Top 10 – 1/17/2021

We’re lucky to live in the heart of Montana!
Thanks to Great Falls Tourism for the photo.

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) Have you heard about the new coworking space coming to Downtown Great Falls?! Of course you haven’t – that’s because it’s being unveiled at Ignite 2021, presented by PayneWest Insurance on Friday, January 22nd at 10:00AM MST. Have a project you would like to unveil? Contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 403-4937.

2) The SBA awarded a new Women’s Business Center to the University of Montana in partnership with GFDA and the Montana Native Growth Fund! This will expand our capacity to help more entrepreneurs and businesses throughout the region. We issued our GFDA Quarter Index for 2020Q4.

3) The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe has begun construction on a new healthcare clinic in Great Falls at 425 Smelter Avenue; see TheElectricGF.com. The Electric released a great video highlighting Great Falls and the exciting growth that’s going on in our community. Watch on The Electric.

4) 200 lenders and business advisors from around the state joined our “Economic Aid Act Updates to the Paycheck Protection Program” training. The collaboration with the SBA Montana District Office and the Montana Small Business Development Center Lead Center at the Department of Commerce proves how partnerships increase our reach and impact. This is a 230% increase over our average training event attendance. Click here to watch to recording.

5) Owners of the Bunkhouse Inn in Augusta announced plans to begin building a new facility next month, only three months after a fire destroyed the historic structure. They plan to open in time for this year’s Augusta Rodeo. See Fairfield Sun Times. The new VA outpatient clinic in Havre will open on January 20th; see KFBB.

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

7) We’ve got three excellent business trainings coming up: Our LaunchPoint workshop for business startups is on Wednesday, January 20th at 4:00PM MST, our Website Bootcamp for those looking to optimize their web presence for 2021, and our Destination Creation course for businesses looking to increase revenue, sales, traffic, and profitability by becoming a destination business.

8) We’re in the running for a new AgriProcessing Center! One role of GFDA is to ensure we are speaking with the right people at the right time. One of our partners invited us to meet with a company that is looking at the Golden Triangle for their AgriProcessing Business. You might wonder what GFDA offers businesses looking at locating here. We do what the business needs when it needs it at the appropriate level of discretion. From pulling together data, sites, incentives, financial packaging and partners to advocacy during the City/County permitting process. Bring us in on your next project. Call Jolene 406.750.4481 or email JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) The Great Falls Tribune ran the last of an excellent series of articles featuring our 2020 Fire Within amazing female entrepreneur award winners. Read about Vanessa Bucklin – Pondera County Insurance. Learn more about The Fire Within and all of our award winners over the years on our website. If you’re interested in sponsoring the 2021 Fire Within program, please contact Teresa Schreiner at Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 781-9499.

10) The 2020 Montana Manufacturing Report, prepared by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, was released by the Montana Manufacturing Partnership. See article by MSU News Service that summarizes key findings. If your supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 or if you are researching new product lines, you may be facing challenges sourcing certain items. The MEP National Network is leading a new effort to offer Supplier Scouting, a formal process to connect U.S. companies to domestic manufacturers that can meet specific supply chain needs. The program leverages the knowledge and connections of MEP manufacturing experts in every state. Contact MMEC’s adviser for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts at richard.roberts4@montana.edu or 1-937-489-3985.

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

11) We helped answer many questions from businesses around the region during our Montana Business Stabilization Grant Report FAQ session this past Thursday. Reports are due on January 30. If you missed the session, we’re still here to help! We’ve put together a Business Stabilization Grant Report FAQ Guide. Call Nathan Reiff for one-on-one help; 406.403.4937. Nathan is also our point person for entrepreneurs and businesses seeking help with the new round of PPP loans.

12) Downtown Great Falls’ newest business is The Refinery Collective, located at 16 5th Street South. Owned by entrepreneur Veronica Van Voast-Wall, The Refinery Collective offers wholistic self care products and services, high-end all natural products, facials, massage, and more. Our team recently took a look around the shop and interviewed the owner – check out the Facebook Live. Better yet, wander into their shop for fun products – like the hand candles. If you are interested in opening, expanding or moving a business Downtown this year, or tackling a real estate development, we can help. Contact Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.836.0136.

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

14) The Montana Chamber is holding its second webinar on Business Succession Planning on January 27 at 12:00PM. Register here.

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

16) Our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center in Bozeman are taking applications for their third annual Impact Grant Competition. This competitive grant opportunity will award a total of $15,000 in funds to women-owned businesses in Montana. The application window opens January 18th.

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

18) The Montana Innovation Partnership, powered by MSU’s TechLink, is a great resource for research and development resources and know how. They are hosting a SBIR/STTR grant programs intro webinar on January 19 at 3:00PM.

19) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, North 40 Outfitters, for their Flagship Division investment, Sletten Construction, for their Pacesetter Division investment, and the Great Falls Association of Realtors, Great Falls Voyagers, Home Builder’s Association of Great Falls, Hybrid Steel Design, and Midway Rentalfor their Community Division investments. You can see the complete list of GFDA Investor’s in Economic Development here. If you are interested in becoming an investor, contact Teresa Schreiner at Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 781-9499.

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.

“One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.”
Ruth Reichi

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

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

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 Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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

Grow your workforce through apprenticeship! Reach Higher Montanawill host a webinar on the Montana Youth Apprenticeship Partnershipon January 20 at 2:00 PM. Register here.

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 Outlookthat will be held virtually on February 1-2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.