regarding Food and Jolene spoke on Wednesday regarding Energy. Both see great opportunities for Montana to be a leader in both global food and energy security!

17) The Great Falls Development Authority is proud to be one of eight Montana Food and Ag Development Centers. Every two years we apply to continue in this role. This week we submitted our application. In the past four years of grant funding, projects we’ve worked on have made $97,056,571 in capital investments across the Golden Triangle. We’ve provided 348 hours of direct technical assistance and over 40 trainings per year to approximately 400 participants. We’re excited to see what the next two years hold!

18) GFDA has two great career opportunities. Investment Director (Fundraising). And, we’re expanding 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. GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

19) We are seeking an innovative leader to lead the new Women’s Business Center coming to the Missoula, Great Falls, and Fort Belknap areas later this year. Our partnership with MonTEC, affiliated with the University of Montana, and the Montana Native Growth Fund was awarded one of 20 new centers nationwide in January. And the role of Program Manager is still yet to be filled. Check out the job description, compensation and benefits, and qualification requirements here. Jason is on the Advisory Board bringing this new SBA Resource Partner program to our region. Reach out with questions at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Held a great kick-off Zoom for the Great Falls childcare market assessment we have commissioned. It was an exciting week with progress on a number of fronts. Positive momentum!

Brett

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.

“A great accomplishment shouldn’t be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.”
Harvey Mackay

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 491


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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.073%; 20-year at 3.016%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.114%; 25-year refinance 3.058%. 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 Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or BDoney@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 provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords can apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.

Beginning July 1, the City of Great Falls will be accepting small works roster applications from contractors and vendors for several categories of work. The purpose of the roster is to reduce the time it takes city departments to complete repairs and projects, up to $25,000, to reduce administrative and operating costs by using a list of prequalified and approved vendors who can be contracted immediately, and to be more efficient for contractors and vendors in that they will be required to provide insurance and other documentation on a yearly, rather than per project, basis. Service categories include, but are not limited to, acoustical tile, audio/visual, boilers, carpet/flooring, chemicals, concrete, drywall, electrical, excavation, fencing, fire equipment, fire sprinkler systems, general contracting, hazardous waste removal, HVAC/mechanical, insulation, irrigation/landscaping, lumber and supplies, overhead doors, painting, paving/seal coating & striping, pest control, plumbing, recreation equipment, roofing, sprinkler systems, telecommunications, tree/stump removal, vehicle supplies, water testing and window cleaning. Contractors and vendors are encouraged to submit the completed application and supporting documentation via email: smallworksroster@greatfallsmt.net. Contact City for more info and all the requirements.

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.

The Montana Young Professional Summit will be held June 9-10 in Sydney. Montana Young Professional provides career development, networking, and community engagement opportunities aimed at professionals aged 21-39.

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.

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 – 4/25/2021

Congratulations to the State Champions of the Montana Economics Challenge, students Jacob Murray, Steven Stewart and Branden Kessler of Great Falls High School! They won The stock Market Game, a nine-week simulation; see KFBB.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 17 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) Colored Snow opened in downtown Great Falls; see KRTV. Get your amazing shaved ice! Sletten Construction has started work on a new multi-tenant retail development on the 1200 block of 10th Avenue South that will include a City Brew. MT Mainstream Movers is opening its commercial location in Great Falls; see TheElectric. The Wake Cup Coffee House in Ft. Benton has expanded; see KRTV. Warhorse Development was featured in a great story in The Valierian. Congratulations all!

2) The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program reopened on Saturday. To learn more about the program, click here. SBA has released updated applicant user guide and FAQ. Use the checklist to make sure you have everything you need to complete your application. If you have additional questions contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) The Great Falls City Commission approved a conditional use permit for the Aim High/Big Sky Indoor Aquatics & Recreation Center; see KRTV. The $20 million project is scheduled to start construction in September. The Commission approved $25,000/year of downtown tax increment financing funds for five years to support downtown tree replacement and maintenance. The Great Falls Business Improvement District is leading the effort. We gave the BID $1,000 as our match for the Montana Main Street grant for installing signs to implement the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan. The Commission held a second work session on three proposed new downtown TIF programs to support code compliance, facade, and safety improvements of downtown properties; see TheElectric.

4) Facing a project cost increase? Construction costs have gone up dramatically globally. How is your project? We are here to help with financing to fill the gaps. Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

5) MSU Extension has launched a certification program to boost remote work in rural areas. The month-long Master Remote Work Professional Certification course consists of nine core modules delivered in a self-paced, online format, along with four discussion-based virtual workshops. We think this will prove valuable everywhere in the state!

6) Experiencing workforce challenges? Curious to know what tools and resources are available to bolster your existing workforce attraction, development, and retention strategies? Introducing the Workforce Webinar Series: Connecting Employers to Vital Resources Addressing Workforce Challenges. Check out the video announcement, and head over to GrowGreatFallsMontana.org/Workforce to learn more and register.

7) We published our GFDA Index for 2021Q1. As part of our efforts to help employers address workforce needs, this week we commissioned a child care market assessment of the Great Falls MSA. The study will build on statewide research and dig into local market opportunities to support additional quality child care facilities and services. We’re investing $12,000 of our GFDA Investors’ funds for the study that will be undertaken by Camoin Associates. We are excited that the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce is creating a Workforce Development position on its team to help address workforce issues.

8) Four employers reached out to our Talent Attraction Director this week for assistance with relocating talent to Great Falls or finding talent to attract! Employers – your recruiter, HR Director (or yourself) can reach out to Soren to discuss the collection of tools and resources we have to help attract high quality talent to Great Falls. Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)781-0736

9) The Great Falls City Commission approved an additional $1,175,380 in tax increment financing funds for brownfield cleanup enabling the development of the 14-acre riverfront West Bank Landing mixed-use project.

10) Research. Research. And more research. Our engagement with entrepreneurs usually starts with, “So I’ve got this idea. What do you think?” When we answer those questions with more questions, the response is usually, “Well how would I do that?” The value of GFDA’s advisory services are not only the asking and answering of questions. The value is that we help brainstorm, evaluate, research to make well-informed decisions, and create linkages. GFDA’s ability to gather and link are what turn ideas into revenue-generating activities, four walls and a roof, new or stable employees, or e-commerce platforms selling to customers thousands of miles away. If that sounds right to you, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org to start the conversation.

11) Sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and single member LLC’s who file taxes using a schedule C can use gross income instead of net income for their PPP calculations. The deadline for applying for PPP loans is May 31st or when funds run out. Of the $284 billion originally allocated only $43 billion remains, so we encourage those who are eligible to apply with their bank or credit union as soon as possible. Contact Nathan if you are experiencing difficulties; 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) 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. If you are a restaurant, bar, food truck, or food service business owner who could benefit from additional funding to keep your doors open please join us for one of the following webinar to learn more about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund – April 27April 29May 4 or May 6The LaunchPoint, our catch-all workshop for budding entrepreneurs is back on May 4. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7. The topic of our next monthly webinar is Generations in the Workforce on May 6.

13) Soren and I had a kickoff meeting with Livability Media on Thursday to get ready for the 2022 Great Falls Livability magazine. This awesome talent attraction tool highlighting Great Falls Montana has been seen by thousands of people around the country. Check out the 2021 magazine here if you haven’t read it yet and request copies from Soren for your talent recruitment efforts.

14) Check out these upcoming training from our partners: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp. The Prospera Business Network in partnership with One Valley Community Foundation are hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3.

15) GFDA has two great career opportunities. Investment Director (Fundraising). And, we’re expanding 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. GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

16) Jolene and I have been working with Dean Barber of Barber Business Advisors and one of his colleagues, Christine Rambo of Upsize Marketing Strategies, to help us map out market assessments and strategic planning GFDA plans to undertake over the next year to best take advantage of the many economic changes driven by the pandemic.

17) This week I was excited to participate in two new courses in entrepreneurship-led economic development offered by the International Economic Development Council. We’re looking for new ways we can support more entrepreneurial startups and expansions in the region, in addition to the volunteer entrepreneur mentor network we are developing and the new Women’s Business Center we are a partner in.

It was a great week of progress on some key projects moving toward construction. Stay tuned! We took in another COVID recovery emergency loan application late Friday from an excellent local business fighting through the pandemic. Let me know if you hear of a business that could use a helping hand to get back on its feet.

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.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
John Wooden

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 490


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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.073%; 20-year at 3.016%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.114%; 25-year refinance 3.058%. 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 Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or BDoney@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 provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords can 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.

Beginning July 1, the City of Great Falls will be accepting small works roster applications from contractors and vendors for several categories of work. The purpose of the roster is to reduce the time it takes city departments to complete repairs and projects, up to $25,000, to reduce administrative and operating costs by using a list of prequalified and approved vendors who can be contracted immediately, and to be more efficient for contractors and vendors in that they will be required to provide insurance and other documentation on a yearly, rather than per project, basis. Service categories include, but are not limited to, acoustical tile, audio/visual, boilers, carpet/flooring, chemicals, concrete, drywall, electrical, excavation, fencing, fire equipment, fire sprinkler systems, general contracting, hazardous waste removal, HVAC/mechanical, insulation, irrigation/landscaping, lumber and supplies, overhead doors, painting, paving/seal coating & striping, pest control, plumbing, recreation equipment, roofing, sprinkler systems, telecommunications, tree/stump removal, vehicle supplies, water testing and window cleaning. Contractors and vendors are encouraged to submit the completed application and supporting documentation via email: smallworksroster@greatfallsmt.net. Contact City for more info and all the requirements.

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.

The Montana Young Professional Summit will be held June 9-10 in Sydney. Montana Young Professional provides career development, networking, and community engagement opportunities aimed at professionals aged 21-39.

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.

2021 Q1 Index

1st Quarter 2021 Index

Great Falls jobs projected to be created by Touro Montana Osteopathic Medical School: 360

Projected employment growth across Montana by 2040: 1,700

Capital investment to complete school construction in 2024: $53 million

Faculty and staff: 70

Total annual compensation of School employees: $11.7 million

Medical student class size: 125

Medical student population in third year of operations: 375

Projected local spending per student per year, not including tuition: $31,224

Annual economic impact created by Medical School by 2030: $106.3 million

Population growth projected by 2030 as a result of Medical School: 481
By 2040: 1,984

Great Falls rank as best city nationwide for first-time homebuyers: 4th

Great Falls rank of best cities in Western U.S. to live in after the pandemic: 10th

Number of 2021 Great American Defense Communities in nation: 5
Number in Montana: 1 (Great Falls!)

Montana places named in New York Times’ 52 global locations to love in 2021: 1 (Golden Triangle)

Montana bars named one of five most extraordinary bars in the world: 1 (Sip ‘N Dip)

Number of entrepreneurs and developers who presented planned investments at Ignite 2021: 20

Number of high school entrepreneurs in Golden Triangle who won prizes in Montana Chamber Foundation’s The Prospects competition: 6

Cost of living in Great Falls compared to national average: 89.5%
Spokane cost of living: 106.9%
Bozeman cost of living: 108.6%
Seattle cost of living: 156.0%
San Francisco cost of living: 192.3%

Average wage increase in Great Falls MSA 2019Q3-2020Q3: 3.4%

Dollar amount of average wage increase: $1,438

Number of local entrepreneurs and businesses coached [TM1] by GFDA during quarter: 206
Of these, number of new coaching [TM2] clients: 54

Number of business training sessions offered during quarter: 13

Number of training participants: 350

Number of businesses bought or started by coached clients during quarter: 2

New capital secured by entrepreneur clients during quarter: $228,177

Government contracts won by clients during quarter: $9,044,941

Jobs supported by our Small Business Development Center during quarter: 694

GFDA-produced professional development business webinars now available online 24/7: 44

Most recent SBA 504 effective loan rate fixed for 20 years: 3.016%

Businesses active with our Procurement Technical Assistance Center during quarter: 120

Amount of local business loans closed during quarter: $1,500,000

Amount of loans we approved during quarter: $3,030,170

New businesses opened in downtown Great Falls during quarter: 2

Number of new businesses opened in downtown Great Falls in 2020: 20

Downtown project announcements during quarter: 2

Downtown business retention/expansion visits during quarter: 19

Downtown businesses working on expansions: 17

Downtown target businesses contacted during quarter: 24

Downtown target meetings during quarter: 6

Free Brownfield assessments in progress: 6

New leads generated into our pipeline during quarter: 66

New active projects generated into our pipeline: 33

Total active projects this quarter: 51

New companies added to our pipeline CRM: 232

Companies actively engaged this quarter: 122

Number of followers of Live in Great Falls social mediums: 5,716

Number of visitors to Live in Great Falls relocation website to date: 12,511

Facebook views of our first talent attraction video in 24 hours of release: 11,000+
Views to date: 37,000+

Great Falls commercial building permits issued during quarter: 29

Great Falls commercial building permit value: $4,082,578

Montana rank of best states to start a small business: 1st
Montana rank as best state for physicians: 1st
Montana rank of least selfish states: 4th
Montana rank of least stressed states: 9th

Number of short-term rentals in Golden Triangle: 589

New electric generating capacity in U.S. in 2021 projected to come from wind and solar: 70%

Utility-scale solar power additions projected this year in U.S.: 15.4 gigawatts

Wind power additions projected this year in U.S.: 12 gigawatts

Percentage of this investment that will take advantage of Montana wind and sun resources: ?

For info contact Jolene Schalper at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481

Top 10 – 4/18/2021

We’re excited to see the progress in West Bank Landing, the 14+ acre mixed use riverfront development in Great Falls! We’re proud to have our office in The Portage Building at West Bank Landing. There is great space available for restaurants, QSRs, and service establishments.

GFDA’s Top 10

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

1) Congratulations to IND HEMP based in Fort Benton, MT on their expansion into fiber processing. Check out the video announcement here. This expansion will create 30+ new jobs and expand their operations to 24 hours per day in the coming years. We are looking for the next companies in the hemp supply chain. Are you looking for a location? Call Jolene at (406) 750-4481.

2) Met with the new director of the McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Renee Reijo Pera. Dr. Reijo Pera will join our community in a couple of weeks. Her track record in building public private partnerships with research institutions and private industry is phenomenal. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Reijo Pera to our community!

3) Congratulations to the Montana Native Growth Fund on its official launch! We’re excited to be partnering with this great CDFI on the new Montana Women’s Business Center led by the University of Montana. The Center will launch later this year.

4) Looking for talented people to work in your organization? Maybe they are already there. In the first session of our new weekly series focused on everything workforce, we will visit with Michelle Robinson from the Montana Department of Labor Incumbent Worker Training program. Each week we will engage businesses, resources providers, and national experts to increase employer core competencies of workforce attraction, development, and retention. Register here.

5) Finance site WalletHub released a report ranking Montana as the #1 state in the country for physicians. The report accounted for salary, cost of living, and retention among other dimensions. This is great news for our business attraction and talent attraction efforts! Read more on KRTV.

6) The SBA plans to re-launch the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program soon, followed by the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. We’ll issue notice when these programs open. Contact Nathan Reiff, our business SBDC COVID specialist, for help with all recovery programs and resources. NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

7) We released our first Ask an Expert video this week, featuring Melissa Dascoulias of Dascoulias Realty Group providing tips for people looking to move to Great Falls! The Ask an Expert video series is part of our talent attraction marketing strategy with DCI – the videos will provide answers to many common (or uncommon) questions people ask when deciding to relocate.

8) Congratulations to the ten families who just completed constructing their new homes as part of NeighborWorks Great Falls’ self-help home ownership program. Perseverance through a 16-month build during the pandemic!

9) Remote technology work is alive and well in our region. Cut Bank resident Bret Wright operates his tech gaming company ToolShed LLC from his home office in Cut Bank. Bret has 15 team members in 12 different countries. The company recently worked with a new client to design and launch a game titled The Guardians Of Peace. Read the full article in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

10) Twenty-five business owners tuned into our social media marketing training event presented by KRose Company this week.   Social media guru Karoline Rose helped break down the basics of social media marketing making things easy to understand and gave participants actionable steps to move their social media marketing forward. The event was paid for with CARES Act funding in cooperation with the Montana SBDC. Click here to view a video of the training session.

11) The White House issued an infrastructure report card for every state. Montana Ranked C; download two-page Montana Report.

12) 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. 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.

13) The hazardous materials clean-up of the old Cascade County Jail building in downtown Great Falls has been completed. We’re proud to have been able to provide the County with a $146,489 grant through our EPA Brownfield cleanup loan fund. The EPA approved two more sites in Great Falls for brownfield assessments.

14) Our Talent Attraction Director had several great conversations with employers this week and helped brainstorm solutions for their talent attraction and recruitment problems. If you’re struggling with recruiting talent from out-of-market, check out our talent attraction toolkit and get in contact with Soren Chargois Ebbasi today at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Beginning July 1, the City of Great Falls will be accepting small works roster applications from contractors and vendors for several categories of work. The purpose of the roster is to reduce the time it takes city departments to complete repairs and projects, up to $25,000, to reduce administrative and operating costs by using a list of prequalified and approved vendors who can be contracted immediately, and to be more efficient for contractors and vendors in that they will be required to provide insurance and other documentation on a yearly, rather than per project, basis. Service categories include, but are not limited to, acoustical tile, audio/visual, boilers, carpet/flooring, chemicals, concrete, drywall, electrical, excavation, fencing, fire equipment, fire sprinkler systems, general contracting, hazardous waste removal, HVAC/mechanical, insulation, irrigation/landscaping, lumber and supplies, overhead doors, painting, paving/seal coating & striping, pest control, plumbing, recreation equipment, roofing, sprinkler systems, telecommunications, tree/stump removal, vehicle supplies, water testing and window cleaning. Contractors and vendors are encouraged to submit the completed application and supporting documentation via email: smallworksroster@greatfallsmt.net. Contact City for more info and all the requirements.

16) 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.

17) The Montana Young Professional Summit will be held June 9-10 in Sydney. Montana Young Professional provides career development, networking, and community engagement opportunities aimed at professionals aged 21-39.

18) Met with a business owner whose store was started as a hobby and has doubled in revenue over the past three years. We discussed the tools to help facilitate that growth online and in their store. If you have a business you would like to grow or need help with one that is bursting at the seams contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

19) Check out these upcoming training from our partners: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp. The Prospera Business Network in partnership with One Valley Community Foundation are hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3.

20) The Main Street Now Virtual Conference hosted by Main Street America was this week! Jolene and Christian were able to spend some time attending the Virtual workshops and seminars learning the latest best practices to work towards our Downtown Great Falls revitalization efforts. Some of the favorites were “Calculating the Cost of Empty Storefronts” and “Tools for Ecosystem Building, Built for Main Street”. All sessions were recorded and are available to watch. If you are interested in viewing a session, contact Jolene at 406.750.4481 or Christian at 406.231.8064.

21) GFDA has two great career opportunities. Investment Director — CDFI Economic Development Fundraising. And, we’re expanding 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!

22) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
We provide a wide variety of entrepreneur and business training to help existing businesses to flourish and grow, and to help future entrepreneurs to launch successful businesses. These free or low-cost learning opportunities help grow our economy by strengthening our entrepreneurial ecosystem. The trainings we offer include a monthly one-hour LaunchPoint workshop for new entrepreneurs, a two-day Boots to Business workshop for active military, veterans and family members looking to start a new business, and webinars and workshops on a wide range of business planning, market research, revenue growth, strategy, capitalization, technology, government contracting, profitability, and management topics. Three popular regular courses are basic Quickbooks for business, Profit Mastery which helps improve business profits and lay the foundation for growth, and Destination Creation which helps grow revenue through developing new market opportunities.

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.

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.'”
Tom Peters

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 489


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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.073%; 20-year at 3.016%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.114%; 25-year refinance 3.058%. 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 provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords can 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.