Top 10 – 12/5/2021

The new Little Shell Tribal Health Clinic in Great Falls. Congratulations to the Tribe and all involved in making this long sought after facility a reality!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Congratulations to the forty High School House construction students of Great Falls Public Schools who signed pre-apprenticeship agreements in the building trades last month!

2) Reviewed the draft of the housing market demand study for the Great Falls area commute shed that we commissioned in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Association of Realtors. The developer/investor-perspective in-depth analysis indicates surprisingly strong market support for the production of new rental and ownership homes at a wide array of price points. We are working with The Concord Group to finalize the study and release it as soon as possible.

3) Big Sandy Organics is expanding! This north central Montana snack manufacturer has obtained an international contract that will allow them to dramatically expand and bring additional growth to their partners. Learn more about the expansion here.

4) Congratulations to Cut Bank Auto Body on the successful transition of the ownership of the business between generations. Read the full article in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

5) Twenty entrepreneurs and business professionals from around the state and US participated in the live delivery of “Communication that Fosters Cooperation,” our final Small Business Webinar Series presentation of 2021. To watch the recording of this or past presentations, click here.

6) Ron Colwell, Project Manager of Calumet’s Montana Renewablesproject in Great Falls, gave a presentation to GFDA’s Board on project progress. Ron explained the superior performance of the renewable diesel Montana Renewables will produce unlike bio diesel. Download a PDF of Ron’s presentation.

7) Are you a Montana female entrepreneur? Prospera’s Women’s Business Center is seeking women from every Montana county for the 56 Strong Women’s Mentorship program. Meet with a mentor once a month for six months to gain new perspectives and insight on growing your business. Application and additional information can be found here.

8) The Montana Department of Commerce has published a Success Story with one of our small business clients, Paul Ranch Montana, north of Babb in Glacier County. Between March 2020 and October 2021, Paul Ranch Montana owner Barbara Paul participated in 42 of GFDA’s business trainings, accounting for 27 total hours, to help her navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. “My number one access to information, every time a new pandemic stimulus program came out was the Great Falls Development Authority,” Barbara Paul said. To read the Success Story, click here.

9) Are you thinking of applying for the Montana ARPA Agriculture Infrastructure Program? This grant will be highly competitive. We are here to help you make the most competitive application possible. Learn more about the program here. Call Jolene to chat about your idea, 406.750.4481.

10) Starbucks is building a new location on 10th Avenue South in Great Falls; see TheElectric’s Business Bites.

11) Published our December Hot Jobs in Great Falls! Please send to all you acquaintances who live outside our region! Another way to share this job list is by liking/commenting/sharing our posts on the following social media accounts: FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram. If you have Hot Jobs to be included January’s Hot Jobs list, submit them here.

12) A new innovative youth counseling practice, Connected Counseling, is opening in Great Falls; see KRTV.

13) Due to low enrollment, we have cancelled our final QuickBooks course of 2021 scheduled for Tuesday, December 7th. If you have or know of someone with interest in a future QuickBooks course, please contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) Attention: Small Businesses involved or interested in Government Contracting.  The U.S. Federal Government is the largest consumer in the world, spending more than $650 billion each year. The President has set a policy of using Federal contract spending to support small businesses and advance equity. In Executive Order 13985, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government,” President Biden directed agencies to make Federal contracting and procurement opportunities more readily available to all eligible vendors and to remove barriers faced by underserved individuals and communities.

OMB M-22-03, “Advancing Equity in Federal Procurement,” was issued on December 2, 2021. It implements the President’s commitment to increase spending for the small business socioeconomic programs, especially for small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). One of the highlights is to establish an agency-specific SDB goal that will allow the Federal Government to cumulatively meet 11% for FY22 (the FY21 goal was 5% and DLA did 7%). The SDB goal will further increase to 15% by FY25. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and OMB will work together to consider FY23 goal increases for the other socioeconomic programs, review and adjust category management practices to increase contract opportunities for SDBs and other small businesses, and increase the number of new entrants to the Federal marketplace and reverse the decline in the small business supplier base. These additional businesses include women-owned small businesses (WOSBs), service-disabled veteran owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), and small business contractors in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones). Does your business qualify for one of these set-asides? For more information see if you qualify to take advantage of these opportunities, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406-750-1253.

15) The GFDA Board of Directors decided to create another new task force to tackle Logistics Costs in the Great Falls region. Based on the SWOT analysis of the Great Falls regional market conducted this fall as part of our strategic planning process, our Board has identified six market competitive factors that will be addressed with new task forces: Housing Production; Health/BioScience Industry Cluster; Montana Natural Gas Transmission Capacity; Industrial Spaces; Talent Attraction; and, Logistics Costs. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has created a Workforce Coalition to tackle the critical need for workforce development. Thank you to all of our investors, partners, businesses, and community members who participated in the SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) listening sessions! We will be looking for volunteers to form these task forces very soon.

16) Justin Loch started work on our business development team. Justin will focus on the food processing, ag processing, and bio product manufacturing industries, helping existing businesses to grow and attracting new facilities into the region. Join us in welcoming Justin! he can be reached at 406-590-1301 or Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) Hold the date for Ignite 2022, 8:00 AM on Friday, January 7, at Meadow Lark Country Club.

18) Notice from our friends at the Montana Retail Association. The minimum wage in Montana will increase 5.25% effective January 1st, going from $8.75/hour to $9.20/hour. Please plan accordingly.

19) Held a kick-off meeting with Chmura Economics for the COVID industry-by-industry impact study we’ve commissioned for the Great Falls MSA. Reviewed draft articles for the 2022 edition of the Livability Great Falls talent attraction magazine we publish in partnership with Livability.com.

20) Our investors are instrumental in the growth of our region. Because of their support we can continue providing businesses the tools and resources they need to succeed. Recent investment include: Leadership Division—Dick Anderson Construction; Community Division—Great Falls Voyagers,and Powergas Corporation. If you want to join our awesome team of investors and help GFDA in our efforts to grow and & diversify Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage opportunities, and improve market competitiveness, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Back on the road this week meeting with site selection consultants then to DC to meet with federal officials. Jolene and Jake are traveling to meet with commercial real estate brokers, developers and retailers.

Have a fantastic week! Shop local!!!

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.

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
Richard Branson

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 513


Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q3 Quarter Index.

GFDA Career Opportunities
We have two exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, and Resource Director (grant writing). Download job postings and please help spread the word. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.922%; 20-year at 2.775%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.793%; and, 20-year refinance 2.789%; 25-year refinance 2.936%. 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 Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released updated guidance and deadlines for applicants of the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Supplemental Advances. Click here to read the release and learn more. For anyone having difficulty applying for COVID EIDL relief funds, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Attention female entrepreneurs. The 56Strong Montana Mentorship Program is accepting applications; due December 17. This is a free mentorship program being offered by the Women’s Business Center hosted by the Prospera Business Network in Bozeman.

A number of state special business programs using American Rescue Plan funds are rolling out. The Workforce Training Grant Program has been launched by the Montana Department of Commerce and has up to $3,000 per eligible employee available for training expenses by businesses. The Apprenticeship Training Grant Program will be able to reimburse construction-related apprenticeship expenses up to a limit of $3,000. Track all state ARPA economic programs on the state’s ARPA website.

December 15 is the deadline for Big Sky Trust Fund Planning Grants that can assist with engineering and design in the planning phase of a project and Big Sky Trust Fund Primary Sector Job Creation grants. You can find more information here. Questions about utilizing these programs? Call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

Attention Small Business doing Government Contracting:  There has been an update to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The plans for the next iteration of CMMC which is being call CMMC 2.0 has been released. Like the initial CMMC (which was pilot tested but never implemented) this version has to go through the public comment and rulemaking process and nobody knows what changes will occur to the proposed CMMC 2.0 during those processes. A few proposed changes included in CMMC 2.0 include decreasing certification levels from 5 to 3 and increasing opportunities for (no-cost) self-assessments. While the rulemaking efforts are ongoing, the Department intends to suspend the current CMMC Piloting efforts and will not approve inclusion of a CMMC requirement in any DoD solicitation. The Department encourages contractors to continue to enhance their cybersecurity position during the interim period while the rulemaking is underway.  Please visit the CMMC website and projectspectrum.io to learn more.

The Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Grant funded by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act). The goal of the grant program is to assist with the development of innovative agricultural business improvements. The first step of the grant funding process is to complete to a project proposal. If you’d like help reviewing your proposal before submitting please contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. The project proposal deadline is December 15th.

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

The Montana Department of Commerce launched an investment matchmaking website for Montana business projects. The Opportunity Exchange’s – Montana Investment Portal is a website where investors can easily view and connect to projects in the state. Click here to view listed projects. Click here to get your investment project listed on the portal. For help posting your project or property on the Montana Investment Portal, contact Kristian Richardson at 406-841-2032 or Kristian.Richardson@mt.gov.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for March 11-12, 2022 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

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 Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana DPHHS will be accepting one-time Child Care Stabilization grant applications from now until December 31! These funds are meant to stabilize your business coming out of the public health emergency. The process is not competitive and licensed centers are eligible for up to 80-100% of their operating expenses. Go to https://dphhs.mt.gov/arpa/childcare/ and click on “Grants for Licensed & Registered Child Care Programs (Stabilization).”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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. Connect with Talent Attraction Director Soren to learn about more great talent attraction tools for employers. “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.

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.

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 toolkitsto 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.

A new access to capital option for businesses has launched. Crowdfund Montana is an investment crowdfunding platform, affiliated with the national platform Crowdfund Mainstreet, to bring people together to fund good business projects. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, investment crowdfunding allows funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. NBC Montana has published this story about the platform’s launch.

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.

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 – 11/28/2021

The Arc Apartment Homes are rising from the ground! Farran Realty Partners’ 216-unit development will be a big boost to Great Falls housing availability.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 14 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 an ag business entrepreneur from Washington who is considering a new project in the Great Falls region.

2) We published an updated Great Falls Growth Highlights. We retained AD Creative Group to help us update our web sites. Hold the morning of January 7th for Ignite 2022 to be held at the Meadow Lark Country Club!

3) Our QuickBooks Desktop course, presented by Wendy Weissman, CPA PC. is coming up on December 7th. For more information or to register, click here. Contact Jason with questions at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) Participated in the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’skickoff meeting of its Workforce Coalition that will tackle critical workforce development needs.

5) We are working with numerous food and agriculture processing businesses, large and small, to take advantage of Montana Department of Agriculture grants. Learn more about the ARPA Agriculture Infrastructure Grant program here. The deadline for this grant is December 15. Questions? Call Rich Gannon at 406.836.2078.

6) The Great Falls International Airport will get $9.5 million over the next five years thanks to the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act and will be put toward several projects. See KRTV.

7) The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released updated guidance and deadlines for applicants of the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Supplemental Advances. Click here to read the release and learn more. For anyone having difficulty applying for COVID EIDL relief funds, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) Outdoor recreation accounted for 4.3% of Montana’s GDP in 2020, the largest percentage of any state, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. We have many opportunities in our region to increase the outdoor recreation industry. We’re eager to help, just contact us!

9) December 15 is the deadline for Big Sky Trust Fund Planning Grants that can assist with engineering and design in the planning phase of a project and Big Sky Trust Fund Primary Sector Job Creation grants. You can find more information here. Questions about utilizing these programs? Call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

10) A number of state special business programs using American Rescue Plan funds are rolling out. The Workforce Training Grant Program has been launched by the Montana Department of Commerce and has up to $3,000 per eligible employee available for training expenses by businesses. The Apprenticeship Training Grant Program will be able to reimburse construction-related apprenticeship expenses up to a limit of $3,000. Track all state ARPA economic programs on the state’s ARPA website.

11) Attention female entrepreneurs. The 56Strong Montana Mentorship Program is accepting applications; due December 17. This is a free mentorship program being offered by the Women’s Business Center hosted by the Prospera Business Network in Bozeman.

12) The University of Montana’s startup incubator MonTEC has received an $850,000 grant from the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls to support Indigenous women looking to start or grow a business in Montana. MonTEC will use the funds in collaboration with Salish Kootenai College and Blackfeet Community College to develop online programming in a variety of subjects to support new and existing female-owned businesses.”

13) Joined Economic Developers Alberta to strengthen our partnering with economic development organizations north of the border. Invited to upgrade to full membership in the Urban Land Institute which will enhance our networking with great real estate developers.

14) We are incredibly THANKFUL for the continued support of our investors. They are the reason we can keep doing what we love, which is supporting businesses in Great Falls and the surrounding areas. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—Great Falls Public Schools. We THANK YOU so much for believing in the community and being part of the team that is helping to Grow Great Falls! If you are interested in being part of that team, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Have a great week!

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.

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

“Fortune favors the audacious.”
Desiderius Erasmus

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 512


Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q3 Quarter Index.

GFDA Career Opportunities
We have two exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, and Resource Director (grant writing). Download job postings and please help spread the word. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.922%; 20-year at 2.775%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.793%; and, 20-year refinance 2.789%; 25-year refinance 2.936%. 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 Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Attention Small Business doing Government Contracting:  There has been an update to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The plans for the next iteration of CMMC which is being call CMMC 2.0 has been released. Like the initial CMMC (which was pilot tested but never implemented) this version has to go through the public comment and rulemaking process and nobody knows what changes will occur to the proposed CMMC 2.0 during those processes. A few proposed changes included in CMMC 2.0 include decreasing certification levels from 5 to 3 and increasing opportunities for (no-cost) self-assessments. While the rulemaking efforts are ongoing, the Department intends to suspend the current CMMC Piloting efforts and will not approve inclusion of a CMMC requirement in any DoD solicitation. The Department encourages contractors to continue to enhance their cybersecurity position during the interim period while the rulemaking is underway.  Please visit the CMMC website and projectspectrum.io to learn more.

The Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Grant funded by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act). The goal of the grant program is to assist with the development of innovative agricultural business improvements. The first step of the grant funding process is to complete to a project proposal. If you’d like help reviewing your proposal before submitting please contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. The project proposal deadline is December 15th.

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

The Montana Department of Commerce launched an investment matchmaking website for Montana business projects. The Opportunity Exchange’s – Montana Investment Portal is a website where investors can easily view and connect to projects in the state. Click here to view listed projects. Click here to get your investment project listed on the portal. For help posting your project or property on the Montana Investment Portal, contact Kristian Richardson at 406-841-2032 or Kristian.Richardson@mt.gov.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for March 11-12, 2022 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

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 Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana DPHHS will be accepting one-time Child Care Stabilization grant applications from now until December 31! These funds are meant to stabilize your business coming out of the public health emergency. The process is not competitive and licensed centers are eligible for up to 80-100% of their operating expenses. Go to https://dphhs.mt.gov/arpa/childcare/ and click on “Grants for Licensed & Registered Child Care Programs (Stabilization).”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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. Connect with Talent Attraction Director Soren to learn about more great talent attraction tools for employers. “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.

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.

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 toolkitsto 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.

A new access to capital option for businesses has launched. Crowdfund Montana is an investment crowdfunding platform, affiliated with the national platform Crowdfund Mainstreet, to bring people together to fund good business projects. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, investment crowdfunding allows funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. NBC Montana has published this story about the platform’s launch.

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.

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.

Growth Highlights – November 2021

Great Falls Montana Trade Area Growth Highlights

Rankings

  • 4th best city in nation for first-time homebuyers (Realtor.com)
  • Best city in Montana for foodies (Insurify)
  • 10th best city in Western U.S. to live in after the pandemic (Business Insider)
  • 11th best metro area in country for average annual pay growth (Heartland Forward)
  • #2 city in Montana for budget-friendliness for renters (LendEDU)
  • 7th most affordable metro area in the West (AdvisorSmith)
  • One of five 2021 Great American Defense Communities (Association of Defense Communities)
  • Golden Triangle one of New York Times’ 52 global locations to love in 2021
  • One of the Top 100 Places to Live in U.S. by Livability.com in 2019
  • 36th best small city for business in U.S. by ChamberofCommerce.org
  • 2nd lowest taxes per capita of Montana cities
  • Home to one of the 5 most extraordinary bars in the world (Artful Living)
  • Montana #1 state in nation to start a small business (Motley Fool)
  • Montana 5th best business tax climate (Business Facilities)
  • Montana ranked most patriotic state (Wallet Hub)
  • Great Falls most patriotic city in Montana (Insurify)

Economic Data

  • Cost of living 89.5% of national average; housing cost 76.1% of national average. (C2ER Index 2021Q3)
  • Great Falls MSA population grew 3.8% from 2010-2020 increasing by 3,087 people.
  • 5.2% average wage increase 2020Q2 to 2021Q2 in Great Falls MSA; average wage 71% of national average. Total wages grew 4.2% from 2020Q2 to 2021Q2, an increase of $68 million. (Chmura JobsEQ)
  • Per capita personal income grew 6.1% in the Great Falls MSA in 2020 (U.S. BEA).
  • Great Falls MSA GDP grew by $106 million in 2019 reaching $4.124 billion (U.S. BEA). Private industries represented 85% of this growth.

Investments

In 2020, we celebrated 40 business startups, 16 business expansions, 12 commercial construction starts and 11 project announcements.
  • 20 new businesses opened in downtown Great Falls in 2020; 19 opened in 2019. 119 new businesses opened downtown from 2011-2020. During same period, downtown building permits totaled $61,334,106.
  • Touro College & University System has started construction on a 450-student Osteopathic Medical School in Great Falls in partnership with Benefis Health System. Farran Realty Partners has announced a 216-unit student apartment project to adjoin the medical school.
  • Calumet Montana Refining announced plans to invest over $200 million in its Great Falls refinery to create a biodiesel production line and a green hydrogen production facility.
  • Benefis Health is building a 48,000 square foot Women’s & Children’s Center in Great Falls.
  • Farran Realty Partners is under construction on the 216-unit Arc Apartment Homes on the west side of Great Falls. Skyline Heights, LLC plans to begin construction on a 48-unit apartment project.
  • The Newberry, a 1,000-person capacity entertainment venue in downtown Great Falls, recently opened.
  • Big Sky Select Properties opened 18-units in the downtown Northern Lofts development and announced plans to construct a 124-unit riverfront apartment building and renovate the adjacent historic Milwaukee Train Station.
  • City of Great Falls has started building the $20 million Aim High/Big Sky Indoor Aquatics & Recreation Center. The City has started construction on $6 million of improvements to the historic downtown Civic Center.
  • IND Hemp is constructing a fiber processing plant in Ft. Benton that will create 30 more jobs.
  • Dr. Reijo Pera has been named the new director of the McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences with plans to expand the Institute’s research, launched with a $5 million grant.
  • Hub Insurance just opened a new 10,000 square foot office building in Broadwater Bay.
  • Bridge Agri-Partners is expanding its facility in Shelby.
  • Independence Bank is building a riverfront headquarters in Great Falls.
  • AgroLink, a partnership of Agrocorp International and Link One Ingredient Solutions, purchased a pulse facility facility on the Blackfeet Reservation west of Cut Bank and are expanding it this year.
  • Great Falls College MSU recently opened a 11,000 square foot expansion of its dental hygiene education center. MSU plans to build a new College of Nursing in Great Falls.
  • The 10,000 square foot Karhu Koski Distillery is being developed in Vaughn just outside of Great Falls.
  • Dick Anderson Construction and the Great Falls International Airport are partnering to construct a flex-space industrial bay development on airport property.
  • Great Falls Holiday Inn plans to add 10,000 square feet of convention space and add a Tony Roma’s to the hotel and convention center.
  • The Great Falls IcePlex announced a phased expansion of its facilities.
  • Malmstrom Air Force Base is underway on $600 million of construction to be followed by a 15-year replacement of its ICBM missile system. Northrup Grumman has been awarded the $13.3 billion contract for the three U.S. ICBM bases.
  • The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe opened tribal headquarters and a health care clinic in Great Falls. The Tribe is also improving its tribal function center and creating a food sovereignty facility on Hill 57.
  • Alluvion Health has started construction on redevelopment of the historic Rocky Mountain building in downtown Great Falls as the community health center continues its rapid expansion.
  • Citizens Alliance Bank just completed an 18,000 square foot building in the 14-acre mixed-use riverfront West Bank Landing development, the fifth project in the development.
  • Lifestyle Real Estate completed renovations of a downtown Great Falls building housing it’s offices and creating the Haute Hive Co-Working Space.
  • Goat Group partners have begun renovations on a downtown Great Falls property to create The Wild Hare tequila bar, tasting room and entertainment space.
  • NeighborWorks Great Falls secured a tax credit allocation to renovate the historic Baatz Block in downtown Great Falls to create a permanent housing facility. Housing Solutions announced plans to build a 36-unit senior housing development across from Carter Park.
  • The historic Metropolitan Building in downtown Great Falls is being renovated to house the offices of Hygienix. The ground floor will house startup Mountain Wave Distillery and Brush Crazy.
  • The Great Falls Business Improvement District has signed the construction contract to install city-wide Great Falls Wayfinding Plan signs.
  • The CM Russell Museum just finished a one-acre expansion of its campus and successfully exceeded it’s two-year $25 million capital campaign.
  • The Northern Montana Oral Surgery Center opened in late 2020.
  • Big Sky Cheese plans to build a 20,000 square foot artisan cheese plant and retail store eight miles east of Great Falls. Silver Falls Distillery plans to build a 30,000 square foot bottling plant adjacent. These are the first two projects in the Madison Food Park, a 3,018-acre site.
  • Butcher Block Custom Meats is building a 6,500 square foot facility near Ulm.
  • TLC Center opened its second childcare facility in Great Falls in October licensed for 80 children.
  • Turbo Transportation Group is building a new truck wash facility in Great Falls.
  • The Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation opened the Harold & Carmen Poulsen Legacy Housing Facility this fall. The Great Falls Clinic started building a $7 million expansion of its day surgery complex.
  • Great Falls Public Schools opened the new Longfellow Elementary School in time for the 2020-2021 school year, part of a $100 million facility improvement program funded by a voter approved bond.
  • The River’s Edge Trail added a Skillz Trail in 2020. Major projects are moving forward to create a new downtown riverfront trail section and to connect the trail to the historic 10th Avenue Bridge.
  • Siyeh Communications is constructing a new headquarters building in Browning.
  • Love’s Travel Stop is under construction across from GTF.
  • Town Pump opened its new Main Stay and Sleep Inn Suites in 2020 and has been making multiple investments throughout the city including a new Express Carwash.
  • The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum opened in Great Falls, the city’s 11th museum.
  • Mountain View Physical Therapy purchased a building downtown for its expansion.
  • Madill Enterprises opened a 7,000 square foot downtown events center, the Rendezvous at Four Ten.
  • New retail investments include Starbucks, Jersey Mike’s, Nova health Clinic, City Brew, True Brew, Five Guys, North 40, Jersey Mike’s, Fit Republic, Hokkaido Ramen & Sushi, P. Gibson’s Sports Grill, Central Avenue Meats, Montana Pints, Five on Black, Luna Coffee Bar, Colored Snow, Not Your Mama’s Nutrition, Kona Ice, Game Night Lounge, Los Tacos de Montana, Cakes for Thought, Bumblebee Craft Shoppe, Image Jewelry Design, Kaboom Family Fun Center, Street Burgers, Black Heart Coffee, Glacier Drip Coffee, Missouri River Bar & Grill, and Ace Hardware.
Visit GrowGreatFallsMontana.org to learn more about recent investments and entrepreneurial successes in the Great Falls Montana region.
For info contact Jolene Schalper at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-4481.

Top 10 – 11/23/2021

Pulled over to snap a photo from Marias Pass on Wednesday. What an awesome state we live in!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 17 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. Much more to share — will try to catch up in next week’s edition.

1) Calumet Specialty Products announced it has raised a $199 million convertible debt investment through Oaktree Capital Management to support the company’s proposed biodiesel and green hydrogen project in Great Falls. Making progress on this exciting project!

2) Catching up on a number of exciting business and project announcements. Construction has started on the $26 million Belt Creek cleanup project; see Great Falls Tribune and The Electric. The Cascade County Commission picked its preferred reuse plan for the Anaconda Smelter site; see The Electric and KRTV. The Little Shell Tribe opened its new health clinic in Great Falls; see KRTV and Tribune. NeighborWorks Great Falls acquired 123 acres of land abutting the City of Great Falls for future housing development. Three new businesses plan to open at 112 Central in downtown Great Falls, All The Things Charcuterie, Tres 65, and Sub Rosa. See The Electric.

3) Per capital personal income in Cascade County grew 6.1% in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, topping Flathead at 5.2%, Gallatin at 5.4%, Missoula at 5.1%, Silver Bow at 5.0%, and Yellowstone at 4.4%. Kiplinger estimates that Montana will receive $3,500 per resident from the new federal infrastructure bill, compared to only $1,250 per resident for California.

4) Twelve entrepreneurs and business professionals participated in our QuickBooks Online course, presented by Wendy Weissman, CPA PC. Special thanks to Great Falls College MSU for hosting this training. Coming up on December 7th, Wendy will present on the QuickBooks Desktop version of the platform. For more information or to register for the December 7th course, click here. Contact Jason with questions at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) More catch up on projects and businesses. Nature’s Way, a new child care center, opened in Great Falls; see KRTV. The Montana Farmers Union unveiled its new mobile meat processing unit; see KRTV. Community leaders celebrated the opening of the new Sunburst Community Center; see Shelby Promoter. Welcome Jon and Amanda Bush who just relocated to Great Falls from Vancouver, Washington, bringing their two businesses with them: Fit and Finish Gunworks, and The Trophy Pros; see KRTV. Rainbow International Restoration opened in Great Falls.

6) Tell your college-aged kids and grandkids about the first annual College Country Jam at The Newberry this Wednesday, 11/24. Featured acts are Kylie Morgan and Claire Wright. Ticket are $15 online and $20 at the box office with a valid student ID, and $30 for the general public. Let’s engage our young people and show them that Great Falls is an awesome place so they consider our awesome companies when examining their post-graduate career options.

7) Congratulations to Malmstrom AFB on winning an Air Force Design Award for the recently completed tactical response force alert facility! See The Electric.

8) We are working with numerous food and agriculture processing businesses, large and small, to take advantage of Montana Department of Agriculture grants. Learn more about the ARPA Agriculture Infrastructure Grant program here. The deadline for this grant is December 15. Questions? Call Rich Gannon at 406.836.2078.

9) Congratulations to Great Falls Tourism on moving into their new office on Flag Hill!

10) The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released updated guidance and deadlines for applicants of the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Supplemental Advances. Click here to read the release and learn more. For anyone having difficulty applying for COVID EIDL relief funds, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) We love entrepreneurs of all ages! GFDA is once again sponsoring a csh prize for high school entrepreneurs in the Golden Triangle in the Montana Chamber Foundation’s The Prospectsbusiness plan and pitch competition.

12) December 15 is the deadline for Big Sky Trust Fund Planning Grants that can assist with engineering and design in the planning phase of a project and Big Sky Trust Fund Primary Sector Job Creation grants. You can find more information here. Questions about utilizing these programs? Call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

13) We’ve made great progress in Downtown Great Falls this week on new projects and projects that are in progress. We are always here to help keep projects moving, and one of the biggest road blocks is construction costs. If you need Gap or Bridge financing to help get your project to the finish line, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 and let’s keep the momentum in Downtown!

14) As we continue our efforts to develop a new economic development strategic plan, we commissioned an Industry by Industry COVID Impact Study for the Great Falls MSA from Chmura Economics. We’re also pleased to announce that we have retained The Wendt Agency of Great Falls to handle our talent attraction social media marketing.

15) We’re excited to announce that Justin Loch will be joining our team as a new Business Development Officer. Justin has been serving as the Membership and Development Director for the Montana Farmers Union. He earned a Bachelor of Science from MSU Northern. Welcome Justin!

16) GFDA received two Impact Awards from the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA), one for our COVID Economic Development Response and one for our efforts to support the West Bank Landing brownfield riverfront redevelopment. I participated in the MEDA fall conference and taught Economic Development 101.

17) GFDA has maintained strong support from our investors over the years. Our investors are driven by their passion of supporting this community and watching it flourish. Some recent investments include: Leadership Division—Gusto Distributing; and Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C.; Community Division—Geranios Enterprises Inc., and Grobovsky, Van Heel & Funderburk, P.C. The impact our investors have on our community is incredible. Because of their generosity we can continue providing businesses the resources and support they need.  If you share the same love for your community and want to be part of the team that is helping to Grow Great Falls, reach out to Investment Director, Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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!

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

“If you risk nothing, you risk everything.”
Geena Davis

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 511


Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q3 Quarter Index.

GFDA Career Opportunities
We have two exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, and Resource Director (grant writing). Download job postings and please help spread the word. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.922%; 20-year at 2.775%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.793%; and, 20-year refinance 2.789%; 25-year refinance 2.936%. 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 Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Attention Small Business doing Government Contracting:  There has been an update to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The plans for the next iteration of CMMC which is being call CMMC 2.0 has been released. Like the initial CMMC (which was pilot tested but never implemented) this version has to go through the public comment and rulemaking process and nobody knows what changes will occur to the proposed CMMC 2.0 during those processes. A few proposed changes included in CMMC 2.0 include decreasing certification levels from 5 to 3 and increasing opportunities for (no-cost) self-assessments. While the rulemaking efforts are ongoing, the Department intends to suspend the current CMMC Piloting efforts and will not approve inclusion of a CMMC requirement in any DoD solicitation. The Department encourages contractors to continue to enhance their cybersecurity position during the interim period while the rulemaking is underway.  Please visit the CMMC website and projectspectrum.io to learn more.

The Montana Film Office is excited to announce that the Fiscal Year 2022 Big Sky Film Grant (BSFG) is open for submissions and will be awarding $1.5 million dollars in grant funds to selected productions — AND we’ve extended our deadline to November 29. Grant applications are being accepted in 3 categories: Feature Film & TV, Resident Filmmaker, and Short-Form Content. Visit our BSFG webpage HERE for more details on categories and program details. Before applying, please read the program’s Instructions & Guidelines HERE. Applications are accepted via Submittable platform and found on our website HERE.

The Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Grant funded by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act). The goal of the grant program is to assist with the development of innovative agricultural business improvements. The first step of the grant funding process is to complete to a project proposal. If you’d like help reviewing your proposal before submitting please contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. The project proposal deadline is December 15th.

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

The Montana Department of Commerce launched an investment matchmaking website for Montana business projects. The Opportunity Exchange’s – Montana Investment Portal is a website where investors can easily view and connect to projects in the state. Click here to view listed projects. Click here to get your investment project listed on the portal. For help posting your project or property on the Montana Investment Portal, contact Kristian Richardson at 406-841-2032 or Kristian.Richardson@mt.gov.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for March 11-12, 2022 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

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 Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana DPHHS will be accepting one-time Child Care Stabilization grant applications from now until December 31! These funds are meant to stabilize your business coming out of the public health emergency. The process is not competitive and licensed centers are eligible for up to 80-100% of their operating expenses. Go to https://dphhs.mt.gov/arpa/childcare/ and click on “Grants for Licensed & Registered Child Care Programs (Stabilization).”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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. Connect with Talent Attraction Director Soren to learn about more great talent attraction tools for employers. “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.

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.

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 toolkitsto 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.

A new access to capital option for businesses has launched. Crowdfund Montana is an investment crowdfunding platform, affiliated with the national platform Crowdfund Mainstreet, to bring people together to fund good business projects. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, investment crowdfunding allows funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. NBC Montana has published this story about the platform’s launch.

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.

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 – 11/14/2021

Staff from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Montana District Office toured Mountain Wave Distillingunder construction in Downtown Great Falls. The tour was part of the SBA’s outreach to veteran-owned businesses during National Veterans Small Business Week. Jeff Miser, a retired Air Force helicopter pilot and owner of Mountain Wave Distilling, gave the tour and also participated in a virtual meetup with 30 other veteran small business owners statewide.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 26 for the last three weeks celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success. Much more to share — will try to catch up in next week’s edition.

1) We passed another stage in a major manufacturing site selection process! The City of Great Falls issued the foundation and shell building permits for construction of the Touro Montana Medical School in only three weeks! The City Commission approved the construction contract for the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics and Recreation Center. The Commission unanimously approved the rezoning requested by TC Glass and Northern Hydraulics.

2) Congratulations to MT Gems on their Big Sky Trust Fund Planning grant award. The grant will allow them to plan for an expansion of their assisted living home that focuses on family centric care for Dementia patients. Big Sky Trust Fund is a useful tool for planning and workforce development. Call Jolene to discuss your project, 406.750.4481.

3) Our first in-person/hybrid Invest Downtown Great Falls was a huge success. Thank you to our sponsor Northwestern Energy and our host The Newberry. We had over 90 in-person, 20 people watching online, 20 speakers and 1 announcement. We’re excited to see how far Downtown has come in the last few years, and even more excited to see where it’s going. NOW is the time to Invest in Downtown Great Falls. If you’ve been interested in starting a business Downtown or expand your business Downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) The Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Grant funded by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act). The goal of the grant program is to assist with the development of innovative agricultural business improvements. The first step of the grant funding process is to complete to a project proposal. If you’d like help reviewing your proposal before submitting please contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org. The project proposal deadline is December 15th.

5) World class research is happening in Great Falls Montana. Check out the McLaughlin expansion news due to a generous $5 million gift. Click here.

6) Submitted two attraction proposals. We receive leads from site selectors and the State of Montana from companies that are looking for specific requirements to expand. Typically we have 3-12 days to respond. It is extremely helpful to have an inventory of available sites. We are always adding to the inventory. If you have commercial or industrial properties – land or buildings – available; we urge you to list with a commercial broker, put your listing on Loopnet, and let us know about it. Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

7) HUB International completed their in-fill office project with a view of the Missouri River. This allows them great operational efficiency and room to expand their team! Congratulations and thank you for investing in Great Falls Montana. Plenty of in-fill opportunities exist, call Jolene to discuss 406.750.4481. Check out the announcement here.

8) GFDA closed a loan to Mountain View Physical Therapy & Sports Injury Clinic for environmental cleanup funding for their new property located in downtown Great Falls. The client is looking to redevelop this property to relocate and expand their business. The EPA Brownfield loan funds are providing the client low interest funding that will get the property ready. If you want to discuss different options that GFDA may be able to provide, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Great Falls Montana Tourism released their new Visitors Guide and it’s worth checking out – it’ll make you excited all over again to live in this great town! Rebecca and Mari celebrated one year of their popular podcast We’re No Dam Experts… by interviewing a dam expert! Listen here.

10) We received the most updated cost of living data for Great Falls. Our metro area is 89.5% of the national average! Our housing prices are only 76.1% of the national average – this is great news. We’re committed to the mission of driving wage growth in our region while still maintaining a healthy cost of living for residents.

11) Attention Small Business doing Government Contracting:  There has been an update to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The plans for the next iteration of CMMC which is being call CMMC 2.0 has been released. Like the initial CMMC (which was pilot tested but never implemented) this version has to go through the public comment and rulemaking process and nobody knows what changes will occur to the proposed CMMC 2.0 during those processes. A few proposed changes included in CMMC 2.0 include decreasing certification levels from 5 to 3 and increasing opportunities for (no-cost) self-assessments. While the rulemaking efforts are ongoing, the Department intends to suspend the current CMMC Piloting efforts and will not approve inclusion of a CMMC requirement in any DoD solicitation. The Department encourages contractors to continue to enhance their cybersecurity position during the interim period while the rulemaking is underway.  Please visit the CMMC website and projectspectrum.io to learn more.

12) Tell your college-aged kids and grandkids about the first annual College Country Jam at The Newberry on 11/24. Featured acts are Kylie Morgan and Claire Wright. Ticket are $15 online and $20 at the box office with a valid student ID, and $30 for the general public. Let’s engage our young people and show them that Great Falls is an awesome place so they consider our awesome companies when examining their post-graduate career options.

13) We published two new relocation stories on the Great People, Great Falls series on our blog. Check out the stories of Haley Thomasand Kylan and Lacey Hallett on the Live in Great Falls website!

14) The unemployment rate in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) dropped to 2.0% in September from 2.9% in August. This is the lowest monthly unemployment rate on record for our MSA. Our housing market demand consultants visited town to meet with developers, Realtors, property managers, and community leaders. Our strategic planning consultant guided a session of the GFDA Board and partners discussing what the consultant team has heard during the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats listening meetings and sessions.

15) We are entering year number five of our monthly Small Business Webinar Series in collaboration Montana State University – Extension and other partners. The November installment welcomed nearly 20 live participants with 20 more registered to watch the recording. This month discussed building a company’s brand assets. Click here to watch these brief, 30-minute professional development opportunities.

16) We are delivering FREE Great Falls Livability Magazines to employers around town who will use this tool as part of their talent recruitment package. If you want your company to be added to the delivery list, please email or call Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)781-0736.

17) Want to get more out of your QuickBooks Online? Join us for a one day course Friday, November 19 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the Great Falls College MSU. QuickBooks Pro Advisor, Wendy Weissman, will provide hands on instruction for those both new and experienced. Register here. Do you use the Desktop version of QuickBooks? We have you covered as well on Tuesday, December 7 from 8:30 to 4:30 PM at Great Falls College MSU also with QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman. Register here.

18) Three GFDA team members, Rich Gannon, Jake Clark, and Jason Nitschke traveled to the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Michigan to complete their PeerSpectives certifications. The Lowe Foundation provides a variety of entrepreneurial and leadership education programs for second stage companies. Our team completed the course in preparation for rolling out our peer mentoring program for CEOs of second stage companies in the Golden Triangle. To inquire about participating in an upcoming cohort of peer CEOs, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. To see if your company may be considered in its “second stage,” complete a Lowe Foundation self-assessment here.

19) Check out November’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls! This list series features some of the hottest jobs in Great Falls – copy and paste the below link to send to your college bestie, grandchild, or someone special who you think would love life in Montana.

20) Please follow Live in Great Falls on YouTube! If we get to 100 followers, we get our own unique YouTube web address. Just click this link and tap the red “Subscribe” button on the right! We currently have 19 followers – we need just 81 more reach our goal (that’s just 4% of everyone who will read this sentence). Thanks for your help!

21) We’ve added the Live Your Best Life in Great Falls talent attraction marketing video to the homepage of our talent attraction website! Check it out, add the website to your email signature line and job postings, and forward the website to anyone you know who might want to live + work in Great Falls.

22) We are looking for an amazing woman business advisor for our partnership with the Montana Women’s Business Center. Check out the posting here.

23) Look out for Live in Great Falls and Great Falls Development Authority ads in the upcoming issue of the Central Montana Tourism’s Visitors Guide. This publication has different audiences than our other print publications, and we want to convert visitors to residents.

24) We are considering offering a new talent attraction tool for employers: the ability to include a person who has relocated to Great Falls to join any lunches or dinners you host for candidates interviewing in town. These people, who will be from a variety of backgrounds and locations, would be able to speak about life in Great Falls, community involvement, etc. Please reach out to Talent Attraction Director Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406)781-0736 if this is a service your company would find useful.

25) GFDA’s mission is to grow and diversify Great Falls’ regional economy, create higher wage career opportunities, and improve market competitiveness. Our investors write checks each year in support of our mission. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Alluvion Health; Leadership Division—Montana Credit Union, and Stockman Bank; Pacesetter Division—GPD Consulting Engineers; Community Division—Dustin Young & Company, and Buchanan Enterprises, Inc. Because of their continued support, we can keep working towards our mission. If you are interested in becoming part of the team that is helping to Grow Great Falls, contact Investment Director, Jenn Gallmeier, at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

26) I continued my fall road trips, participating in the International Business Incubation Association’s eBuilder Forum in Columbus, OH, and the Angel Capital Association’s fall forum in Philadelphia. Made some great contacts for stepping up our entrepreneurial support and angel investment services. Met with corporate real estate executives at the CoreNet Global North America Summit in Seattle. Drove to Lewistown to participate in the Montana Infrastructure Coalitionannual meeting and was elected to the Coalition’s Board of Directors. And I participated in the virtual annual conference of the Council of Development Finance Agencies and gave a presentation on our award-winning economic development response to the pandemic.

Have a great week!

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.

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

“You have to make it happen.”
Denis Diderot

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 510


Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q3 Quarter Index.

GFDA Career Opportunities
We have two exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, and Resource Director (grant writing). Download job postings and please help spread the word. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.912%; 20-year at 2.765%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.372%; and, 20-year refinance 2.779%; 25-year refinance 2.926%. 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 Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Montana Film Office is excited to announce that the Fiscal Year 2022 Big Sky Film Grant (BSFG) is open for submissions and will be awarding $1.5 million dollars in grant funds to selected productions — AND we’ve extended our deadline to November 29. Grant applications are being accepted in 3 categories: Feature Film & TV, Resident Filmmaker, and Short-Form Content. Visit our BSFG webpage HERE for more details on categories and program details. Before applying, please read the program’s Instructions & Guidelines HERE. Applications are accepted via Submittable platform and found on our website HERE.

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

The Montana Department of Commerce launched an investment matchmaking website for Montana business projects. The Opportunity Exchange’s – Montana Investment Portal is a website where investors can easily view and connect to projects in the state. Click here to view listed projects. Click here to get your investment project listed on the portal. For help posting your project or property on the Montana Investment Portal, contact Kristian Richardson at 406-841-2032 or Kristian.Richardson@mt.gov.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for March 11-12, 2022 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

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 Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana DPHHS will be accepting one-time Child Care Stabilization grant applications from now until December 31! These funds are meant to stabilize your business coming out of the public health emergency. The process is not competitive and licensed centers are eligible for up to 80-100% of their operating expenses. Go to https://dphhs.mt.gov/arpa/childcare/ and click on “Grants for Licensed & Registered Child Care Programs (Stabilization).”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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. Connect with Talent Attraction Director Soren to learn about more great talent attraction tools for employers. “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.

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

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 toolkitsto 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.

A new access to capital option for businesses has launched. Crowdfund Montana is an investment crowdfunding platform, affiliated with the national platform Crowdfund Mainstreet, to bring people together to fund good business projects. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, investment crowdfunding allows funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. NBC Montana has published this story about the platform’s launch.

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.

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.