Top 10 – 11/30/2020

GFDA is very proud to be a certified Community Development Financial Institution!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 9 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. This is going to be a short Top 10 because I gave the GFDA team Thanksgiving week off in appreciation for the many extra hours they have worked this year.

1) The Great Falls International Airport is partnering with Dick Anderson Construction on an exciting industrial/commercial flexible-bay development project on airport land. The development will offer spaces of 1,500 square feet and up to support a wide variety of entrepreneurial companies. The bays will have individual entrances in the front offering company visibility and large roll-up doors in the rear.

2) We received our 2020 competitive financial award from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury. Thank you to our local investors for providing the $376,025 in grant funds match 1:1, which doubles what we can put to work in our region, and to the Montana Board of Investments for providing a matching loan of $280,975.

3) Congratulations to Great Falls College MSU on being designated the first GEM college in the Montana University System! The designation allows U.S. Air Force and National Air Guard members to pursue their associate’s degrees through the Community College of the Air Force by signing up for general education classes at Great Falls College. See full story on Great Falls Tribune.

4) We published our Quarterly Investor Letter. I co-taught the economic development ethics workshop during Economic Developers Alberta virtual annual conference.

5) The USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2 has almost $14 billion available to help agricultural businesses impacted by the pandemic. More crops and agriculture operations are eligible under CFAP2 than under the first CFAP program earlier this year. Farmers or ranchers can apply directly at www.farmers.gov/cfap or by contacting their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office. See full story on Montana Standard.

6) It’s tough to find and keep talent. Learn what it takes to cut through the noise to find and keep the talent your business needs. Chris Czarnik, one of the nation’s top talent experts and author of the book “Winning the War for Talent”, is bringing his expertise to you December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 11 to noon. Each session will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register here to join the sessions or to be sent a recording. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

7) Hard to believe December is here! The topic of our monthly business webinar this Thursday December 3rd at 11:00 AM MST is to help businesses increase their revenue: Engineering Growth in the Wake of COVID. Our business startup workshop The LaunchPoint is back on December 8th at 4:00 PM MST. And rounding out the year is Boots to Business, a two-day workshop December 17th and 18th designed to help military service members, veterans and service member families to start their own business.

8) Check out this upcoming training from our partner at the Montana Women’s Business Center: Intro to Email Marketing: Starting Your List, December 1st at 1:00 PM MST.

9) The University of Montana received word from the SBA that our partnership proposal to create a second Women’s Business Center in Montana has been selected as a finalist. Keep your fingers crossed!

Take care and please support your favorite local businesses!

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.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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.


Economic Development Services
See our Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

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 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. 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.

GFDA has two great career opportunities. We’re boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. We’re going to post an alternate position of commercial credit underwriter this week. We really need someone to help with our underwriting and loan packaging because our lending activity is growing so much. And, we’re looking for a Business Development Officer to lead our food processing, ag-processing, bio-processing and renewable energy business attraction and business retention/expansion efforts. Download position postings or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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.

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

The Blackfeet Tribe announced a grant program to support Blackfeet tribal business owners whose businesses have been affected by COVID 19. For more information.

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

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

Two great food processing workshops offered by Headwaters RC&D. Trends in Online Selling for Food Producers, Wednesday December 2nd, 1-3 PM, designed to support farmers, food producers, and other farmers’ market vendors, will cover the logistics of online selling and pre-ordering for food vendors that may typically sell in farmers’ markets. The content is not limited to work in the market, but is geared to support online selling for vendors that would be found in those markets. Basics of Running a Food Subscription or Community Supported Agriculture Programs, Wednesday January 27th, 1-3 PM, will cover the basics of, and differences between, subscriptions and community-supported agriculture programs. Topics covered will include pricing, packaging, building a program, fulfillment, and more. This program is for farmers, ranchers, meal kits, and food producers of all kinds.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community. The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. For printed copies or to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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

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

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

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

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

We are scheduling another Destination Creation Course which helps businesses increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. The proven 14-point business success strategy developed by internationally-known business consultant Jon Schallert teaches techniques to increase your ability to attract customers who are willing to go out of their way and postpone buying until they can visit your business. The Destination Creation Course retails for $399, and we are offering it FREE (for now) to Montana businesses. If you are interested in taking the course complete this survey to help us tailor the course to your schedule. Or if you have questions, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 11/22/2020

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has nothing on the Great Falls Montana Christmas Tree! On Wednesday, AT Klemens, H&H Crane, and Johnson Madison partnered to bring our 2020 Christmas Tree to Downtown Great Falls. Take a drive Downtown to check out the beautiful tree that was locally donated and came from the Riverside neighborhood.

GFDA’s Top 10

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

1) Our labor market continues to recover. In October, the unemployment rate in the Great Falls MSA dropped to 4.4% from 4.9% in September and another 143 people were back at work, according to data released by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. We have a ways to go and the current COVID surge isn’t helping. We had 1,050 fewer people employed this October compared to last October. This October we had 1,643 unemployed residents looking for work.

2) This November we are giving thanks for the Golden Triangle’s female entrepreneurs. Each Tuesday and Thursday this we’re featuring the stories of our 2020 Fire Within award winners. This week we featured Aspire Winner Hallie Thompson, owner of Wholesome Hal’s, and Aspire Winner Candice English, owner of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers, can be viewed on The Fire Within Facebook page.

3) 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.

4) Development Counsellors International (DCI), the firm updating our Live in Great Falls website and leading our video project, presented their initial website designs to us this week and they look fantastic! We’re excited to offer the website as one of many tools to assist employers in attracting talent to relocate to Great Falls and our surrounding rural communities. DCI also presented storyboards for our Talent Attraction and Business Development videos and we can’t wait to see them in action next year!

5) It’s tough to find and keep talent. Learn what it takes to cut through the noise to find and keep the talent your business needs. Chris Czarnik, one of the nation’s top talent experts and author of the book “Winning the War for Talent”, is bringing his expertise to you December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 11 to noon. Each session will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register here to join the sessions or to be sent a recording. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

6) The holidays are quickly approaching, so we are already looking at December trainings to help businesses finish out the year strong! The topic of our monthly business webinar on December 3rd at 11:00 AM MST is Engineering Growth in the Wake of COVID. Our business startup workshop The LaunchPoint is back on December 8th at 4:00 PM MST. And rounding out the year is Boots to Business, a two-day workshop December 17th and 18th designed to help military service members start their own business.

7) The Montana Chamber Foundation announced an exciting new state-wide High School Business Plan and Pitch Competition. Any of Montana’s 40,000+ high school students are eligible to submit their ideas for new, innovative businesses or present their existing businesses. The Chamber Foundation is also accepting student entries that convey how to solve a business challenge and innovative ways to generate revenue. The Prospects competition is open to all Montana high school students from public, independent, or religious schools, homeschools, or HiSET. Students enrolled in career and technical student organizations or other community youth organizations like 4-H, Scouts, and Boys and Girls Clubs are encouraged to participate. GFDA supports entrepreneurs of all ages so get going with your ideas!

8) Check out this upcoming training from our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center: Intro to Email Marketing: Starting Your List, December 1st at 1:00 PM MST.

9) We’re pleased to announce that Michela Turnquist will be joining the GFDA team on December 1st as our new Lending Operations Specialist. Michela has worked in commercial lending for the last five years at US Bank in Great Falls. She earned two BS degrees from Montana State University. Welcome Michela!

10) GFDA has two great career opportunities. We’re boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. We’re going to post an alternate position of commercial credit underwriter this week. We really need someone to help with our underwriting and loan packaging because our lending activity is growing so much. And, we’re looking for a Business Development Officer to lead our food processing, ag-processing, bio-processing and renewable energy business attraction and business retention/expansion efforts. Download position postings or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

11) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Montana Credit Union and Stockman Bank, for their Legacy Division investments and GPD, PC for their Pacesetter Division investment. Our private businesses are a primary source of jobs, income and tax revenues for our region. Economic development tools and resources seek to ensure business security throughout the pandemic. Thank you for seeing the value in our work through increased investments and new investments this year. If you have questions about investment, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

It’s been a tough year which makes me all the more appreciative of what we have and what we have been able to accomplish working together.

Take care and stay safe,

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
Henry David Thoreau

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.


Economic Development Services
See our Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

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 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. 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 TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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.

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

The Blackfeet Tribe announced a grant program to support Blackfeet tribal business owners whose businesses have been affected by COVID 19. For more information.

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

Two great food processing workshops offered by Headwaters RC&D. Trends in Online Selling for Food Producers, Wednesday December 2nd, 1-3 PM, designed to support farmers, food producers, and other farmers’ market vendors, will cover the logistics of online selling and pre-ordering for food vendors that may typically sell in farmers’ markets. The content is not limited to work in the market, but is geared to support online selling for vendors that would be found in those markets. Basics of Running a Food Subscription or Community Supported Agriculture Programs, Wednesday January 27th, 1-3 PM, will cover the basics of, and differences between, subscriptions and community-supported agriculture programs. Topics covered will include pricing, packaging, building a program, fulfillment, and more. This program is for farmers, ranchers, meal kits, and food producers of all kinds.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community. The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. For printed copies or to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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

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

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

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

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

We are scheduling another Destination Creation Course which helps businesses increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. The proven 14-point business success strategy developed by internationally-known business consultant Jon Schallert teaches techniques to increase your ability to attract customers who are willing to go out of their way and postpone buying until they can visit your business. The Destination Creation Course retails for $399, and we are offering it FREE (for now) to Montana businesses. If you are interested in taking the course complete this survey to help us tailor the course to your schedule. Or if you have questions, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 11/15/2020

Citizens Alliance Bank’s building is starting to take shape in West Bank Landing right across from our office. Iron workers and crane work on a beautiful fall day along the Missouri.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 15 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) We partnered with Malmstrom Air Force Base’s Diversity and Inclusion Team to present Boots to Business-Reboot: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Seventeen military spouses from five states, including 10 from MAFB joined the presentation. Special thanks to Air Force veterans Thad and Heidi Reiste, owners of Electric City Coffee, for joining the presentation to share their story.

2) This November we are giving thanks for the Golden Triangle’s female entrepreneurs. Each Tuesday and Thursday we’re featuring the stories of our 2020 Fire Within award winners. This week we featured Aspire Winner Tara Beam, co-owner of Roadhouse Diner, and Inspire Winner Vanessa Buckling, owner of Pondera County Insurance. View on The Fire Within Facebook page.

3) The Blackfeet Tribe announced a grant program to support Blackfeet tribal business owners whose businesses have been affected by COVID 19. For more information.

4) It’s tough to find and keep talent. Learn what it takes to cut through the noise to find and keep the talent your business needs. Chris Czarnik, one of the nation’s top talent experts and author of the book “Winning the War for Talent”, is bringing his expertise to you December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 11 to noon. Each session will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register here to join the sessions or to be sent a recording. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

5) 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.

6) The holidays are quickly approaching, so we are already looking at December trainings to help businesses finish out the year strong! The topic of our monthly business webinar on December 3rd at 11:00 AM MST is Engineering Growth in the Wake of COVID. Our business startup workshop The LaunchPoint is back on December 8th at 4:00 PM MST. And rounding out the year is Boots to Business, a two-day workshop December 17th and 18th designed to help military service members start their own business.

7) Great Falls Tourism has launched Visit Great Falls podcasts; see KRTV. Episode 1 is titled, “Welcome to the Greatest Dam Town in Montana, Great Falls.”

8) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center: Leadership Decision Fatigue: Making the Complex Simple – Live Zoom, November 17th at 10:00 AM MST. Grow Your Business + Support System with the Made In Montana Program – FREE Live Zoom Training, November 18th at 10:00 AM MST. Intro to Email Marketing: Starting Your List, December 1st at 1:00 PM MST.

9) Do you take a Montana Agriculture commodity and transform it adding value in the process? This is for you. Projects that add value to Montana agriculture products are eligible to apply for the Montana Growth Through Ag Grant and Loan Program. There is a $1:$1 match requirement. The maximum funding award is $50,000 for a grant and $100,000 for a loan. Examples of eligible fund use (but not limited to) include: equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services like engineering costs. Full details can be found at https://agr.mt.gov/GTA. We’re happy to advise, call Jolene with questions 406.750.4481.

10) What does the maker of all natural dog treats in Cut Bank, a modern art gallery owner in Great Falls, and a personal trainer in Geraldine have in common? They all launched ecommerce-enabled websites after taking part in our Website Boot Camp! If you want to get your business selling online in time for the holiday rush, register for our Website Boot Camp: Holiday Edition.

11) GFDA has two great career opportunities. We’re boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. And, we’re looking for a Business Development Officer to lead our food processing, ag-processing, bio-processing and renewable energy business attraction and business retention/expansion efforts. Download position postings or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

12) Participated in the Montana Infrastructure Coalition’s virtual annual meeting. The coalition is one of the strategic partnerships we support, in addition to the Montana Defense Alliance, Great Falls Downtown Development Partnership, Kids Education Yes, and the Great Fall Chamber’s Flight Initiative.

13) Two great food processing workshops offered by Headwaters RC&D. Trends in Online Selling for Food Producers, Wednesday December 2nd, 1-3 PM, designed to support farmers, food producers, and other farmers’ market vendors, will cover the logistics of online selling and pre-ordering for food vendors that may typically sell in farmers’ markets. The content is not limited to work in the market, but is geared to support online selling for vendors that would be found in those markets. Basics of Running a Food Subscription or Community Supported Agriculture Programs, Wednesday January 27th, 1-3 PM, will cover the basics of, and differences between, subscriptions and community-supported agriculture programs. Topics covered will include pricing, packaging, building a program, fulfillment, and more. This program is for farmers, ranchers, meal kits, and food producers of all kinds.

14) Participated in the virtual annual conferences of the Opportunity Finance Network, the leading trade association of Community Development Financial Institutions, and the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

15) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Hoven Equipment Company, K & K Trucking, Inc., and Mighty Mo Brewing Company for their Community Division investments. Your dollars are providing a 2.5x return, churning dollars back into the region, supporting talent attraction, business growth, and increased lending capital to our local businesses. If you want to get in on investment, email Teresa at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406-781-9499.

Hang in there!

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 fell down yesterday, stand up today.”
H.G. Wells

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunities
We are boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. And, we’re looking for a Food & Ag Processing Business Development Officer to lead our Food & Ag Development Center. Download position postings or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. 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 TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community. The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. For printed copies or to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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

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

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

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The November 30th deadline to apply for Montana’s Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) grant and loan program is rapidly approaching. Applicants can request up to $50,000 in grants and $100,000 in low-interest loans. Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison is available to support entrepreneurs interested in the funding opportunity by reviewing grant applications and helping to refine ideas. Contact Jolene at 406-750-4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

We are scheduling another Destination Creation Course which helps businesses increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. The proven 14-point business success strategy developed by internationally-known business consultant Jon Schallert teaches techniques to increase your ability to attract customers who are willing to go out of their way and postpone buying until they can visit your business. The Destination Creation Course retails for $399, and we are offering it FREE (for now) to Montana businesses. If you are interested in taking the course complete this survey to help us tailor the course to your schedule. Or if you have questions, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 11/8/2020

Northern Montana Oral Surgery Center will open their new facility on December 14th. The new larger facility allows them to hire additional staff including another doctor they are working to recruit to our community. Congratulations!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 23 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success. Last week I said it was our 450th Top 10. I was wrong; miscounted. This is our 466th GFDA Top 10!

1) We’re proud to announce that we have earned Guidestar’s 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest designation non-profits can earn! Last year we earned Gold and this year stepped it up to Platinum. Less than one percent of nonprofits in the country earn this designation for transparency. GFDA is the only Montana economic development organization or CDFI to earn Platinum so far this year.

2) The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustments approved two new meat processing facilities. The Butcher Block Custom Meats plans to build a 6,500 square foot facility near Ulm, growing from 5 to 12 employees. Todd Standley plans to build a 3,000 square foot facility on his ranch near Cascade. See TheElectricGF.com.

3) Your business may be eligible for reimbursement of COVID-19 business expenses through the Montana Business Adaptability Grant Program. The deadline is November 15th – be sure to reach out to Small Business Development Center Advisor/COVID Specialist Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 403-4937. For a complete list of COVID relief resources available to Montana businesses, visit https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

4) Luna Coffee Bar opened in downtown Great Falls. The new business is a concept coffee house inspired by small Italian espresso coffee and panini shops; see KRTV. Not Your Mama’s Nutrition, a new smoothie and juice bar in Great Falls, is scheduled to open November 14th. Great additions to our city!

5) It’s tough to find and keep talent. Learn what it takes to cut through the noise to find and keep the talent your business needs. Chris Czarnik, one of the nation’s top talent experts and author of the book “Winning the War for Talent”, is bringing his expertise to you December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 11 to noon. Each session will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register here to join the sessions or to be sent a recording. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

6) Want to know how we attract businesses to the Golden Triangle but missed our one hour session? Here’s the quick take. First, develop a target list. We currently have 425 targeted businesses in our CRM. Second, make sure those businesses see information about our region on a regular basis. We use a combination of LinkedIn content, emails, and industry media stories. Check out our the talking points we’re using to pitch our region. Third, call those businesses to learn about their expansion needs and to pitch our region. Visiting with them at industry events, virtual for now. Fourth, cultivate relationships, encourage virtual or in-person visits, and reel them in based on their needs! The key message is that it is ALL of us in the region working together to meet their company needs. Economic Development is a TEAM sport! Want more information about business attraction, we recorded the session so you can watch the video. Call Jolene to chat 406.750.4481.

7) Congratulations to Morningside Elementary School Principal Kim Defries on being recognized with the Service Member Patriot Award for her support to her military employees!

8) This November we are giving thanks for the Golden Triangle’s female entrepreneurs. Each Tuesday and Thursday we’ll feature stories about the 2020 Fire Within award winners. This week we featured Aspire Winner Ashley Wilkinson, owner of Fetch Pet Boutique, and Inspire Winner Erin Merchant, owner of Erin Schermele Films. View on our The Fire Within Facebook page.

9) Livability Media sent us the first drafts of articles for the upcoming 2021 Great Falls Livability talent attraction/relocation magazine and they’re looking great. The second edition of the magazine will be published in early February. We’re discussing with our Board’s new MAFB liaison how we might use the Great Falls Livability magazine to familiarize new airmen and their families with our community. You can read this year’s first edition here. It’s a great digital tool to help you attract talent to your business.

10) Help us reach out to businesses in the Golden Triangle who may have challenges or opportunities that we and our partners could help with. We take a regional approach to economic development and have worked with clients from Babb to Havre and Shelby to Lewistown, and EVERYWHERE in between! If you know a business that we should contact, contact Nathan at 406.403.4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

12) Just because the holidays are approaching doesn’t mean you can’t improve your business skills. It’s a great time to launch a new business. The LaunchPoint for those new to business is this Tuesday, November 10th at 4:00 PM. And our popular QuickBooks for business intro class is scheduled for Wednesday, November 18th – space is limited, so be sure to register well in advance.

13) What does the maker of all natural dog treats in Cut Bank, a modern art gallery owner in Great Falls, and a personal trainer in Geraldine have in common? They all launched ecommerce-enabled websites after taking part in our Website Boot Camp! If you want to get your business selling online in time for the holiday rush, register for our Website Boot Camp: Holiday Edition.

14) 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.

15) 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.

16) Company investments have created facilities in the Great Falls AgriTech Park valued by the Montana Department of Revenue at $38,106,912 generating $596,500 in annual property tax revenue, according to new property tax bills. Not bad for the first few projects in the BNSF Premier Park certified rail industrial park. We have shovel-ready sites available (with rail, road, water, sewer, gas, electric and fiber already installed to your lot line) and can customize your lot from a few acres to hundreds. Contact Jolene Schalper at 406-750-4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org and ask her about “Brett’s Special Pre-Thanksgiving Rail Industrial Lot Sale Price If You’re Ready To Break Ground Next Spring.”

17) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners. Our friends at Big Sky Economic Development are hosting Best Practices for Hiring Veterans – Providing your organization with tools you can utilize to attract & retain veteran and military spouse talent on November 10th from 9:00-11:00 AM. Headwaters RC&D and partners are offering a free Rise & Restore Small Business Virtual Summit from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM on November 10th; register here.

18) It’s time to move forward with the next big project to improve Great Falls! Ready to volunteer your time to support Montana ExpoPark? The Montana Expo Park for All committee is seeking business leaders to join our effort to create a bright future for the Montana ExpoPark. Email them NOW if you are interested in learning more: MontanaExpoParkForAll@gmail.com. Or contact me. I was excited to be part of the charter meeting this week. GFDA is contributing $1,000 to get the ball rolling. We also committed $1,000 to help implement the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan.

19) GFDA has two great career opportunities. We’re boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. And, we’re looking for a Business Development Officer to lead our food processing, ag-processing, bio-processing and renewable energy business attraction and business retention/expansion efforts. Download position postings or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

20) Governor-Elect Greg Gianforte has launched a website seeking interest from Montanans interested in serving the state in his incoming administration. Visit ServeMontana.com.

21) Please join us in welcoming John Gilbert to GFDA’s Board of Directors representing the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe. Download an updated list of our Boards and Staff.

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

23) Rejoined the Urban Land Institute this week to help us connect with outstanding developers across the west to get them to consider investing in our region. We are hungry for more downtown and river corridor redevelopment, high quality housing (both rental and homeownership products), and industrial development.

We added a wonderful dog to our family this week. Thank you to everyone who helped create and sustain the wonderful Maclean-Cameron Animal Adoption Center!

The most important competitive advantage of communities, regions and states in growing and strengthening their economies is a shared and sustained public/private commitment to teamwork and partnership. Thank you to our investors — the private, public and nonprofit partners who have come together and put skin in the game to work together to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. Our 13-county trade area extends across the Golden Triangle and beyond. We are an investor-driven partnership. Our investors decide how we use their resources to achieve our mission. Great Falls and the surrounding Golden Triangle suffered too long from a lack of teamwork. The formation of GFDA changed that. If you want to help grow our regional economy, come join us!

Stay warm and safe through the storm. Please continue to support the MASK UP MONTANA effort so we can overcome the virus surge in our region, get everyone back to work, and keep growing our economy.

Thanks!

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.

“Teamwork is a strategic decision.”
Patrick Lencioni

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunities
We are boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. And, we’re looking for a Food & Ag Processing Business Development Officer to lead our Food & Ag Development Center. Download position postings or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. 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 TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training & Opportunities

The Business Adaptability grant deadline is coming up soon. Businesses and nonprofits are eligible for reimbursement for personal protective equipment, business adaptations needed in response to the pandemic. Apply at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOVApplication deadline, Nov. 15, 2020. The Live Entertainment grant program is still open. Need additional assistance navigating business through COVID, call Nathan Reiff, 406.403.4937.

The Montana Downtown Coalition is holding a free virtual Roadmap to Recovery Workshop Series on November 11-13. Learn more and register here.

The Northern Pulse Growers Association is holding Montana Pulse Days virtually this year, November 10-12.

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 Montana State University (MSU) Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will hold the 2020 Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference on Friday, November 13th from 9:00-11:30 AM. This year’s event will be a virtual conference free and open to the public.  The Outlook Conference is part of MSU’s Celebrate Agriculture Weekend.

The Great Falls headquartered Montana Farmers Union will be holding its annual convention virtually this year on November 14th from 11 AM until 5:15 PM. To learn more about the conference and to register visit the Montana Farmers Union.

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

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

The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a webinar on November 12 from 1-3 PM with program officers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Small Business program. Visit Techlink for more info here.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community. The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. For printed copies or to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The November 30th deadline to apply for Montana’s Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) grant and loan program is rapidly approaching. Applicants can request up to $50,000 in grants and $100,000 in low-interest loans. Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison is available to support entrepreneurs interested in the funding opportunity by reviewing grant applications and helping to refine ideas. Contact Barnett at 406-750-3285 or Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

We are scheduling another Destination Creation Course which helps businesses increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. The proven 14-point business success strategy developed by internationally-known business consultant Jon Schallert teaches techniques to increase your ability to attract customers who are willing to go out of their way and postpone buying until they can visit your business. The Destination Creation Course retails for $399, and we are offering it FREE (for now) to Montana businesses. If you are interested in taking the course complete this survey to help us tailor the course to your schedule. Or if you have questions, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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 – 11/1/2020

Benefis Women's and Children's Center Under Construction

Benefis’ Women’s and Children’s Center is coming along nicely. You can follow along with the progress and read about the new services that will be offered here.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 21 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. This is our 450th GFDA Top 10. Hope you enjoy and find it useful.

1) The Montana Farmers Union announced plans to purchase a mobile meat processing unit and start the first meat processing curriculum in the country; see KFBB.

2) Received two loan applications from different business owners in Great Falls that currently rent space for their business and want to realize their dream of owning. With the SBA 504 rates being so low they are taking advantage the of the opportunity to do just that! If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org. If you want to read more about the SBA 504 program or success stories please visit our website.

3) Congratulations to the Great Falls College MSU 2020 nursing graduates who passed their boards at a record high rate of 91.3%, besting the national average of 87.5% despite COVID challenges! See Great Falls Tribune.

4) Join Investment Director Teresa Schreiner and CEO Brett Doney for our monthly Investor Development Coffee this Friday, November 6th at 7:00 AM where we discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. This month’s Development Coffee will take place via Zoom. For login details, please register. For questions, contact Teresa at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406.781.9499

5) Great Falls High School’s Food Service and Culinary Arts Center was featured as the October Facility Design Project of the Month in Food Service & Equipment magazine. You can read the article about this incredible education opportunity made possible by our investment in our public schools. Thank you Great Falls for continuing to support our students and our community!

6) How do I diversify my revenue to survive COVID-19? That’s a question we’ve spent seven months discussing with businesses throughout the region. One option we encourage entrepreneurs to consider is thinking about where else customers might be. They may be outside Montana or outside the United States. Over the last year, we’ve collaborated with the Montana Department of Commerce and a coalition of other economic development organizations nationwide to build a platform to inspire and educate current and prospective businesses about exporting. That effort produced the Trade Passport, an on-demand export assistance portal. Signing up is free. Many of the courses- from export readiness to exchange rates- are also free. If your business could benefit by diversifying revenue, check out Trade Passport or talk with our export certified advisor, Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Congratulations to Bumblebee Craft Shoppe who is opening their new location at 7 Sixth Ave SW Conrad, MT. They sell handcrafted products for the holidays, decor, and gifts.

8) Just because the holidays are approaching doesn’t mean you can’t still improve your business skills! Our monthly webinar Understanding Credit Card Processing is coming up on November 5th at 11:00 AM. The LaunchPoint for those new to business is on November 10 at 4:00 PM. And our incredibly popular QuickBooks class is scheduled for November 18th – space is limited, so be sure to register well in advance.

9) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls held its annual meeting. We celebrated accomplishments over the past year including ArtsFest Montana, the targeted block visioning project, the BID-GFDA partnership creating the Downtown Business Development Officer position, increased City support of the DDP, and the new businesses and development projects opened and announced! We also discussed priorities for the coming year including implementation of the Wayfinding Plan, updates to the downtown promotion website, increased City use of tax increment financing to support private development, increased business and real estate development efforts, and exploration of converting the one-way streets downtown to two-way.

10) Thirteen building permits totaling $801,523 were issued for downtown Great Falls projects last quarter. Five new businesses opened creating 19 jobs. Volunteers donated 5,570 hours downtown during the quarter. Thank you to the Great Falls Business Improvement District for compiling this data every quarter!

11) Are you looking for a development opportunity in Downtown Great Falls? We have a TON available! Be sure to mosey on over to our Downtown Great Falls page for some of those opportunities, and while you’re there, check out the recording of our Invest Downtown Great Falls event. You can hear first-hand about some of those opportunities that are in our beautiful Downtown. For more information, contact Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatrFalls.org or 406.836.0136.

12) Great Falls is getting a new restaurant/arcade called Game Night Lounge the will feature virtual reality games, food and more. Cakes for Thought opened in downtown Great Falls. The Hoyt and Blewett Law Firm is remodeling their offices in downtown Great Falls. See TheElectricGF.com for more details.

13) COVID-19 has changed the holiday shopping season. Is your website prepared for the holiday rush? According to this Google study, 75% of U.S. shoppers who plan to shop this season said they will shop online more for the holidays than they did in previous seasons. Check out our 5 Tips for Preparing Your Online Store for the Holiday Rush, and be sure to register for our upcoming Website Boot Camp: Holiday Edition starting November 10th.

14) It’s tough to find and keep talent. Learn what it takes to cut through the noise to find and keep the talent your business needs. Chris Czarnik, one of the nation’s top talent experts and author of the book “Winning the War for Talent”, is bringing his expertise to you December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 11 to noon. Each session will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register here to join the sessions or to be sent a recording. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

15) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners: Webinar with Trisha Gardner, Health Officer, Cascade City-County Health Department, on November 5th at 9:00 AM, centered around business protocols, what to do when an employee is sick, self-quarantining while awaiting results, has been identified as a close contact and placed into quarantine, or is in isolation due to testing positive. Our friends at Big Sky Economic Development are hosting a Montana Veterans Startup Roadmap workshop for veterans interested in starting a business on November 2nd and Best Practices for Hiring Veterans – Providing your organization with tools you can utilize to attract & retain veteran and military spouse talent on November 10th from 9:00-11:00 AM. Headwaters RC&D and partners are offering a free Rise & Restore Small Business Virtual Summit from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM on November 10th; register here.

16) Have you ever wondered what the GSA (General Services Administration) is all about? Has any federal contracting officer ever mentioned that your business should be on the GSA schedule? Here is your opportunity to find some answers. GSA is holding an Industry Day to explore new business opportunities for government contracting on November 17th at 10:30 AM. Some of the topics will be the Big Picture explanation of GSA, what products/services they purchase, how they buy goods & services, forecasting of contracting opportunities and GSA’s role in facilitating purchase for other federal agencies. Attendance is free, but registration is required.  For more information, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) Had a project kickoff call this week with Development Counsellors International (DCI), the destination marketing company we selected to produce a series of business development, business attraction, and talent attraction videos for us. We discussed creative visioning, effective messaging and steps moving forward.

18) We are once again accepting applications for Phase 1s and Phase 2s to support redevelopment throughout Cascade County. Are you looking at a site or building with potential hazardous contamination? Why not be sure what you are getting into by applying for a free Phase 1 prior to purchase. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

19) Folklore Coffee of Conrad recently announced another expansion project. Folklore will open a 4th location in Cut Bank in the coming weeks. This follows the coffee shop opening locations in Whitefish and Valier. The new Cut Bank location will be housed at the recently remodeled Rose Petal Floral and Gifts. And speaking of the Rose Petal, the Cut Bank based business has expanded and recently opened a 2nd location in Columbia Falls; see Hungry Horse News.

20) The Old Cascade County Jail abatement project is moving along and should be completed by late Fall. We are excited to see another cleanup completed and ready for redevelopment. We have Brownfields cleanup funds available. Let us know if you have a potential contaminated site that could use help to make your project costs work. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

21) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, KRTV/Scripps for their Leadership Division investment and First American Title Company for their Community Division investment. GFDA is making critical efforts in talent marketing, business attraction and business development. To hear about your return on these investments as current investors, and to get in on investment as a new investor, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

The current COVID wave in our region is affecting businesses of all types and sizes. Please support local companies, practice virus safety protocols, and promote MASK UP MONTANA so we can keep our communities save and get back to growing our economy. THANK YOU to all of our health care providers and to everyone working to get us past this.

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.

“Action expresses priorities.”
Mahatma Gandhi

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.


Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunities
We are boosting our lending team with Loan Officer and Lending Specialist positions. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.582%; 20-year at 2.553%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.468%; and, 20-year refinance 2.596%. 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 TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training & Opportunities

The Business Adaptability grant deadline is coming up soon. Businesses and nonprofits are eligible for reimbursement for personal protective equipment, business adaptations needed in response to the pandemic. Apply at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOVApplication deadline, Nov. 15, 2020. The Live Entertainment grant program is still open. Need additional assistance navigating business through COVID, call Nathan Reiff, 406.403.4937.

The Montana Downtown Coalition is holding a free virtual Roadmap to Recovery Workshop Series on November 11-13. Learn more and register here.

The Northern Pulse Growers Association is holding Montana Pulse Days virtually this year, November 10-12.

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 Montana State University (MSU) Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will hold the 2020 Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference on Friday, November 13th from 9:00-11:30 AM. This year’s event will be a virtual conference free and open to the public.  The Outlook Conference is part of MSU’s Celebrate Agriculture Weekend.

The Great Falls headquartered Montana Farmers Union will be holding its annual convention virtually this year on November 14th from 11 AM until 5:15 PM. To learn more about the conference and to register visit the Montana Farmers Union.

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

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

The Montana Innovation Partnership is hosting a webinar on November 12 from 1-3 PM with program officers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Small Business program. Visit Techlink for more info here.

The new relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com is officially LIVE! This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community. The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine is a new tool to help you recruit talent from out of town to relocate to the Great Falls trade area. For printed copies or to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The November 30th deadline to apply for Montana’s Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) grant and loan program is rapidly approaching. Applicants can request up to $50,000 in grants and $100,000 in low-interest loans. Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison is available to support entrepreneurs interested in the funding opportunity by reviewing grant applications and helping to refine ideas. Contact Barnett at 406-750-3285 or Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

We are scheduling another Destination Creation Course which helps businesses increase their revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability. The proven 14-point business success strategy developed by internationally-known business consultant Jon Schallert teaches techniques to increase your ability to attract customers who are willing to go out of their way and postpone buying until they can visit your business. The Destination Creation Course retails for $399, and we are offering it FREE (for now) to Montana businesses. If you are interested in taking the course complete this survey to help us tailor the course to your schedule. Or if you have questions, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.