Top 10 – 2/28/2021

Here is our Top 25 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.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 25 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) Helped host a very exciting prospect visit to Great Falls and committed GFDA’s full resources to help this project come to fruition. THANK YOU to Benefis Health Systems for its long-time leadership in what I think is the most important project I’ve worked on since joining GFDA. Stay tuned and thank you to the many community partners who are working on this.

2) Congratulations to Great Falls designer Shari Jenkins on being the newest designer for Moda with her Lipstick Cowgirl line. Sheri is an example of someone who took an idea during the downturn in 2008 and made it into a successful business. You can read about her story here. And view more of her designs here. You will be able to get her designs from Moda in June.

3) Submitted a proposal for an advanced manufacturing expansion. This is the initial group stage. The company will develop a short list based on the first round of proposals. Our proposal focused on the competitive advantages of our region in terms of location, workforce, and incentives. The Great Falls region is an excellent place to do business. Our goal is to get the right information in front of the right people at the right time. To discuss how we approach business attraction, call Jolene 406.750.4481.

4) Community leaders and partners in Lincoln announced plans for a regional recreation area in the mountains just an hour from Great Falls; see KRTV. The Lincoln Prosperity Project maps out multi-use recreation on 200,000 acres of public land in the Upper Blackfoot Valley.

5) Met with a new, primary sector, agri-processor moving into the region! This will be an excellent addition to our trade area with 10 high wage jobs in the first phase and an additional 10 in the second phase.

6) Read about some amazing local high school entrepreneurs who submitted proposals to the Montana Chamber’s The Prospectsentrepreneur competition in a great KFBB story. We are excited to offer a $1,000 prize for the best proposal amongst youth entrepreneurs in the Golden Triangle, just a small part of the $52,000 in total prizes.

7) A big week for our efforts to provide the capital businesses need to start, innovate and grow, filling the capital gaps and providing bridges that conventional lenders can’t do. This week GFDA’s Loan Committee approved $2,060,840 in bridge loans to support manufacturing startups!

8) The Downtown Summer Jam is returning to Great Falls this summer. Read more details about the concerts and the special release party downtown on March 4th on TheElectric. Howard’s Pizzais opening a new downtown dining room and Rocky Mountain BiometRX has opened in Great Falls; see TheElectric’s Business Bites.

9) Our High Plains Financial board approved an SBA 504 loan for a Montana business that has been leasing a space they are outgrowing. With the SBA rates being so low this business decided it was time to own. Take advantage of the low FIXED rates for the life of the loan. 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. We do SBA 504 loans statewide.

10) Ten retail/restaurant/entertainment business owners participated in our “Growing My Business During a Pandemic” workshop with consumer behavior guru Barbara Wold. If you missed the webinar you can watch it here. If you want specific tips for your business, sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with Barbara Wold, scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

11) Do you need money to help clean up a brownfield site to get it ready for redevelopment? We have money to lend – now. Low interest loans for businesses and potential grants for non-profits. Call Jolene to discuss your project, 406.750.4481.

12) Here is another example of how our businesses are working together. The Electric and GF Take Down & Take Out have teamed up for “Feasting in the Falls” a new version of restaurant week March 1-7. You can read about the event, who is participating, and specials in The Electric.

13) We invite you to watch Remote Ready Cities, a great webinar delivered by Fourth Economy and Livability.com. Remote work is on the rise, and the time is now to make Great Falls a destination for remote workers of all types. Learn how we can make Great Falls remote-worker ready.

14) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: take control of your business’s financials and increase profit in our Profit Mastery course starting March 4th. Also on March 4th is our monthly webinar focused on Strategic Communications and Support for Women in BusinessThe LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop designed to answer entrepreneur’s burning questions before they open their doors, is on March 9th.

15) The Downtown Development Partnership (DDP) board recommended approval for the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) request by the Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID) in the amount of $125,000 for downtown trees. The board also voted in favor of a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Great Falls regarding ownership and maintenance of Wayfinding signs, one more step forward in getting the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan built.

16) The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board supported tax increment financing to fund infrastructure for the industrial bay development proposed by Dick Anderson Construction and Great Falls International Airport.

17) Have you ever thought about selling your products on Amazon? Our partners at America’s Small Business Development Center have partnered with Amazon on a series of webinars designed to help small businesses set up an account and started selling. The series starts March 1st – Learn more and register.

18) It has been an exciting month for development in the Golden Triangle! Join us for Investor Development Coffee this Friday, March 5th at 7:00 AM to discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. This month’s development coffee will take place via Zoom. For login details, please register or call Teresa at 406-781-9499.

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

20) We’re excited to announce that we have retained Jeff Tripp of Richmond, VA, to serve as a project manager to help us launch a volunteer entrepreneur/business mentor network throughout Great Falls and the Golden Triangle. Jeff is an entrepreneur who spent the last three years with Rocky Mountain MicroFinance in Denver. He brings a wealth of business and community development experience to our team. Jeff will work with us from March-September to design the mentor network, based on best practices from other CDFI’s and economic development organizations, then recruit and onboard the first beta group of mentors. When we launch the mentor network next fall, it will enable us to help many more existing businesses and startups in the region and offer a broader array of expertise to entrepreneurs. Thank you to the Small Business Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce for providing the funds to hire Jeff!

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

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

23) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week

This week let me tell you about lead generation, a key part our business attraction work. Through market research and networking via key industry associations, we identify target companies that are expanding and for which we think the Great Falls trade area would be a competitive location. Then we use a variety of means to gain the interest of these companies, eventually leading to direct online talks, site visits, and ultimately a decision to locate an operation here. We are very active on Linked In and use account-based-marketing to get the attention of executives of targeted companies. In non-pandemic times, we supplement the online work with visits to company headquarters and set-up meetings with leaders at targeted industry events.

24) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Vision Net, for your Flagship Division investment, and Ferrin’s Furniture for your investment at the Community Level Division. Your support is critical in helping secure talent, business investment, and growth throughout our region. More than ever our team is working hard to deliver a return and take advantage of new opportunities in the market. If you have questions about investment, please email Teresa or call 406-781-9499.

25) Thank you to the local employers and partners who advertised in the 2021 Great Falls Livability magazine, making it possible for us to partner with Livability Media to produce this talent attraction tool and engage in year-round articles and online media posts with Livability.com! BlueCross BlueShield of Montana, Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams P.C., City Motor Company, Downtown Great Falls Association, Energy West, GPD Consulting Engineers, Great Falls College MSU, North 40 Outfitters, University of Providence, and Vision Net.

Almost spring weather this week — great for getting your businesses and real estate projects ready to go!

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.

“Think big; think disruptive. Execute with full passion.”
Masayoshi Son

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 482


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

February SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.752%; 20-year at 2.714%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.794%; 25-year refinance 2.757%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

MSU Extension and MSU Department of Agricultural Economics are hosting a Spring version of their annual Fall Agricultural Economics Conference on March 5. See Agenda here; free registration here.

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

LISC has opened a new round of COVID relief grants of $10,000 dollars. Several clients have received LISC rural grants in the past. We can provide tools such as LIvePlan for a stronger application. If you want help on a grant or loan application or just want to strengthen you business plan, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 836-2078.

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

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

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

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

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The SBA hosted a webinar on the new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. The recording is available for viewing. Qualifying applicants may be able to receive a grant of 45% of their 2019 annual revenue to use on a wider range of expenses than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Venues in business on or after January 2, 2019 have a different calculation for their maximum grant amount. The grant and PPP cannot be used together. The grant application period has not been announced yet. As soon as it is, we’ll send out an eblast.

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

Our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center in Bozeman are taking applications for their third annual Impact Grant Competition. This competitive grant opportunity will award a total of $15,000 in funds to women-owned businesses in Montana.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 2/21/2021

One of the best workforce training programs we have in Great Falls is the longstanding partnership between NeighborWorks Great Fallsand Great Falls Public Schools. Each year high school students learn building trades and construct a house that is sold at an affordable price to a local family. This year the 43rd house is underway! We need more programs like this in more local industries.

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) Beehive Homes of Great Falls is opening its new 18-bedroom memory care facility on March 1st; see KRTV. The Game Night Lounge restaurant and hi-tech entertainment center has opened in Great Falls; see KRTV. The City of Great Falls won a federal grant to restore more of the riverbank along the Missouri River urban corridor; see TheElectric. REP Space will open on March 1st offering professional services in 3d virtual tours, commercial and real estate photography; see TheElectric.

2) This week’s announcement of the week is the expansion of Bridge Agri-Partners located in Shelby. Check out the video announcement here. We have resources to support would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses – contact Jolene to get connected (406) 750-4481.

3) Began work with three businesses in the region on expansion planning. Each project will include capital investment, construction, and job creation. We help existing enterprises as a way to help grow our regional economy from within. Every new job created from a growing business means more money into the pockets of the people living here. GFDA has tools, resources, and advice on how to envision growth, turn a plan to action, and capitalize on opportunities that create jobs. If your business has an opportunity to grow our team and partners stand ready to help it happen. Contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org for more on how we assist growing companies.

4) GFDA has earned GuideStar’s 2021 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest seal of transparency for nonprofits in America! We are proud to remain the only economic development organization and CDFI in Montana to earn Platinum.

5) Congratulations to Diana Burd, a Blackfoot language teacher at the Cuts Wood Immersion School in Browning on winning the Montana World Affairs Council’s Global Educator of the Year award! See Great Falls Tribune.

6) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Grow Your Retail/Restaurant/Event business utilizing tips from consumer behavior guru Barbara Wold in this one-hour session on February 25th; businesses can also sign up for a free one-on-one consultation with Barbara Wold scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Take control of your business’s financials and increase profit in our Profit Mastery course starting March 4th. Also on March 4th is our monthly webinar focused on Strategic Communications and Support for Women in Business. That’s not all – stay tuned!

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

8) How do I finance my expansion? If that question is on your mind, give us a call. We’re happy to help you put together your finance package and figure out how to make that expansion happen! Call Nathan to schedule a one on one appointment, 406.403.4937.

9) Great Falls College MSU has opened its search for its new CEO/Dean. See information about the position and search process. It’s important that the Great Falls business community get involved in this critically important search!

10) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners: Learn about fire contracting with the U.S. Forest Service – one of two sessions February 23 or February 25, and a Trademarks Basics Bootcamp on February 23rd.

11) We are excited to announce a new GFDA team member! Rustin Lippincot will be relocating to Great Falls from Iowa to serve as a Business Development Officer to help us grow the food and ag processing industries and bio-product manufacturing in the Golden Triangle. Welcome Rustin!

12) MSU Extension and MSU Department of Agricultural Economics are hosting a Spring version of their annual Fall Agricultural Economics Conference on March 5. See Agenda here; free registration here.

13) We are working on a workforce retention and recruitment series of webinars to help local employers. If you have some best practices, tools, and ideas to share, reach out to Jolene to discuss JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.750.4481.

14) GFDA has two excellent career opportunities. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. We are also looking for a Project Manager to help us put together and launch a volunteer mentor network to support small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs. This is a temporary or contract position between now and the end of September. Download pdf describing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

15) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
Our newest economic development activity is talent attraction — marketing Great Falls to attract talented workers to relocate here and providing tools to help employers attract talent to move here. We started this last January. One of our first things was to launch the Live in Great Falls campaign. Visit LiveInGreatFalls.com. We partnered with Livability media to produce an annual relocation digital magazine, Great Falls Livability. We’re using targeted social media posts and this year we’re mounting a number of marketing methods to really step up the campaign. You’ll soon see the second edition of Great Falls Livability, the 2.0 expanded version of the Live In Great Falls website, a series of professional videos featuring people who have relocated here, and more content marketing. Several years ago we commissioned a study estimating the economic impact of modest population growth. The top issue we hear from local employers is their need for more skilled workers. We’ll continue efforts with our partners to train residents for these opportunities, but we also need to pitch Great Falls to residents who have left over time and to new potential residents.

A key component of the attractiveness of our community is its affordability. We are working hard to keep it affordable with continued effort to entice developers to build more quality housing at all price points. One of the first things we did when we started our talent attraction effort was to sign on to the C2ER cost of living index which is the top national tracking system for community cost of living comparison.

That’s it for today. Have a fantastic week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“Great opportunities can be and have been created during tough economic times.”
Howard Schultz

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 481


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

February SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.752%; 20-year at 2.714%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.794%; 25-year refinance 2.757%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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


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

LISC has opened a new round of COVID relief grants of $10,000 dollars. Several clients have received LISC rural grants in the past. We can provide tools such as LIvePlan for a stronger application. If you want help on a grant or loan application or just want to strengthen you business plan, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 836-2078.

The City of Great Falls has issued an RFP seeking proposals to utilize $475,000 in supplemental COVID recovery Community Development Block Grant funds. Proposals must be submitted to and received by the Planning and Community Development Department by 4:00pm on Friday February 26. Applications, instructions, and other important information can be found at the City of Great Falls Planning and Community Development website at https://greatfallsmt.net/planning/cdbg-cv-program. Contact department staff at 406-455-8443 or tshumaker@greatfallsmt.net for questions regarding CDBG-CV funding.

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

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

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

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

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The SBA hosted a webinar on the new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. The recording is available for viewing. Qualifying applicants may be able to receive a grant of 45% of their 2019 annual revenue to use on a wider range of expenses than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Venues in business on or after January 2, 2019 have a different calculation for their maximum grant amount. The grant and PPP cannot be used together. The grant application period has not been announced yet. As soon as it is, we’ll send out an eblast.

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

Our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center in Bozeman are taking applications for their third annual Impact Grant Competition. This competitive grant opportunity will award a total of $15,000 in funds to women-owned businesses in Montana.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 2/14/2021

More great iron work happening as Town Pump’s Express Car Wash on 10th Ave. South in Great Falls takes shape.

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) Congratulations to Latte’ Da coffee shop, located on the main street of Cut Bank, on their recent remodel! This is another great business in the Golden Triangle that is thriving. You can read about their expansion and their experience in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

2) We’ve started a new series to highlight all the development that is happening throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle – the Announcement of the Week. This week Montana was ranked the #1 Best State to Start Your Small Business in 2021 by The Blueprint!Check out our video announcement here. We’ve got resources to support would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses – contact Jolene to get connected (406) 750-4481.

3) Congratulations to the United Way of Cascade County, its volunteers and everyone who donated to make it a record breaking $1.3 million campaign year! See KRTV.

4) We closed $1,000,000 in loans to support the two businesses of the Great Falls Holiday Inn & Convention Center. These loans will help the businesses be able to continue their expansion and renovation efforts. This includes bringing in a Tony Roma’s and adding 10,000 square feet of convention center space. It’s exciting to see them expand and grow their business, while creating 30-40 new jobs in our Great Falls community. Thank you to the Montana Board of Investments for partnering with us on these loans! If your business needs assistance with financing to start, innovate or expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org. We fill gaps and provide bridge loans, filling in what banks and credit unions can’t do.

5) Hosted a virtual foreign direct investment event in collaboration with SelectUSA: Select Great Falls Montana for Your Agri-processing and Manufacturing Location! Governor Gianforte welcomed participants to Montana, Acting SelectUSA Director Bill Burwell welcomed participants to the US, we then gave a regional overview followed by two great company interviews. Jean-Francois Boursier with ADF Group spoke about the process of choosing and locating in Great Falls Montana. Hiro Hidaka, CEO, and Dan Bateman, CFO, Pasta Montana, spoke about doing business in the Golden Triangle. Commissioner Briggs wrapped up the event inviting businesses here. Thank you to all of our speakers for an excellent event! We’ll be sending out the video link and some additional information next week. Email Jolene if you’d like to be on the list, JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) Completed a loan package review for a major commercial development and business expansion proposed in Great Falls. This five-week review process included refinement of the business plan, financial projections, and calculation of ratios and performance percentages. Knowing the numbers inside and out increases your ability to speak the language of a credit analyst, underwriter, and commercial loan committee. It also increases the likelihood of securing a bank or credit union loan commitment. If you are pursuing a commercial loan, GFDA’s advisors are here to help get you from 50% ready to 100% ready, increasing chances of a ‘yes.’ For a no-cost consultation, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org and let’s turn that idea into action.

7) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Learn how to craft a winning proposal and make your business more visible to government agencies in our Marketing Tips and Tricks for Government Contracting workshop on February 16th; Increase Your Customer Base and Satisfaction utilizing tips from consumer behavior guru Barbara Wold in this one-hour session on February 25th; and, take control of your business’s financials and increase profit in our Profit Mastery course starting March 4th. Also on March 4th is our monthly webinar focused on Strategic Communications and Support for Women in Business. That’s not all – stay tuned!

8) We have many updates on the talent attraction front. We finalized filming for the talent attraction marketing videos yesterday. We reviewed the beta test of our 2.0 version of the Great Falls relocation website LiveinGreatFalls.com – it looks great and we’re working on a few content edits. We received the first drafts of Great Falls online itineraries – ½ Day and Full Day self-guided tours for job candidates visiting our community that will be hosted on the new website. A new Great Falls Livability magazine webpage was created by Livability Media and highlights the magazine and other articles.

9) We talked with a Great Falls Downtown lead this week and will soon host them for a site visit. We’re very excited with the momentum that Downtown has so far this year and we’re only 6 weeks into 2021! If you’re looking to expand into Downtown Great Falls or are looking to open a new business, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Save on interest and preserve your cash for working capital. SBA 504 loan rates, including fees, for February are 2.752% fixed for a 25 year loan; 2.438% fixed for a 10 year equipment loan. These loans work great for business real estate and longterm equipment acquisition or construction in partnership with your bank or credit union. We do 504 loans statewide. Contact Jill Kohles for more info: JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

11) Check out this upcoming training from our partners: Industry Day with the National Parks Service for businesses looking to contract with this governmental agency on February 17th.

12) We received a nice mention in an article about economic development response to the pandemic in American City and Countywritten by Tom Kucharski, board chair of the International Economic Development Council.

13) Do you know that GFDA hosts a monthly virtual meeting of partners and interested leaders throughout the Golden Triangle to connect and share ideas about how to support existing businesses and startup entrepreneurs? If you would like to be on the invitation list to participate, let Rich Gannon know at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) GFDA has several excellent career opportunities. We are looking for a Project Manager to help us put together and launch a volunteer mentor network to support small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs. This is a temporary or contract position between now and the end of September. We are looking for a Business Development Officer to focus on growing food and ag processing and bioproduct manufacturing industries in our region. This position involves helping existing businesses to expand and attracting companies from elsewhere to expand into the Golden Triangle. We’re expanding our lending team with a Commercial Credit Analyst or a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing all four and please spread the word!

15) Starting this week, I’m going to include a brief description of one of the things we do in our economic development work and explain why we do it. This week: Pipeline. No, not the Keystone (which should have been built years ago). Our pipeline is our CRM in which we track every target, lead, client, and project. Every Monday, our team meets to discuss new leads, learnings from visits with existing businesses in the region, results of the previous week’s outreach to targets, and the status of active clients and projects. We spend most of our time on clients and projects that are stuck, brainstorming what we and/or partners may be able to do to move them forward. Our value proposition is to help make things happen that otherwise would not. This insures that we’re investing our time where we can make the most difference. Thank you to the Salesforce Foundation for continuing to give use free use of the Salesforce platform for our CRM!

Have a great week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“My theory on momentum is that the best way to produce it is through small, hard-fought victories that lead to bigger battles and bigger wins. Winning builds momentum.”
Shaun King

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 480


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

February SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.752%; 20-year at 2.714%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.794%; 25-year refinance 2.757%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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


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

LISC has opened a new round of COVID relief grants of $10,000 dollars. Several clients have received LISC rural grants in the past. We can provide tools such as LIvePlan for a stronger application. If you want help on a grant or loan application or just want to strengthen you business plan, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 836-2078.

The City of Great Falls has issued an RFP seeking proposals to utilize $475,000 in supplemental COVID recovery Community Development Block Grant funds. Proposals must be submitted to and received by the Planning and Community Development Department by 4:00pm on Friday February 26. Applications, instructions, and other important information can be found at the City of Great Falls Planning and Community Development website at https://greatfallsmt.net/planning/cdbg-cv-program. Contact department staff at 406-455-8443 or tshumaker@greatfallsmt.net for questions regarding CDBG-CV funding.

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

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

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

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

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The SBA hosted a webinar on the new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. The recording is available for viewing. Qualifying applicants may be able to receive a grant of 45% of their 2019 annual revenue to use on a wider range of expenses than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Venues in business on or after January 2, 2019 have a different calculation for their maximum grant amount. The grant and PPP cannot be used together. The grant application period has not been announced yet. As soon as it is, we’ll send out an eblast.

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

Our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center in Bozeman are taking applications for their third annual Impact Grant Competition. This competitive grant opportunity will award a total of $15,000 in funds to women-owned businesses in Montana.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 2/7/2021

The City of Great Falls is making infrastructure and community amenity improvements citywide in 2021, continuing to enhance our 57 parks, 54 miles of recreation trails, 36,000 trees, two 18 hole golf courses, water park, swimming pools, 300 acres of conservation land and 140 acres of land for additional 9 undeveloped parks.

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) 20 new businesses opened in Downtown Great Falls in 2020! That tops the 13 new businesses opened downtown in 2019. Building permits in 2020 totaled $7.7 million. Downtown volunteers donated over 21,000 hours! Downtown business investment is gaining momentum. In just the 4th quarter of 2020, 14 new businesses opened downtown! Contact our Downtown Business Development Officer, Christian Leinhauser, for help making the next projects happen, CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-836-0136.

2) Met with two target companies. Our business attraction industry targets are focused on Food/Ag/Bioprocessing, Advanced Manufacturing and Steel Fabrication, and Backend Office Operations. January has had more inquiries than we typically get in six months! Part of that is because of the economic environment and part is because of our strategic business attraction initiative. Check out our marketing micro-site. Questions? Call Jolene 406.750.4481.

3) The Great Falls City Commission approved a five year lease of the former visitor center on Flag Hill to Great Falls Tourism. The Commission held a work session to discuss three new downtown tax increment financing programs. Bear Paw Development, in partnership with island Mountain Development Group, has issued an RFP to assess the feasibility of a mobile livestock processing facility; see on MATR.net.

4) We closed a $500,000 working capital loan to CCPet in Black Eagle for their primary sector manufacturing business. CCPet LLC is one of the only U.S. companies to make products that include reptile caves, dishes, aquatic decoration, and bottled water for pets. The owners fell in love with the Great Falls community and relocated their business here in 2014. It is exciting to see them innovate and grow their company! If your business needs assistance with financing to start, innovate or expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) 23 entrepreneurs learned to use social media (TikTok) to engage clientele in our webinar featuring Adriane Good with MSU-Extension in Conrad. The recording can be viewed at your convenience. If you would like to champion social media for your business, reach out to our business advisor Tyler Menzales at (406) 590-1539 or TMenzales@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) Held a conference with state financing officials and a leading global investment bank to discuss industrial bond financing for a potential large existing business expansion. Existing businesses are the core of our regional economy. If you know of a business that has an opportunity or threat we may be able to help with, contact Nathan Reiff at 1-406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatfalls.org.

7) GFDA’s Board approved our 2021 Talent Attraction Plan. We signed a three year agreement with the Great Falls Voyagers to help promote our Live In Great Falls talent attraction campaign. Gave the Great Falls region presentation as part of the Montana Economic Outlook seminar. We had an excellent local entrepreneur panel. We’ve been selected to participate in a Harvard project engaging university students studying economic development finance to assess our gap and bridge financing products and suggest new innovative ideas to meet entrepreneur, business and developer capital needs in our region.

8) LISC is opening up a new round of COVID relief grants of $10,000 dollars starting February 8th. Several clients have received LISC rural grants in the past. We can provide tools such as LivePlan for a stronger application. If you want help on a grant or loan application or just want to strengthen you business plan, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 836-2078.

9) The government buys everything from paper clips to submarines from businesses like yours. Have you considered selling, or are already selling to the government? Join us in our Marketing Tips and Tricks for Government Contracting workshop on February 16th to learn how to craft a winning proposal and make your business more visible to government agencies. For more information on government contacting, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 750-1253.

10) We’ve started a new series to highlight all the development that is happening throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle – the Announcement of the Week. This week’s announcement is how Great Falls is growing our skilled trades workforce one high school house at a time. Check out the video announcement and KRTV story. To learn more about Montana’s apprenticeship program click here.

11) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Retail and restaurant business ideas to Increase Your Customer Base and Satisfaction utilizing tips from consumer behavior guru Barbara Wold in this one-hour session on February 25th. Take control of your business’s financials and increase profit in our Profit Mastery course starting March 4th. Also on March 4th is our monthly webinar focused on Strategic Communications and Support for Women in Business.

12) The IRS is offering a webinar to walk through the new income tax guide, Publication 5424, for Native American Individuals and Sole Proprietors this Tuesday, February 9th.

13) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners: Selling Online with E-Commerce Tools for businesses looking to sell their products online on February 11th, and Industry Day with the National Parks Service for businesses looking to contract with this governmental agency on February 17th.

14) Met with the new Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) team, Brett Simons and Sonny Capece. We partner with other Montana economic development organizations and GOED to raise Montana’s profile amongst site selection consultants. The new GOED Team is interested in actively engaging the Governor in Business Attraction efforts and listening to existing business needs.

15) Testified before the Montana Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee in support of authorizing the use of PACE energy financing — one more tool to add to help make Montana more competitive in attracting business investment and help existing businesses compete with the 38 other states that offer PACE.

16) The Montana Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Impact Report was published by the SBDC national association. The report features a video with Drew Hicks, owner of Central Avenue Meats in downtown Great Falls. For more information on how GFDA’s SBDC helps businesses thrive, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) GFDA has several excellent career opportunities. We are looking for a Project Manager to help us put together and launch a volunteer mentor network to support small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs. This is a temporary or contract position between now and the end of September. We are looking for a Business Development Officer to focus on growing food/ag/bio processing industries in our region. This position involves helping existing businesses to expand and attracting companies from elsewhere to expand into the Golden Triangle. We’re expanding our lending team with a Commercial Credit Analyst or a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing all four and please spread the word!

Stay warm and have a SUPER week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Samuel Goldwyn

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 479


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

January SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.692%; 20-year at 2.653%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.696%; 25-year refinance 2.733%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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


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

The City of Great Falls has issued an RFP seeking proposals to utilize $475,000 in supplemental COVID recovery Community Development Block Grant funds. Proposals must be submitted to and received by the Planning and Community Development Department by 4:00pm on Friday February 26. Applications, instructions, and other important information can be found at the City of Great Falls Planning and Community Development website at https://greatfallsmt.net/planning/cdbg-cv-program. Contact department staff at 406-455-8443 or tshumaker@greatfallsmt.net for questions regarding CDBG-CV funding.

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

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

NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab that will be held virtually during February 9-25, offered by the Montana Innovation Partnership, powered by the MSU TechLink Center.

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

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

The SBA hosted a webinar on the new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. The recording is available for viewing. Qualifying applicants may be able to receive a grant of 45% of their 2019 annual revenue to use on a wider range of expenses than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Venues in business on or after January 2, 2019 have a different calculation for their maximum grant amount. The grant and PPP cannot be used together. The grant application period has not been announced yet. As soon as it is, we’ll send out an eblast.

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

Our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center in Bozeman are taking applications for their third annual Impact Grant Competition. This competitive grant opportunity will award a total of $15,000 in funds to women-owned businesses in Montana.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 1/31/2021

Black Eagle Dam in Great Falls, one of five local dams that harness the Missouri River’s waters to generate power for Montana.

GFDA 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) Congratulations to Kessler Martin on opening Coulee Cuts butcher shop in Conrad!

2) Our Q4 2020 data collection for the national Cost of Living Index through The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) placed Great Falls’ cost of living at 89.5% of the national average, a 0.2% drop from the previous quarter. Bozeman came in at 108.6% of the national average, Spokane 106.9, Seattle 156.0 and San Francisco at 192.3. Use this data in your talent attraction efforts and find more useful data and resources on our website.

3) The City of Great Falls has put the Civic Center renovations project out to bid. It has also issued an RFP seeking proposals to utilize $475,000 in supplemental COVID recovery Community Development Block Grant funds. Proposals must be submitted to and received by the Planning and Community Development Department by 4:00pm on Friday February 26. Applications, instructions, and other important information can be found at the City of Great Falls Planning and Community Development website at https://greatfallsmt.net/planning/cdbg-cv-program. Contact department staff at 406-455-8443 or tshumaker@greatfallsmt.net for questions regarding CDBG-CV funding.

4) Despite the economic challenges faced in 2020, average wages in the Great Falls MSA continued to increase, according to 2020Q3 data released by JobsEQ. From 2019Q3 to 2020Q3 the average wage increased by $1,438 to $43,798, rising 3.4% which was substantially above inflation.

5) GFDA has put up $1,000 in prize money to encourage youth entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle who submit entries in the Montana Chamber Foundation’s The Prospects 2021 High School Business Plan & Pitch Competition. The Chamber has secured nearly $50,000 in prizes. The Prospects is a virtual statewide entrepreneurship competition with scholarships and cash prizes for high school students with new ideas and existing small businesses. It is a collaborative initiative with Youth Entrepreneurs for investing in our students and developing a mentorship platform for connecting them with business and community leaders. Entrepreneurs submit a two minute video pitch and a business summary of no more than 1,000 words. Deadline for submissions is February 12th.

6) Downtown Developers and Entrepreneurs! The Great Falls City Commission is holding a work session this Tuesday at 5:30 PM to hear about three new proposed downtown tax increment financing programs. You can attend virtually or in person; meeting info here including slides describing the proposed programs.

7) We have three excellent business trainings coming up: our Destination Creation course starting February 2nd for businesses looking to increase revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability by becoming a destination business, our monthly webinar on February 4th on Using Social Media (TikTok) to Engage Your Clientele, and our LaunchPoint class on February 4th designed for businesses who have yet to, or have just opened their doors.

8) We’ve added two great new entrepreneur resources to our website: Ascent, an SBA online resource for female entrepreneurs; and, an AARP online resource center for 50+ entrepreneurs.

9) We’re ready to kick off 2021 by moving deals forward! Join us for Investor Development Coffee on Friday, February 5th at 7:00AM to discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and move into construction. This month’s development coffee will take place via Zoom. For login details, please register.

10) The Shelby Chamber of Commerce announced that they have a new director Executive Director, Ashely Lampert. Welcome Ashely! See Shelby Promoter story.

11) We have a training coming up February 16th on “Marketing Tips & Tricks for Gov’t Contracting”. Have you have been looking into Government Contracting? Or maybe you found a bidding opportunity and can put together a winning proposal but haven’t been awarded. What else can you do to increase the chances of actually winning the bid? In this workshop, you’ll learn how federal government contracting officers search for and evaluate small business contractors through the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database. You will also learn how to make your business more visible to agencies. Lead trainer Lillian Sunwall will guide entrepreneurs through the best practices. By the end, you will have additional tools in your toolbox to step up your chances of securing a contract. There is no cost, but registration is required. For more information or to register, click here.

12) If you’re a business that’s hiring a difficult position to fill, use the Talent Attraction tools and resources on our website to help attract talent from out of the region to relocate to Great Falls.

13) Montana State University Northern is partnering with Great Falls College MSU on an accelerated apprenticeship education initiative for electrical and plumbing trades. See KFBB.

14) USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements (REAP RES/EEI), with an application deadline of March 31. REAP funds agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems for their operations. Grant funding is available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs with a maximum of $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Guaranteed loan funding is also available in conjunction with grant funding. USDA webinar this Thursday February 4, 2021 from 1:00-2:00 pm eastern time to learn more about the program and how to apply. Register here.

15) Help us recruit talent to our region! Be sure to follow Live in Great Falls on Instagram and Facebook. We will be filming several Live in Great Falls “Why Great Falls?” talent attraction videos in February. These videos will follow the days of 8 Great Fallsians, highlighting the best of living and working here. Employers will be able to share these videos on their websites and in marketing efforts to attract talent to Great Falls.

16) We secured several great new leads for Downtown Great Falls this week! Check out some opportunities on our Invest in Downtown Great Falls page, or call Christian Leinhauser at 406.836.0136 for more information. Much of downtown Great Falls is a federally designated Opportunity Zone.

17) Nathan Reiff and Christian Leinhauser learned how to better engage, learn about, and help businesses in the Golden Triangle at the two day IEDC’s Business Retention and Expansion course this week. If you know someone who is doing great things in the Golden Triangle we should reach out to Nathan NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or Christian CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org for downtown Great Falls. We want to engage with and help all businesses in our region.

18) Thank you to the 29 clients and partners who provided letters of support for our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program. The letters were submitted to the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. Of the 29 letters provided, 15 came from businesses in rural communities and 22 were from woman-owned businesses. Thank you again to all who support GFDA’s technical assistance programs. We are here to help rural and urban businesses throughout the Golden Triangle – from Browning to Lewistown – start, grow, and expand. For more information on the advisory support GFDA provides to entrepreneurs, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

19) I enjoyed two great opportunities this week, participating in a discussion about value added ag processing opportunities with the Montana house Agriculture Committee and hosting a roundtable with developers and retailers as part of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Western Division virtual meeting.

20) GFDA has several excellent career opportunities. We are looking for a Project Manager to help us put together and launch a volunteer mentor network to support small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs. This is a temporary or contract position between now and the end of September. We are looking for a Business Development Officer to focus on growing food/ag/bio processing industries in our region. This position involves helping existing businesses to expand and attracting companies from elsewhere to expand into the Golden Triangle. We’re expanding our lending team with a Commercial Credit Analyst position as well as a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing all four and please spread the word!

21) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Vision Net, for their increased Flagship Division investment. We also welcome new investors, Pasta Montana. Thank you for your Pacesetter Division investment. Thank you to The Fagenstrom Company for their continued Flagship Division investment. Your investments allow us to continue our efforts to bring more dollars into this region. In doing so, we bring more dollars into your stores and the organizations that you support. See our complete list of Investors in Economic Development, all working to grow our regional economy. If you want to talk about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner or call at 406.781.9499.

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.

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.”
Paul Theroux

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 478


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

January SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.692%; 20-year at 2.653%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.696%; 25-year refinance 2.733%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab that will be held virtually during February 9-25, offered by the Montana Innovation Partnership, powered by the MSU TechLink Center.

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

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

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The SBA hosted a webinar on the new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. The recording is available for viewing. Qualifying applicants may be able to receive a grant of 45% of their 2019 annual revenue to use on a wider range of expenses than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Venues in business on or after January 2, 2019 have a different calculation for their maximum grant amount. The grant and PPP cannot be used together. The grant application period has not been announced yet. As soon as it is, we’ll send out an eblast.

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

Our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center in Bozeman are taking applications for their third annual Impact Grant Competition. This competitive grant opportunity will award a total of $15,000 in funds to women-owned businesses in Montana.

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

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

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

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.

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.

A great food processing workshop is being offered by Headwaters RC&D.  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.

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

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

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

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.