Top 10 – 12/21/2020

The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls board voted to move forward to secure funds to construct the Great Falls Wayfinding plan.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 14 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

Congress is close to passing new economic relief legislation that will provide a wide variety of financial and tax benefits for business. As always, we will wait for confirmed, accurate information before disseminating anything. Our team will continue to help businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the Golden Triangle to access these various programs, adapt business operations, develop new markets, access capital, launch new products and enterprises, find sites, and help with other needs and opportunities. Please take caution in making major business decisions until the details are issued by applicable government agencies and watch out for bad information and scams.

1) Our Loan Committee approved three $500,000 loans last week! These loans are going to help with working capital needs so the businesses can continue their expansion efforts. One loan is for a primary sector manufacturing company located in Black Eagle and the other two are for a Great Falls entrepreneur that has some exciting expansion plans for their businesses. If your business needs assistance with financing to start, adapt to the pandemic, or to expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

2) We received the proof of the 2021 Great Falls Livability magazine designed to attract talent to relocate to the Great Falls area. It looks great! It is scheduled to be published mid-February 2021. We are excited to share this great tool with employers and recruiters to assist them in their talent attraction efforts. You can read this year’s magazine here.

3) Ten active duty military members, veterans, and military family members joined us from around Montana and as far away as Knoxville, Tennessee for our fifth and final Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship workshop in partnership with Malmstrom Air Force Base. We also co-hosted a Grow with Google training, our first partnership training with the Great Falls Public Library, to wrap up GFDA’s 2020 Business Education Calendar. Stay tuned as we announce our 2021 Business Education Calendar which will launch on January 7th with The Small Business Webinar Series: Steering Your Business Through Change.

4) Chmura Economics provided us with an Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Great Falls Montana MSA report. Thank you to the Chmura team for doing this for us pro bono! We are still in the midst of economic impact and there is much uncertainty, however, this early analysis is useful as we continue to help businesses adapt and pursue new opportunities. The report estimates that the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) lost 2,430 jobs in 2020Q2, gained back 1,867 jobs in 2020Q3, then will end this quarter with a 173 job loss. It predicts we will reach pre-pandemic employment in the fourth quarter of 2021. Let’s hope we can bounce back quicker and get back to growth. As more data becomes available, we will use the Chmura JobsEQ system and other sources to continue to assess impact and identify opportunities.

5) Preliminary November employment data released Friday by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry indicates that the Great Falls MSA had a 4.5% unemployment rate in November. Our labor force grew a bit from 37,389 in October to 37,582 in November. Employment grew slightly from 35,741 in October to 35,896 in November, leaving 1,686 unemployed. In comparison, our labor force in November 2019 was 38,083, 694 more than this November. Employment in November 2019 was 36,868, 972 more than this November. Jobs are one measure. Take home pay is even more important and we are eager to look at data on that as it becomes available.

6) How were we doing before the pandemic? Per Capita Personal Income in the Great Falls MSA grew faster in 2019 than in the Billings or Missoula MSA’s. Great Falls grew 4.0%, compared to 2.8% in Billings and 2.6% in Missoula. Per capita personal income grew by $1,914 in the Great Falls MSA reaching $49,803. Total personal income grew by 3.6% in Great Falls MSA, reaching $4.05 billion.

7) Did you know the government buys everyday goods and services from businesses like yours? Take a look at the current solicitation to see what opportunities you qualify for. You can also “Follow” to get updates. If you would like more information on the GSA Schedule and how your business can contract with the government, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) We’ve put the Great Falls Downtown Visioning to work again this week doing outreach to numerous Multi-Family housing developers, but we are always on the hunt for more. If you know of any developers that are doing Downtown projects around the region, give Christian a call at 406.836.0136 or email CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org. If you are a little rusty on the Downtown Visioning for Great Falls, head over to the Downtown Great Falls section of our website where you can find the Visioning, some Opportunities and the recording of our 2020 Invest Downtown Great Falls!

9) This week we helped another business apply for funding assistance from Toole County Forward. If you own a business in Toole County, contact Rich Gannon at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-2078 to find out how to apply.

10) We’re ready to kick off 2021 by moving deals forward! Join us for Investor Development Coffee on Friday, January 8 at 7:00 AM, where to discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. This month’s Development Coffee will take place via Zoom. Please register for login details.

11) Great Falls College MSU is offering two globally certified CompTIA certification courses at a reduced rate with support of an Emergency Education Relief Grant. The 8-week, A+ Certification and the 16-week, Security + Certification courses registration closes January 6th and you can register and get further information by contacting GFC-MSU’s Lifelong Learning at 406-268-3734 or email LifeLongLearning@GFCMSU.edu.

12) Help us celebrate all things new at Ignite 2021presented by PayneWest Insurance! Friday, January 22nd starting at 10:00 AM MST we will be virtually hosting entrepreneurs from around the region announcing business startups, expansions, and more. Want to feature your project? Contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937. Projects include business startups, business expansions, real estate developments, and institutional capital projects.

13) Looking for last minute gift ideas, and want to shop local? Check out this awesome Holiday Shopping Guide from our partners at the Great Falls ChamberClick here for a directory of Great Falls retailers – grab gift cards, ship from the store, or pick up curbside.

14) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Benefis Health System, for your Executive Division investment, Ferrin’s Furniture, Grabofsky, VanHeel & Funderbunk, PC, Great Falls Association of Realtors, Hybrid Steel Design, LLC, KLJ Engineering, LLC, and Michael Plummer: Edward Jones Financial for your Community Division investments. Your continued support in economic development ensures that we can push for more growth, diversification and opportunities in the new year. Reach out to Teresa at 406.781.9499 if you have questions about investment.

Merry Christmas!!

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.

“You know, as most entrepreneurs do, that a company is only as good as its people. The hard part is actually building the team that will embody your company’s culture and propel you forward.”
Kathryn Minshew

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.


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

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

December SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.622%; 20-year at 2.583%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.626%; 25-year refinance 2.663%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

Save the date for the SBIR/STTR Cost Proposal virtual workshop offered by the Montana Innovation Partnership, powered by the MSU TechLink Center, on January 21, and their NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab that will be held virtually during February 9-25.

Registration is open for the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research’s popular Annual Economic Outlook that will be held virtually on February 1-2.

Earn a Cultural Heritage Tourism professional certification, offered virtually January 11-February 28 by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association in partnership with George Washington University.

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 12/13/2020

Construction on the new Great Falls College – MSU dental hygiene center is coming along nicely and is expected to be complete this summer.

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) The Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) economy grew by $106 million in 2019, reaching $4.124 billion. Private industries represented 85% of this growth, increasing by $89 million while government grew by $17 million. Private industries now comprise 80% of our local economy and government 20%. This is according to county-level GDP data released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

2) The eleven counties that comprise the Golden Triangle, including Cascade County, saw economic growth of $360 million in 2019 reaching $7.787 billion. $315 million of this growth was in private industries which total 81% of the region’s economy.

3) High Plains Financial’s Board approved an SBA 504 loan and we submitted the package to the SBA for approval. This is for a business that currently leases space and wants to expand in Downtown Great Falls. This client has the opportunity to purchase a building, renovate and even add some equipment to their existing business! If you are in the process of buying or building commercial real estate and would like a loan with a low down payment and a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) Treasury and the IRS issued new guidance “clarifying” (their word, not mine) PPP tax impacts. Start with this Treasury press release: Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance Clarifying the Deductibility of Expenses Where a Business Received a PPP Loan. Then read Rev. Rul. 2020-27. Revenue Ruling 2020-27 amplifies Notice 2020-32. Then read Rev. Proc. 2020-51. Be sure to talk soon with your accountant and tax advisers to be sure you are taking advantage of all available business help.

5) You can still register for Boots to Business, a two-day virtual workshop December 17th and 18th designed to help military service members and veterans start their own business. KFBB ran a story about our new entrepreneur training effort with the Great Falls Public Library.

6) 24 business leaders have attended the first two installments of our three-part Attracting and Retaining Talent Series with national talent expert Chris CzarnikRegister here to access the recordings, or attend the upcoming session on December 15th from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM MST. All registrants will receive a free copy of Chris’s book Winning the War for Talent. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

7) 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!

8) SBA 504 loan rates for December including fees and fixed for the life of the loan: 10-year 2.417%; 20-year 2.583%; 25-year 2.622%; 20-year refi 2.626%; and, 25-year refi 2.663%. We do 504 loans statewide. Contact Jill Kohles for more info: JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

9) Our Business Attraction efforts continue to generate leads. We added another three business attraction potential deals to our pipeline this week. We are always competing with other communities for these leads, oftentimes as far away as Asia. In addition to our lead generation efforts, we rely on in-market intelligence from all of you. Depending on the deal, we have a toolkit of resources we can bring to bear from state and some local incentives, financial packaging and gap financing, project advocacy through the permitting process. Call Jolene to learn more or to give us info on a potential startup, expansion or attraction lead, 406.750.4481 or email JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Registration is now open for Ignite 2021! Friday, January 22nd starting at 10:00AM MST we will be virtually hosting entrepreneurs and developers from around the region announcing business startups, expansions, and more. Want to feature your project? Contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 403-4937. Projects include business startups, business expansions, real estate developments, and institutional capital projects.

11) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners: Webinar: Grants for U.S. Small Businesses to Sell Overseas, December 15th at 12:00 PM MST, and the Grow With Google Virtual Event, December 17th at 11:00 AM MST. The Montana Economic Developer’s Association is co-hosting a webinar with leaders in Choteau this Tuesday, December 15 from 11:00 AM – Noon detailing their Outdoor Recreation efforts. On Wednesday, December 16th, at Noon the Montana Department of Labor and Industry is offering a COVID-19 Economic Update via Zoom.

12) Check out this awesome Holiday Shopping Guide from our partners at the Great Falls Chamber! They’ve made shopping local easy for you this year. Click here for a directory of Great Falls retailers – grab gift cards, ship from the store, or pick up curbside. Shop early so we don’t crowd the stores and shop local to keep our businesses open!

13) Jolene Schalper was appointed to the State Workforce Innovation Board. The Board’s mission is to advise the Governor on statewide workforce development strategies that maximize the state’s education, training, and employment resources in support of economic development.

14) Looking forward to next quarter, save the date for the SBIR/STTR Cost Proposal virtual workshop offered by the Montana Innovation Partnership, powered by the MSU TechLink Center, on January 21, and their NIH SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab that will be held virtually during February 9-25. Registration is open for the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research’s popular Annual Economic Outlook that will be held virtually on February 1-2. Earn a Cultural Heritage Tourism professional certification, offered virtually January 11-February 28 by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association in partnership with George Washington University.

15) Did you know GFDA was the first internationally accredited Economic Development Organization in the Rocky Mountain West? Arvada, serving Denver, Colorado, was the second. We are proud to be held to the highest standards for economic development and among the top 1% of organizations nationally. This week Jolene shared the importance of accreditation on a call with 60+ Economic Developmemt agencies across the United States and Canada.

I was out most of the week sick with COVID. Starting to feel better. The quote this week, see below, is inspired by the Starship flight I was able to watch live. Entrepreneurship is alive and climbing new heights!

Take care and Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“I remember in third grade, I asked my mom, ‘How does an engine work? So my mom bought me a book.”
Gwynne Shotwell
President & COO of SpaceX

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area


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

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

December SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.622%; 20-year at 2.583%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.626%; 25-year refinance 2.663%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 12/6/2020

Great news for Great Falls Voyagers baseball fans this week! The Pioneer League and Minor League Baseball announced an affiliation agreement. See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) The Great Falls City Commission approved annexation and zoning for a 48-unit apartment development proposed by Skyline Heights, LLC. The Commission also approved downtown tax increment financing funds for the Civic Center Facade Renovation Project. Great to see these two developments moving forward!

2) 21 business leaders attended the first installment of our Attracting and Retaining Talent Series with national talent expert Chris CzarnikRegister here to access the recording, or attend one or both of the upcoming sessions on December 8th and December 15th from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM MST. All registrants will receive a free copy of Chris’s book Winning the War for Talent. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

3) Great Falls’ Cassiopeia Books, owned by New York relocatee Millie Whalen, was the inspiration for an article on independent bookstores by Livability Media. The article talks about independent bookstores as a way to know the heart of a city – and that’s true at Cassiopeia Books! As you shop this holiday season, remember to support small locally-owned businesses!

4) Our talent attraction initiative and website LiveinGreatFalls.com were featured on KRTV for helping recruiters attract talent to our region! Thank you to investors LPW Architecture for interviewing about the site and helping promote it in the feature.

5) Congratulations to three Great Falls Public Schools — Loy Elementary, North Middle School and CMR High School — on winning Purple Star Awards for going above and beyond to provide inclusive environments for active military families! See Tribune.

6) We want to update on Great Falls’ talent attraction efforts. We are currently managing three contracts with DCI: 1) marketing strategy, 2) website updates, 3) video project. In January, we will host a virtual event to present the 2021 marketing plan. We finalized the updated LiveinGreatFalls.com design and the 2.0 version of the site will be available February 15, 2021. The videos will be released early Spring. We are still working hard to engage with recruiters in town! If Soren reaches out to you or your team to be connected, please direct her to your recruitment team or HR department. Contact Soren at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-836-0147.

7) The Great Falls Wayfinding Plan is now complete and available for public review online; see TheElectricGF.com. Thank you to the Great Falls Business Improvement District for spearheading this effort and for all the partners who made the plan possible. Now, on to implementation!

8) We met with a property development group from Utah this week. The conversation was very productive and we’re very excited that Great Falls, Montana and Downtown Great Falls are now on their radar. If you know of a property development company doing work Downtown in other parts of the Northwest, let us know. Call Christian at 406.836.0136 or email CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) 10 entrepreneurs attended our December webinar, Engineering Growth in the Wake of COVID, this past Thursday. Couldn’t attend? The recording can be found at http://www.msucommunitydevelopment.org/smallbusiness.html. If your business is seeing challenges or opportunities as a result of COVID-19, reach out to our business advisor Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 403-4937. We want to see you survive and thrive.

10) What a week for business attraction leads! We had three leads come in that we are working and set three additional appointments with new leads for next week. If you have a lead on a business attraction project, call Jolene to chat 406.750.4481.

11) Did you know that business who are PTAC clients can get unlimited access to a multitude of free live and pre-recorded government contracting webinars? Now that Cyber Security is going to be a mandatory element for anyone who wants to work with the Department of Defense, this is a great opportunity to find out what is required and needed for your company. It is important knowing your proprietary and confidential information is safe from unscrupulous hackers or inadvertent mishaps. For more information on unlimited access to this resource, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) Finish out the calendar year strong with our remaining December business trainings! Our business startup workshop The LaunchPoint is back on December 8th at 4:00 PM MST. And rounding out the year is Boots to Business, a two-day workshop December 17th and 18th designed to help military service members start their own business.

13) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners: The SBA’s 3 C’s Webinar, December 10th at 10:00 AM MST. Webinar: Grants for U.S. Small Businesses to Sell Overseas, December 15th at 12:00 PM MST, and the Grow With Google Virtual Event, December 17th at 11:00 AM MST.

14) Save the Date for Ignite 2021! Friday, January 22nd starting at 10:00 AM MST we will be virtually hosting entrepreneurs from around the region announcing business startups, expansions, and more. Registration will open soon. Want to feature your project? Contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 403-4937. Projects include business startups, business expansions, real estate developments, and institutional capital projects.

15) Check out this awesome 🎁Holiday Shopping Guide🎁 from our partners at the Great Falls Chamber! They’ve made shopping local *easy* for you this year. Click here for a directory of Great Falls retailers – grab gift cards, ship from the store, or pick up curbside. Shop early so we don’t crowd the stores and shop local to keep our businesses open!

16) Ever wonder what our business development strategies are? We meet with existing businesses to aid in their retention and expansion by linking them to resources to achieve opportunities and minimize threats; we work to attract new primary sector businesses to our region; we work hard to help projects at all stages move forward – our pipeline of projects; and we work to create and promote meaningful content for businesses of all stages.

17) Congratulations to the Black Lodge Singers, led by Blackfeet Nation member Kenneth ScabbyRobe on its 8th Emmy nomination!! See KRTV.

18) Michela Turnquist started work as our new Lending Operations Specialist. Welcome Michela!

19) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Davidson Family Foundation, for their Legacy Division investment, and Morrison Maierle for their Supporter Division investment. Your investment demonstrates the generosity of spirit and suborn optimism that is characteristic of our Golden Triangle. Every business is important to our communities’. Your support and leadership ensures ongoing business success in a most critical time, while helping pursue bright capital investments, and new jobs. To discuss investment opportunities, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

Take care and THANK YOU for supporting our wonderful local businesses throughout the Golden Triangle!!

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.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Francis of Assisi

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.


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

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 11/30/2020

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

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 9 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success. This is going to be a short Top 10 because I gave the GFDA team Thanksgiving week off in appreciation for the many extra hours they have worked this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care and please support your favorite local businesses!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

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

Arnold Schwarzenegger

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.


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

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 – 11/22/2020

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

GFDA’s Top 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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

Take care and stay safe,

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

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

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.


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

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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