Top Ten April 24

The Rocky Mountain building is starting to see a major facelift in Downtown Great Falls. Alluvion Health purchased the building in 2019 and is taking on the task of the renovation to later house all its services under one roof.

Here is our Top 17 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) The Great Falls City Commission unanimously supported two steps forward for downtown revitalization. The Gibson hotel development was approved for a tax abatement that will help this project move forward. See the Great Falls Tribune. Expansion of the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) was approved, adding 20 more parcels; see The Electric. The Great Falls City Commission also unanimously approved a tax abatement helping the Great Falls Clinic hospital expansion to move forward; see The Electric.

2) We held the kick-off meeting of the Health and Bioscience Economic Development Strategy Steering Committee with our consultants from Tripp Umbach. Thank you to the local and regional partners from north central Montana who are helping with this project, an important part of our deep-dive strategic planning. We’re digging into how we can leverage the region’s excellent healthcare and health education assets to nurture health and bioscience industries in the region. If you know of an organization or business in our region who we should invite to the conversation, please contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) Congratulations to Gayle Fisher, long-time leader of Central Montana Tourism, on being recognized with the Legacy Award at the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation!

4) Time to register for The Fire Within 2022 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and Alluvion Health! May 19 starting at 5:30 PM at the Haute Hive in Downtown Great Falls. Registration is capped so register early here.

5) Logan Health – Shelby announced the certification of its cardiovascular rehabilitation program by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR); see Cut Bank Pioneer Press. The Atrium Mall in Havre is undergoing remodeling; see Havre Daily News.

6) We continue to work with business owners trying to increase the amount of their SBA COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). If your business is running into brick wall after brick wall with the SBA in the increase process, got a denial for an incorrect reason, have closed your loan but haven’t received the funds yet, or could use some insights in how COVID EIDL funds can and cannot be used, contact Jason at 406-750-0314 or JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Great Falls Tourism boards unanimously adopted its FY2023 Business Plan detailing strategies, objectives and tactics for tourism industry recovery and growth.

8) Join us and other business resource partners for a Business Pitch In Event on April 28th at 6:00 PM at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery in Cut Bank. Our Business Pitch In events are designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship and give attendees an opportunity to pitch, discuss their business idea, and meet like-minded people. We’re excited to bring these in-person fun events back! If you would like to partner with us to hold a Business Pitch In event, please contact Lyndsay at Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1539.

9) Area Development published its annual survey of corporate site selection factors. The five factors scoring highest with over 90% of corporations rating as very important or important were labor costs, availability of skilled labor, energy availability and costs, inbound/outbound shipping costs, and highway accessibility. The eight factors scoring second highest with over 80% of corporations rating as very important or important were raw materials availability, corporate tax rate, state and local incentives, environmental regulations, tax exemptions, quality of life, occupancy or construction costs, and right to work state.

10) Area Development also published its annual survey of site selection consultants. Over 75% of the consultants rated the following site selection factors as very important or important to their clients (in rating order): proximity to major markets, availability of skilled labor, highway accessibility, state and local incentives, proximity to suppliers, available land, energy availability and costs, expedited or fast-track permitting, occupancy or construction costs, tax exemptions, available buildings, inbound/outbound shipping costs, labor costs, raw materials availability, training programs/technical schools, environmental regulations, availability of unskilled labor, and quality of life. These surveys included 28 site selection factors. Every company’s siting decision is different. We often have only a few days to respond to lengthy requests for information that can run into hundreds of siting factors.

11) Do you have space you are hoping to lease? We routinely get requests for spaces from companies interested in locating in the Great Falls trade area. We are currently looking for a 2,000 square foot workshop with a loading dock and three-phase power with room to grow. The first places we look and refer all commercial space inquiries to is on loopnet.com and through our local broker investors. If you have space available that is not on Loopnet and/or listed with a local broker, it will likely get missed by businesses looking for space. Talk with Jake Clark on our team at 406-403-4937.

12) Save the dates for four new trainings we’ve recently added to our Business Education Calendar this summer. We’ll be hosting our cash flow and profitability course Profit Mastery on July 8th and July 15th. We’re also launching a new training to inspire and educate entrepreneurs about becoming a franchise owner. Becoming a Franchisee: An Alternate Path to Business Ownership will be hosted in-person July 29 and via a two-part webinar August 11 and August 18.

13) Join us for the June Strategic Teaming Alliance Roundtable (STAR) hosted by PTAC in alliance with Northrop Grumman Corporation on June 16 at 8:00 AM MST. This is the second event in a series of STAR roundtables designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with the federal government and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). Connect with panelists from businesses that are currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist you in achieving your government contracting goals. REGISTER!

14) USDA launched a Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) to help compensate producers with their livestock losses incurred by adverse weather or attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the Federal Government. LIP payments are equal to 75% the average fair market value of the livestock. For more information visit the USDA website here.

15) Our Executive Committee approved commissioning a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Growth Model to help us develop a business plan for continuing to expand our loan capital to keep pace with gap and bridge financing needs in the region that our bank and credit union partners cannot fill. We currently have $19 million in loan capital which is not enough to meet immediate opportunities to enable projects to move into construction this quarter. We have borrowed $2,563,226 in the last year to increase our loan capital and have another $2 million in requests pending to borrow additional loan capital. We are also seeking local and state pass through of federal pandemic recovery funds that we could use to get more projects moving forward.

16) GFDA’s Executive Committee also approved moving ahead with a much needed overhaul of our GrowGreatFallsMontana.org website.

17) THANK YOU to our investors and public partners for their continued support! Because of them, our team can keep working towards our mission of growing and diversifying the regional economy and providing higher wage opportunities for the community. Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Pasta Montana; Community Division—Walmart. They are champions of Great Falls and support economic development. If YOU want to support the economic development of the region, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Have a great week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

 

Top Ten for 4/16/22

Here is our Top 21 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) A snowy week but we needed the moisture. Ready for summer? Downtown Great Falls Summer Jam concerts and 4th of July Hootenanny are back for 2022! See TheElectric. Buy tickets online or in person at The Newberry. The Great Falls Voyagers season opener is May 25th. ArtsFest Montana will add more fantastic murals to downtown Great Falls August 12-19; artists email Joan Redeen at info@greatfallsbid.com for an application or call 1-406-727-5430. The Big River Ruckus announced its 2022 concert lineup August 11-12. The C.M. Russell Museum will host The Russell art auction August 18-21. Check out many, many, many great things to do this summer at VisitGreatFallsaMontana.org.

2) Networked with leading startups and scaleups at the StartUp Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley, partnering with the Montana Department of Commerce’s Bay Area-based business attraction specialist. Legislators take note, this guy is great!

3) Our Top 10 has been getting so long that we’ve moved most of the info on upcoming business trainings to a Monday eblast and posting. Here is the link to a preview of Monday’s list. Please help us spread the word to business leaders and future entrepreneurs who may not hear about the wide array of resources available to support their efforts.

4) Employment in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) in March topped pre-pandemic levels according to data released by the Montana Dept. of Labor & Industry. It was our highest number of employed in the month of March since the loss of the 564th missile squadron. Our labor force continued to recover form the pandemic, with just 393 people less than February 2020. The population of Cascade County continued to grow in 2021 according to the U.S. Census, though we think they undercounted growth at 0.1%.

5) Congratulations Justin Flaten and the JM Grain team on the launch of their new brand of products! Trutana Foods launched with the flagship product – Crave Cakes. Crave Cakes is a pancake and waffle mix made of chickpea flour that is gluten free; see KRTV. The real star of the mix, chickpea flour, is 100% Montana-grown. Crave cakes are high in fiber and protein, and have a low glycemic index which makes for healthy carbs. For more information or to order Crave Cakes visit www.trutanafoods.com.

6) Hosted an excellent out-of-state housing developer who visited Great Falls this week. The developer was able to meet with several of our partners in the pursuit of increasing housing production in Great Falls. This developer was attracted to the Great Falls market by our recent housing market demand assessment. If you are interested in developing property in Great Falls to help meet the demand for new housing, please contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) Congratulations to Toby’s House on being recognized with the 2022 non-profit of the year strengthening families award from the Montana Children’s Trust Fund! See KFBB. 3 Rivers Communicationsis bringing fiber to Valier; see The Valierian. MSU-Northern is adding an Equine Center; see KRTV. 2022 if off to a good start in Great Falls; see KRTV. Congratulations to local author Karen J. Hardwick on the publication of her first book, The Connected Leader!

8) Time to register for The Fire Within 2022 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and Alluvion Health! May 19 starting at 5:30 PM at the Haute Hive in Downtown Great Falls. Registration is capped so register early here.

9) What is the story your brand is telling and where are you telling that story? What are the sales you need to achieve to be successful and how do you figure that out? Those are some of the questions Jolene and Marguerite explored with over 50 Indigenous Women Fashion designers who gathered for the Indigenous Business Symposium and Gala, hosted by our new partner the Montana Native Growth Fund; see KRTV. Would you like to dig deeper? Email Jolene at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Alluvion Health plans to purchase the former Roosevelt School building from Great Falls Public Schools and renovate it to provide family and children services; see KRTV and TheElectric. Northwestern Energy and the Madison-Missouri River Fundannounced that three Great Falls area river improvement projects were awarded grants; see TheElectric. The Children’s Museum of Montana in Great Falls has opened a children’s after school program called “Whizzard Academy” offering STEAM Projects, reading, writing, accelerated learning, and homework help; see KFBB.

11) Are you an Indigenous Artist? Are you on Triia? You should be. This is an artist collective promoting and supporting Indigenous Artists. Check out the video here. Call Laura McGee to discuss, 406.259.3804.

12) Join us and other business resource partners for a Business Pitch In Event on April 28th at 6:00 PM at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery in Cut Bank. Our Business Pitch In events are designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship and give attendees an opportunity to pitch, discuss their business idea, and meet like-minded people. We’re excited to bring these in-person fun events back! If you would like to partner with us to hold a Business Pitch In event, please contact Lyndsay at Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1539.

13) The Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council recently announced the launch of the Blackfoot Confederacy Entrepreneurs Steering Committee. The aim of the committee is to help Blackfoot business owners in the US and Canada connect with one another to help promote business linkages, opportunities for growth and development. See Cut Bank Pioneer Press for the full story here.

14) Hometana is coming home to its roots, expanding to Downtown Great Falls, grand opening May 5th at 112 1st Avenue South! See our Announcement of the Week. Projects in Downtown Great Falls have been continuing to move forward as we get into the Spring construction season. The Alluvion’s redevelopment of the Rocky Mountain Building has been making great progress, as is The Gibson Hotel. There are tools in the toolbox to help with redevelopment and it’s been a big topic this week. If you are a building owner in Downtown Great Falls and are looking for some help, call Christian at 406.836.0136 or email CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org and let’s discuss how we can best apply these tools to assist in your redevelopment project.

15) The Montana DNRC released its ranking of community infrastructure projects seeking state ARPA funds. Many projects in our region are ranked; see the ranking list here. The White House released a Rural Playbook to help rural communities access federal infrastructure funds. GFDA advocated for this at the White House Economic Development Summit in December.

16) Mission West Community Development Partners is offering a Concept to Consumer workshop to help new food businesses across the state develop and launch new food products; April 21st at 9:00 AM in Ronan or online.

17) The Montana Pulse Crop Committee is seeking an Executive Director Proposal. Help address pulse industry needs and improve return on investment for Montana’s producers. Proposals for funding will be accepted from: public and private agencies and organizations, business and industry, educational institutions, state and local Governments, and individuals. To learn more and view the full RFP or visit the department’s website.

18) Discussed the housing market assessment and other economic issues facing our region at the Pachyderm Club. We appreciate opportunities to speak with clubs and organizations, call Jolene to get scheduled 406.750.4481.

19) We distributed the Environmental Scan Findings of our strategic planning consultants to GFDA investors and partners. This is the seventh assessment conducted as part of our post-pandemic deep-dive strategic planning process. Since last fall, we have released child care and housing market assessments, a COVID economic impact and recovery analysis, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) assessments of the Great Falls regional economy and GFDA, Defense Industry Findings, and Transportation & Logistics Findings.

20) Our investors and public partners are the reason we can keep working toward our mission to grow & diversify the regional economy. They understand the importance of economic development and support their partners in business. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Loenbro. Because of their continued support, we can keep working to Grow Great Falls! If you want to help us grow the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

21) We worked to leverage our local GFDA investor funds, submitting an application for more loan capital to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund, part of the U.S. Treasury. Thank you to GFDA investors for providing the required 1:1 cash match for grant funds and to the Montana Board of Investments for its $500,000 loan commitment to provide the required 1:1 match for a loan capital loan we requested. Keeping up with local opportunities that can’t move forward without our gap and bridge financing is a struggle, but we’re trying! This month we submitted a package to a bank seeking to borrow $1 million in loan capital, an application to a foundation seeking $50,000 to support our entrepreneur and small business services, and a request to another bank to borrow $1.4 million.

THANK YOU to the many investors, partners, colleagues and clients who are making so many positive things happen in our region. Your risk-taking, smart investments, hard work, and confidence are what is moving the Great Falls region forward.

Happy Easter and Passover!

Brett

Brett Doney

President & CEO

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

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

John C. Maxwell

Edition 530

Here is a Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2022Q1 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite 2022, we unveiled our new We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Career Opportunities

Thanks to the Montana Department of Agriculture, we are creating a second Food/Ag Business Development Officer position to boost our efforts to grow the food, ag and bio-processing industries in the Great Falls region. Thanks to the Montana Department of Commerce, we are creating a Small Business Navigator to strengthen our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting more entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs with resources that can help them succeed. We are still looking for a Competitive Improvements Director to lead efforts to address key challenges in Great Falls including housing production, industrial space, logistics costs, and talent attraction. Here is a PDF of our GFDA Career Opportunities. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

April SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 4.676%; 20-year at 4.615%; 10-year equipment loan at 3.807%; and, 20-year refinance 4.629%; 25-year refinance 4.690%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Great Falls College MSU is working with partners to create a CDL Truck Driving program in Great Falls. They need full-time and part-time instructors — download job description — and employers to support this important workforce development effort with funds, equipment, and commitments to recruit participants and hire successful graduates. Contact Tammie Hickey at 406-771-5104 or tammie.hickey@gfcmsu.edu.

The transition is complete! The D-U-N-S number has gone away, and the SAM.gov-generated Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) isnow the authoritative identifier for all U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Integrated Award Environment (IAE) systems. If you are registered in SAM.gov (active or not), you have already been assigned a UEI (SAM). To register your business in SAM.gov for the first time, get a UEI (SAM), or to find out more information about how this transition affects you, contact your Great Falls PTAC and connect with Shannon at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

We will be hosting another Website Bootcamp in Great Falls on May 11th. Space is limited, sign up early!  For questions email Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org

Nine new micro-courses have been launched by our partners at the new Women’s Business Center at the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab of the University of Montana. Check out the nine new offerings here or contact our newest business advisor Marguerite Thordarson at marguerite.thordarson@mso.umt.edu.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the new Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

Employers, a statewide Job Fair will be held at the Montana State Prison on April 27. Contact Beth Schmidt, Manager of the Montana Job Service Great Falls and all-around great resource for workforce recruitment and training; beschmidt@mt.gov or 406-791-5869.

The Montana International Trade & Investment Day will be held May 4th in Missoula. The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation will be in Billings April 17-19.

The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition is offering a Certified Farm Startup Program through Farm Link Montana. This is a certification program for aspiring farmers that will utilize performance based teaching methods to deliver the skills and tools needed to access farmland and start a farm business.

USDA Rural Housing Service opened the application process for 514 rural off-farm labor housing loans and 516 off-farm labor housing grants, due April 25. The Rural Housing Service has several programs designed to help build or improve community housing or essential community facilities. USDA also has the Value-Added Producer Grants round open, also due April 25. These grants help producers generate new products, create marketing opportunities, and increase incomes through value-added activities. If you are interested in additional information, reach out to Justin Loch at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1301.

We have firmed up the dates for our first cohort of Accelerate: Your Startup. This four module intensive business course designed for pre-venture and early stage startups will run from May 6 through June 3, with a graduation pitch event tentatively scheduled for June 8. If you are (or know of) an entrepreneur in the beginning stages of launching or planning to launch and are asking foundational questions about business, this course is for you. For more information or to register, click here or contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Montana Rapid Retraining funds are available to help more people enroll in workforce training programs and expand industry-driven accelerated workforce training courses. The Great Falls Job Servicecan assist with Rapid Retaining Efforts. Contact Beth Schmidt at 406-791-5869 or beschmidt@mt.gov. For business strategy/planning help to take advantage of this one-time opportunity, contact our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) regional director, Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org

What if you could step back for a couple hours a month, discuss issues with similar size companies and work on your business growth? We invite CEOs to join PeerSpectives, a CEO roundtable system with structured, facilitate protocols. When companies reach the second stage (typically 10+ employees, $1m + in revenue) they have unique challenges and this model is designed to maximize your opportunities. Call Jason Nitschke to discuss, 750.0314. Participation is limited by size and industry. Learn more about this proven system here.

We’re partnering with Snowy Mountain Development and the Lewistown Chamber to deliver two QuickBooks Desktop classes May 19th and May 20th. Follow the hyperlinks for more detail or contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

The White House published a guide to the infrastructure bill to help communities, counties and tribes figure out how to access and compete for funds. 495 ages of exciting reading, if you’re into infrastructure!

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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

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

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

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

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

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

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering a Cybersecurity Challenge to Montana manufacturers. They are also offering Lean 101 workshops in May. Sign up here to get email notice of all of MMEC’s services and trainings. 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 Ten April 10

Top Ten April 11, 2022

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

 

1) Congratulations to IND Hemp on your recent expansion! IND Hemp in Fort Benton, MT recently revealed a new product line of animal bedding at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando. All Walks Premium Hemp Small Animal Bedding is made from 100% hemp hurd. It is cleaned, dust free, highly absorbent and great for small animal bedding. What a great value added agriculture expansion! Call Justin to discuss your project, 406.590.1301.

Our Loan Committee approved a $950,000 gap loan for the renovation of a downtown Great Falls property. Due to increasing costs there was a gap in the financing that the bank nor the client could cover. If you have project that needs some further assistance and you want to discuss different options that GFDA may be able to provide please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org

Great Falls is the most pet friendly city in Montana, according to Livability.com. Meat processing has increased 50% in Montana so far in FY 2022 according to the Montana Dept. of Livestock; see KFBB. Montana is the 4th best state for doctors, according to WalletHub; see Montana Digital News.

The new Great Falls Housing Production Task Force held its kick-off meeting. We started brainstorming creative ideas to help make housing more developments more feasible across all price points. If you would like to receive notice of future task force work, email me at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Partners of Touro College Montana, Great Fall’s new medical school, will now be able to begin construction on apartments! The City Commission passed the subdivision and zoning that will allow the property adjacent and to the east of Touro’s med school site to begin construction. The Farran Group has announced their plans to build a lifestyle complex to support that area. MSU College of Nursing plans to construct on the far eastern side of the parcel. Thank you all for investing in Great Falls, Montana!

Worked on nine business attraction projects – all moving at Mach-10 speed! We offer a variety of tools and resources to help projects happen from advocacy, location assistance, gap and bridge loans, state grants, data and more. If you are interested in learning more about how GFDA can help in business attraction, call Jake at 406.403.4937.

Congratulations to the Wild Hare in Downtown Great Falls on their Grand Opening! Check out the walk through we did with Matt Robb, one of the partners on the project. You can view the video on our YouTube page.

Our affiliate High Plains Financial approved a $147,000 SBA 504 loan for a Black Eagle business that wants to secure its future by purchasing the building where they are located. With the SBA rates being low this business decided to take advantage of the FIXED rate for up to 25 years. If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Congratulations to Windrift Hill in Conrad for winning Best in Show Overall at the 2022 Made in Montana trade show! Life in Bloom florists opened in the Times Square building in Downtown Great Falls. The Little Shell Tribe opened its new Health Center in Great Falls; see KFBBGreat Falls College MSU celebrated the first year anniversary of its certified nursing assistant program ; see KRTV. The program has successfully graduated 52 CNA students, a 100% completion rate. 94% of graduates have passed their certification exams and are working for five health care providers in the region. Congratulations!

Do you need a Transload or warehousing services to import or export your goods/products? Jake networked at the Transload Distributors Association of North America TDANA 2022 Annual Conference in Denver this week looking for transloaders to develop a facility in Great Falls. We now have two transloading companies planning trips to Great Falls to consider expanding to our market. Contact Jake if you have interest or want to be involved, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.403.4937.

The U.S. Dept. of Interior announced $57 million in funding for improvements to the Rocky Boy North Central Montana Rural Water System; see KRTV. The St. Mary Diversion water project is going to get $85 million; see Havre Daily News. The U.S. Air Force announced that the new Ground Based Deterrence System is going to be called Sentinel; see TheElectric. The Montana State Fund announced a $40 million refund and an average 3% cost reduction for the state’s largest workers compensation program; see Helena Independent Record.

Join us and other business resource partners for a Business Pitch In Event on April 28th at 6:00 PM at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery in Cut Bank. Our Business Pitch In events designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship and give attendees an opportunity to pitch, discuss their business idea, and meet like-minded people. We’re excited to bring these in-person fun events back! If you would like to partner with us to hold a Business Pitch In event, please contact Lyndsay at Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1539.

We distributed the Transportation & Logistics Findings of our strategic planning consultants to GFDA investors and partners. This is the sixth assessment conducted as part of our post-pandemic deep-dive strategic planning process. Since last fall, we have released child care and housing market assessments, a COVID economic impact and recovery analysis, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) assessments of the Great Falls regional economy and GFDA, and Defense Industry Findings.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the new Livability Magazine that we launched this week! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

Thirty-eight entrepreneurs and HR professionals from around the state participated in this month’s Small Business Webinar Series: Structuring Effective Meetings presentation. To view the recording, click here. Special thanks to this month’s presenter, Marguerite Thordarson, a business advisor with our new Women’s Business Center (WBC). Marguerite focuses on supporting female entrepreneurs specializing in managerial accounting and operations management. Schedule a no-cost meeting with Marguerite. Email her at marguerite.thordarson@mso.umt.edu or call her at (406) 668-0456.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

Eight entrepreneurs on the Blackfeet Reservation participated in our Website Boot Camp workshop in Browning. We will be hosting another Website Bootcamp in Great Falls on May 11th. Space is limited, sign up early!  For questions email Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org

We networked with Downtown Directors and Economic Developers from around the state in Billings for the 13th Annual Montana Downtown & Main Street Conference. They had keynote speakers Jeff Speck, author of Walkable Cities, and Chuck Marohn, author of Strong Towns, as well as other speakers focusing on Downtown development. We were able to come away with some new and fresh ideas to implement in our Downtown.

Thank you to Alluvion Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana for co-sponsoring The Fire Within 2022!. The Fire Within is an annual event put on by GFDA that celebrates female entrepreneurship in our region. The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 19th, 5:30-7:00 PM at the Haute Hive, located at 721 Central Avenue. If you would like more information on the Fire Within, contact Content Marketing Director, Lyndsay Bruno at 406-590-1539 or Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Nominations are open for the 2022 The Fire Within – a celebration of women entrepreneurs! We are seeking nominations of female entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle for Aspire Candidates, women who have been in business under five years, and Inspire Candidates, who have been in business over five years. The awards are achieved by showing strong business acumen and a track record of business success. Nominate your candidates here.

Optimize technology and improve production on the farm/ranch! The College of Agriculture at Montana State University will host a weeklong boot camp highlighting the future of precision agriculture and its potential for use in the state “Sustainable Opportunities in Precision Agriculture” will take place Monday, June 6, through Friday, June 10, at MSU’s campus and its research fields. Each day will run from 8 AM to 5 PM. The event is open to the public. Click here for more information.

The transition is complete! The D-U-N-S number has gone away, and the SAM.gov-generated Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) isnow the authoritative identifier for all U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Integrated Award Environment (IAE) systems. If you are registered in SAM.gov (active or not), you have already been assigned a UEI (SAM). To register your business in SAM.gov for the first time, get a UEI (SAM), or to find out more information about how this transition affects you, contact your Great Falls PTAC and connect with Shannon at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org

Looking for a Job? Don’t forget to mark May 4th on your calendar to attend the 2022 Great Falls Job Jamboree. The event will be from 3pm to 6pm at Paris Gibson Education Center at 2400 Central Ave. Over 100 major employers will be on-site and ready to hire. Click here for more information.

For those interested in expansion or improvement of their meat processing facilities please check out these grant funding opportunities: USDA AMS is investing up to $25 million to establish a nationwide technical assistance program for meat and poultry processors. The technical assistance will provide support for meat and poultry grant applicants to navigate the application process and to assist grant recipients throughout their project. Click here for more information. USDA also announced a 30-day extension for the Phase 1 Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The new deadline is May 11th. NASDA and other stakeholders sent a letter to USDA Rural Development requesting a 30-day extension. Meat processed in Montana has increased 50% as of Tuesday during the 2022 fiscal year in facilities inspected by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL). In the 2022 fiscal year there has been a total of 68,906 animals, whereas the 2021 fiscal year had a total of 33,964 animals–an increase of 34,942 animals, according to statistics gathered by DOL. For more information on Department of Livestock please visit here.

Montana released a new student loan program for agriculture students. Qualified farmer and ranchers are eligible for five years The total amount of loan repayment assistance may not exceed 50% of the total loans outstanding the minimum award amount is $5,000 dispersed over a five-year period. Application process is now open and closes May 23rd. Click here for more information.

Networked with economic development colleagues and industry leaders at the annual Alberta Economic Development Leaders’ Summit & Conference. Published our GFDA Quarter Index 2022Q1. Volunteered to teach part of the Advanced Revolving Loan Fund online course for the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

GFDA’s investors are the reason we can keep working towards our mission. They believe in economic growth and are happy to support their colleagues in business.  Recent investments include:  Advance Division—US Bank and North 40 Outifitters; Flagship Division—Arc Apartment Homes;  Leadership Division—ADF Group, Inc. Community Division—The Wendt AgencyCulligan Water of Great FallsFalcon, Lester & Schaff, P.C., First American Title Co., and Hi Line Moving and Storage. They are part of the team that is Growing Great Falls!  If you would like to be a part of the team, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Have a great week! I’m flying off to Silicon Valley to network with state leaders at the StartUp Grind event.

Brett Doney

President & CEO

 

 

Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q4 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite, we unveiled our new Great Falls Promo Video! We are Great Falls Montana! Click here to check it out and please SHARE!

 

GFDA Career Opportunities

We have new Business Development Officer and Small Business Navigator positions to boost our efforts to grow the food, ag and bio-processing industries in the Great Falls region. We are still looking for a Competitive Improvements Director to lead efforts to address key challenges in Great Falls including housing production, industrial space, logistics costs, and talent attraction. Here is a PDF of our GFDA Career Opportunities. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

 

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

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

 

April SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 4.676%; 20-year at 4.615%; 10-year equipment loan at 3.807%; and, 20-year refinance 4.629%; 25-year refinance 4.690%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

 

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development

Contact Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.

 

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

 

Great Falls College MSU is working with partners to create a CDL Truck Driving program in Great Falls. They need full-time and part-time instructors — download job description — and employers to support this important workforce development effort with funds, equipment, and commitments to recruit participants and hire successful graduates. Contact Tammie Hickey at 406-771-5104 or tammie.hickey@gfcmsu.edu.

 

Nine new micro-courses have been launched by our partners at the new Women’s Business Center at the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab of the University of Montana. Check out the nine new offerings here or contact our newest business advisor Marguerite Thordarson at marguerite.thordarson@mso.umt.edu.

 

Employers, a statewide Job Fair will be held at the Montana State Prison on April 27. Contact Beth Schmidt, Manager of the Montana Job Service Great Falls and all-around great resource for workforce recruitment and training; beschmidt@mt.gov or 406-791-5869.

 

The Montana International Trade & Investment Day will be held May 4th in Missoula. The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation will be in Billings April 17-19.

 

The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition is offering a Certified Farm Startup Program through Farm Link Montana. This is a certification program for aspiring farmers that will utilize performance based teaching methods to deliver the skills and tools needed to access farmland and start a farm business.

 

USDA Rural Housing Service opened the application process for 514 rural off-farm labor housing loans and 516 off-farm labor housing grants, due April 25. The Rural Housing Service has several programs designed to help build or improve community housing or essential community facilities. USDA also has the Value-Added Producer Grants round open, also due April 25. These grants help producers generate new products, create marketing opportunities, and increase incomes through value-added activities. If you are interested in additional information, reach out to Justin Loch at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1301.

 

We have firmed up the dates for our first cohort of Accelerate: Your Startup. This four module intensive business course designed for pre-venture and early stage startups will run from May 6 through June 3, with a graduation pitch event tentatively scheduled for June 8. If you are (or know of) an entrepreneur in the beginning stages of launching or planning to launch and are asking foundational questions about business, this course is for you. For more information or to register, click here or contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

 

USDA is offering a virtual USDA Small Business 201 Workshop on April 13 and April 14 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM EST both days. This workshop is the second in the series of USDA’s efforts to support and showcase procurement opportunities to rural, minority, women, veteran, and other small businesses. The workshop will serve as an opportunity to network with USDA programs and contract officers, other small businesses, partners, stakeholders, and other organizations focused on supporting and growing businesses across the country. Part I on April 13 will focus on the contracting and procurement tools and resources, as well as mission area overviews.  Part II on April 14 will focus on USDA programs, contracts, and procurement opportunities. Register by April 8 or until they reach capacity.

 

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

 

Montana Rapid Retraining funds are available to help more people enroll in workforce training programs and expand industry-driven accelerated workforce training courses. The Great Falls Job Service can assist with Rapid Retaining Efforts. Contact Beth Schmidt at 406-791-5869 or beschmidt@mt.gov. For business strategy/planning help to take advantage of this one-time opportunity, contact our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) regional director, Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org

 

What if you could step back for a couple hours a month, discuss issues with similar size companies and work on your business growth? We invite CEOs to join PeerSpectives, a CEO roundtable system with structured, facilitate protocols. When companies reach the second stage (typically 10+ employees, $1m + in revenue) they have unique challenges and this model is designed to maximize your opportunities. Call Jason Nitschke to discuss, 750.0314. Participation is limited by size and industry. Learn more about this proven system here.

 

We’re partnering with Snowy Mountain Development and the Lewistown Chamber to deliver two QuickBooks Desktop classes May 19th and May 20th. Follow the hyperlinks for more detail or contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

 

The White House published a guide to the infrastructure bill to help communities, counties and tribes figure out how to access and compete for funds. 495 ages of exciting reading, if you’re into infrastructure!

 

Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

 

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

 

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

 

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

 

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

 

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

 

Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We

have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 750-0314.

 

Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. This website was the #1 request we got from local recruiters and HR professionals for aiding in attracting talented workers to Great Falls. The Great Falls At-A-Glance two-pager is a great complementary resource that highlights Great Falls for people unfamiliar with our community.

 

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

 

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering a Cybersecurity Challenge to Montana manufacturers. They are also offering Lean 101 workshops in May. Sign up here to get email notice of all of MMEC’s services and trainings. 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 Ten for 3/27/22

Jersey Mike’s serves up subs for the Special Olympics at their grand opening in the West Bank Landing.

 

Here is our Top 27 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Congratulations to the Airmen of the 12th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB on winning the 2021 Omaha Trophy for best ICBM unit! See TheElectric.

2) The cost of living in Great Falls was 89.1% of the national average in 2021, according to the Cost of Living Annual report released by the Council for Community and Economic Research.  We are well below the national average – let’s work to keep it that way! To see a cost of living comparison of Great Falls to other US cities, check out our Cost of Living Calculator.

3) Networked with companies at the Future Food-Tech, World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, and Animal AgTech Innovation Summit in San Francisco. Released the defense industry findings of our strategic planning consultants to GFDA investors and partners, part of our deep-dive strategic planning effort to develop a new regional economic development strategy.

4) United Airlines will offer direct flights connecting Great Falls with Chicago this summer; see KRTV. The IND Hemp processing operation in Ft. Benton is benefiting farmers throughout the region who have been diversifying into hemp production; see Shelby Promoter. The new Jimmy John’s west side location opened, Mountain Berry Bowls food truck coming to Great Falls, Vintage Nana’s is opening a cafe, and more in The Electric’s Business Bites.

5) Great Falls College MSU is working with partners to create a CDL Truck Driving program in Great Falls. They need full-time and part-time instructors — download job description — and employers to support this important workforce development effort with funds, equipment, and commitments to recruit participants and hire successful graduates. Contact Tammie Hickey at 406-771-5104 or tammie.hickey@gfcmsu.edu.

6) The Montana Department of Agriculture sent out letters to the ARPA Ag Infrastructure Grant award winners.  $7.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds were allocated to strengthen and diversify Montana’s industry through targeted investments in value added agriculture projects across the state, including some excellent businesses in our region. To learn more about this grant or to view award list after April 1st, visit the Montana Department of Agriculture website. Contact Justin at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org 1-406-590-1301 for help with starting or expanding your food, ag or bio processing company in north central Montana.

7) 22 Great Falls Public Schools high school students have qualified to compete at the National Business Professional of America competition in Dallas May 3-6, setting a record for the highest number of local students to qualify. Sponsor a Future Business Leader and perhaps your future great employee! Contact Beck Nelson at becky_nelson@gfps.k12.mt.us

8) The Cascade County Commission authorized C-Pace energy efficiency financing throughout the county; see The Electric and Great Falls Tribune. We supported bringing this new financing tool to Montana through several legislative sessions. It offers a way to finance energy retrofits and energy efficient construction that reduces your operating costs without tying up your working capital. Contact our financing guru, Jill Kohles, for innovative ways to get what you need done financed; JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

9) Construction started on the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center, see KRTV. A new interstate meat shipment cooperative agreement will expand market opportunities for meat processors throughout the state, see KRTV. The Lofts @ The Station downtown apartment development was previewed by KRTVTeam Kaizen Games of Great Falls has been awarded a $27,000 grant from the Montana Film Office for development of Burst!, the first video game to be supported by a Big Sky Film Grant; see MATR.net.

10) If you’ve been Central Avenue this week, you’ve seen work has started on the former Greystone Inn which is in the process of becoming a high-end boutique hotel, The Gibson. Guy Tobacco Construction has been selected as the General Contractor for the project. We have many Downtown Tools to help make your project happen, from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) grants to Bridge/Gap financing. Let’s discuss how to make your Downtown project happen. Call Christian 406.231.8064 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org

11) We approved two more hazardous material assessments for potential Great Falls redevelopment projects. We can help with assessments on properties throughout Cascade County. Many building and properties contain environmental contaminants that, if not discovered and documented properly before purchase, eliminate the possibility of cleanup funding for future redevelopment. If you are looking at redeveloping a building or property, contact us to get the process started. Contact Lillian at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) We worked on two new business attraction leads for the Great Falls area, a manufacturing firm and a technology company. Both have their eye on expanding in Great Falls because of potential savings in the cost of doing business and our strategic location within the state. If you are interested in expanding to Montana and the Great Falls region, please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org. If you have an available commercial or industrial lot or building, or great land sites for housing construction, please let Jake know. We highly recommend getting your property listed with a great local broker and up on LoopNet.

13) It’s the Final Count Down! On April 4th the D-U-N-S number goes away permanently, and the SAM-generated Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) becomes the official authoritative identifier within System of Award Management (SAM) and all federal Integrated Award Environment Systems (IAE). Beginning April 1, 2022, at 8:00 PM (ET), SAM.gov will be down for maintenance to complete the transition and no later than 9:00 AM (ET) on April 4th will be back online. Get the latest news on this transition from your Great Falls PTAC by connecting with Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

14) The Great Falls chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is hosting “The Generations Unmasked,” a one hour seminar designed to help employers understand generational conflict in the workplace. For more information, please contact Marisa Jacobs at MarisaJacobs@Logan.org and RSVP by Friday, April 8th.

15) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering a Cybersecurity Challenge to Montana manufacturers. They are also offering Lean 101 workshops in May. Sign up here to get email notice of all of MMEC’s services and trainings.

16) Jersey Mike’s celebrated their grand opening Wednesday in the West Bank Landing. Great Falls is a great place to locate a new franchise because it’s such an underserved market with pent up demand. If you are interested in launching a franchise in the Great Falls region, call Jolene Schalper at 406-750-4481.

17) The US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Montana District Office featured one of our success stories in their recent Treasure State Tuesday Spotlight. Check out how GFDA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Glacier County Port Authority were able to add value to Los Tacos De Montana of Cut Bank, by clicking here.

18) Jake and Jolene are gearing up for ICSC Las Vegas 2022 (formerly RECON), a gathering of dealmakers and industry experts, who are driving innovation and evolution in the Marketplaces Industry. We are expanding our target list of businesses to approach for attraction to the Great Falls area. If you know of any national or regional brands you think would be successful in our market, please reach out to Jake Clark Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

19) The US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) notified us that Jason Nitschke has been selected as one of six national Boots to Business Instructors of the Year for 2021! Congratulations Jason!! Our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has supported this national effort since 2013, primarily delivering the Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship curriculum at Malmstrom Air Force Base as part of the Transition Assistance Program.

20) The new Housing Production Task Force will kick-off on March 29 at 4:00 PM. If you would like to participate in the task force, email me at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org even if you can’t make this meeting so I can add you to distribution list. The task force is going to brainstorm creative ways we can make more housing development happen in our market, then work to implement the best ideas.

21) The Montana International Trade & Investment Day will be held May 4th in Missoula.

22) Nominations are open for the 2022 The Fire Within – a celebration of women entrepreneurs! We are seeking nominations of female entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle for Aspire Candidates, women who have been in business under five years, and Inspire Candidates, who have been in business over five years. The awards are achieved by showing strong business acumen and a track record of business success. Nominate your candidates here.

23) A Q&A session on How & Why to Hire and Attorney For Your Business is being offered this Wednesday, March 30, 12:00 PM by Accelerate Montana’s Rural Innovation Initiative.

24) Pat Woodall of Montana Credit Union has been appointed to our GFDA Board of Directors, replacing Steve King of Montana Credit Union. Thank you for your service and support Steve and welcome Pat!

25) Heidi Gibson started work as our new Resource Director. We have a new GFDA Career Opportunity for a Small Business Navigator. Download a description of our great career opportunities.

26) Employers, a statewide Job Fair will be held at the Montana State Prison on April 27. Contact Beth Schmidt, Manager of the Montana Job Service Great Falls and all-around great resource for workforce recruitment and training; beschmidt@mt.gov or 406-791-5869.

27) Our region is seeing growth like never before thanks in part to the support from our investors & public partners. Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Douglas Wilson & Company, P.C.. Because of their generosity & continued support, we can keep working to Grow Great Falls! If you want to join our team of investors, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great to be back in Great Falls after three weeks traveling across the country. Congratulations to the Great Falls Association of Homebuilders for the Great Falls Home & Garden Show this weekend!

Top Ten for March 20

Rendering of the Great Falls Clinic Hospital $58 million expansion. This week the Clinic announced a $5 million expansion of its Cancer Center to include a new TrueBeam linear accelerator (LINAC) to further enhance radiation oncology services.

GFDA’s Top 10 for March 20

Here is our Top 27 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) Benefis Health System broke ground on its new clinic in Helena; see KRTVJersey Mike’s plans to open in West Bank Landing on January 23rd with a promotion supporting Special Olympics of Montana; see KRTV. United Airlines is starting Denver/Great Falls service with a 126-passenger Airbus 319 on June 3rd; see KRTVCordova Farms in Power has expanded production to serve businesses in Great Falls; see KRTV.

2) Thank you to the developers, employers and partners who helped us host the Great Falls Housing Production Summit. The Concord Group presented the highlights of the market assessment documenting demand for more than 4,500+ new housing units in Great Falls. Major employers presented increased need for housing to support over 1,000 new jobs. To meet this demand, we heard from developers with nearly 800 units in various stages of completion, just scratching the surface of our market demand. See The Electric and The Great Falls Tribune. Missed the event? Watch the 2022 Housing Production Summit Here. Interested in exploring housing development opportunities? Contact Jake Clark at 1-406-403-4937 or Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) The new Housing Production Task Force will kick-off on March 29 at 4:00 PM. If you would like to participate in the task force, email me at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. The task force is going to brainstorm creative ways we can make more housing development happen in our market, then work to implement the best ideas.

4) Networked with innovative companies at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference in Washington DC this week. Spoke with several businesses excited about Calumet’s Montana Renewable Diesel project. Growth in biofuels, biochemicals, bioplastics, and biopackaging industries offer opportunities to put Montana’s agricultural products to higher value use right here in our region.

5) The Montana Department of Labor released labor market data that showed more people employed in the Great Falls MSA in January 2022 than pre-pandemic in January 2020. This reflects great progress in COVID recovery for Cascade County.

6) Networked with developers and businesses involved in entertainment, dining and retail at the Entertainment Evolution Experience conference in Los Angeles. We’re looking to support more creative entrepreneurs to invest in downtown, riverfront, indoor and outdoor entertainment and recreation, and more. Contact Christian to learn how we can help make your concept happen; 1-406-836-0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

7) The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce released its 2022 Community Guide. For a digital copy, click here.

8) Submitted a Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation grant application for Touro College Montana. These awards are for primary sector businesses providing above average wages for Montanans. The next deadline should be in June. If you are a primary sector company (over 51% of revenue comes from outside of Montana) planning to create new jobs with above average wages, give Jake a call to discuss your opportunities, 1.406.403.4937.

9) Nine new micro-courses have been launched by our partners at the new Women’s Business Center at the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab of the University of Montana. Check out the nine new offerings here or contact our newest business advisor Marguerite Thordarson at marguerite.thordarson@mso.umt.edu.

10) Special thanks to Corinna Dahlin (Navy veteran; owner of Corinna Dahlin Real Estate Photography, LLC and Chronic, LLC) and Zach Huber (Air Force/Guard veteran; Action Plumbing Plus Inc) for guest speaking at our quarterly presentation of Boots to Business. Eleven service members participated in this introduction to entrepreneurship course delivered to active duty military, veterans, and military families in partnership with the SBA and the Veterans Business Outreach Center.

11) Nominations are open for the 2022 The Fire Within – a celebration of women entrepreneurs! We are seeking nominations of female entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle for Aspire Candidates, women who have been in business under five years, and Inspire Candidates, who have been in business over five years. The awards are achieved by showing strong business acumen and a track record of business success. The event will be on May 12 at 5:30 PM; details to come. Nominate your candidates here.

12) Lillian and Shannon presented the final two webinar trainings on the 4-Part Module Series “Creating A Responsive Proposal” and “Impact of Change: A SAM.gov Transition Overview”. If you are interested in viewing any of PTACs webinar trainings, they will be available next week on the GFDA website GrowGreatFallsMontana.org under Government Contracting. For additional information or assistance, contact Shannon at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has put out a scam notice. Child care providers in Montana are being targeted by a scam/phishing email to click on a link to receive their ARPA funds. DPHHS will electronically deposit or mail your ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grant payments to you. You will not be asked to click on a link to receive your funds. For more information on phishing scams, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams.

14) The US Small Business Administration has announced additional deferment of principal and interest payments for existing COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program borrowers for a total of 30 months. The extended deferment period is from your existing loan’s inception date on all approved COVID EIDL loans. The COVID EIDL program is not accepting new applications.

15) Sweetgrass Development is offering a free Digital Marketing Workshop on March 28 in Conrad from 8 AM – Noon and an Advanced Marketing Small Business Workshop in Shelby on March 31.

16) USDA Rural Housing Service opened the application process for 514 rural off-farm labor housing loans and 516 off-farm labor housing grants, due April 25. The Rural Housing Service has several programs designed to help build or improve community housing or essential community facilities. USDA also has the Value-Added Producer Grants round open, also due April 25. These grants help producers generate new products, create marketing opportunities, and increase incomes through value-added activities. If you are interested in additional information, reach out to Justin Loch at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1301.

17) The Fire Within 2022 is back in person and is poised to be our best yet! We have a high value marketing/sponsorship package available that you won’t want to miss out on. If you are interested in becoming the sponsor of this event celebrating female entrepreneurs, reach out to Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org

18) The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition is offering a Certified Farm Startup Program through Farm Link Montana. This is a certification program for aspiring farmers that will utilize performance based teaching methods to deliver the skills and tools needed to access farmland and start a farm business.

19) GFDA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC)’s national association released its national impact report. To view the Montana SBDC’s impact report and statewide successes, click here. According to the report, for every $1 of federal investment, businesses served through the SBDC were able to attract $44.87 dollars in new capital to start and grow. To find out how GFDA’s SBDC can support your business, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

20) Mission West Community Development Partners, part of the Montana Food & Ag Development Center network, is offering HACCP – Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point training on April 4-5 and Better Process Control Schools (BPCS) training on April 6-7.

21) We hosted the monthly IEDC webinar Pitches & Proposals to Make Your ‘Home Opener’ Stand Out. Guest speaker Jay Garner, author of Economic Development is not for Armatures, was among the panel and spoke about how the site selectors’ process has changed and how to identify the best industries to attract. Our Business Development team will take some of these best practices and put them to use. The next webinar in the series is on April 21st, Using Multimedia as a Showcasing Tool. If you would like to join us for the next webinar, we will be showing this in our conference room. Space is limited, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 if you would like to join.

22) Met with federal officials at the National Association of Development Organization’s annual policy conference in DC. Focused on discussions with NTIA in regard to resources to enhance broadband and with USDA to increase utilization of programs to support food processing industries in our region. Supported efforts to reauthorize the Economic Development Administration which has been a strong partner in our regional economic development efforts.

23) This week GFDA earned GuideStar Candid’s 2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency. It’s the third consecutive year we have earned the highest level of nonprofit transparency. Less than 1% of Montana nonprofit organizations have earned Platinum and no other economic development organization in the state has even earned the lowest Bronze level.

24) Excited to announce that Heidi Gibson is joining the GFDA staff team as our new Resource Director. Heidi brings extensive experience in both public and private grant research and writing. She will lead our efforts to secure more resources to put to work to create economic opportunity and improve quality of life in Great Falls and the surrounding 12 county rural and tribal region. Heidi served as Executive Director for the Center for Mental Health Foundation in Great Falls and as State Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association. She has been working as an independent consultant since 2013. Heidi earned a BA at Gonzaga University. Please join us in welcoming Heidi!

25) We received and signed the financial award agreement from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund that we were awarded late last year. The grant (match 1:1 by our fantastic local investors) and loan (matched 1:1 with a loan from the Montana Board of Investments) will help us to continue to meet the gap and bridge financing needs of existing businesses, startups, non-profits and real estate developments in Great Falls and the surrounding north central Montana region. If you need help with financing, contact Jill at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1056.

26) Submitted a request to the Environmental Protection Agency for supplemental Brownfield Revolving Loan Funds that would enable us to make more redevelopment projects happen throughout Cascade County. We identified over a dozen potential projects that would rejuvenate contaminated underutilized property. Need help with property contamination assessment or cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos)? Contact Lillian at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-750-1253.

27) Our investors are crucial to the growth of our area. Because of them our community is thriving growing! Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Opportunity Bank; Community Division—Sharon Virgin, REALTOR Dustin Young & Co. Just like our community is growing, so is our list of supporters and investors. If you would like to join the list that is helping to Grow Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Brett Doney

President & CEO

 

Couldn't find what you are looking for? Give me a call or shoot me an email - I'd be happy to tell you more about Great Falls!

Jolene Schalper

JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

(406) 750-4481

GFDA Top 10The latest regional business news delivered weekly to your inbox!

Hi, I'm Jill!

If you are looking for financing,
I would love to chat!

(406) 590-1056
JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org

Hey, I'm Jason!

Needing business assistance?

(406) 750-0314
JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org

Hi, I'm Lillian!

Are you needing assistance
with Brownfields?

(406) 750-1253
LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org

Hey there, I'm Jolene!

Is there something I can
help you with?

(406) 750-4481
JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org