Top 10 – 10/18/2020

Building permits were issued for Hub International’s new 10,000 square foot office building in Great Falls’ Broadwater Bay. Great looking new building!

GFDA’s Top 10

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

1) 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,

2) Congratulations to entrepreneur Jeff Meiser on his announcement of his new downtown Great Falls business, Mountain Wave Distilling. Coming in early 2021, Mountain Wave distilling will be the first distillery in Great Falls, Montana. You can see his announcement at our Invest Downtown event that was hosted last week. You can watch the event here or read more about it on The Electric GF Business Bites.

3) The first two sessions of our Customer Development Series (How to Survive in an Amazon-COVID World and Getting Your Community to Buy Local) with international business coach Barbara Wold are now available for on-demand viewing, free of charge! There is also still time to register for the three remaining sessions: The Power of Partnerships, Set Up the Customer Experience, and Move Customer and Tourist to Advocates. Click here to access all of the above!

4) This month’s Montana Press featured a great cover story on the success of the Montana ArtsFest held each August in downtown Great Falls. Access the issue here.

5) We’ve got a new round of hazardous materials assessment grant funding to help entrepreneurs, businesses, and developers looking at commercial real estate with possible contamination. Water & Environmental Technologies has been selected to oversee this grant, and we have a large pool of other firms eager to provide assessment services. For more information on how you can put these funds to work for your project anywhere in Cascade County, contact Lillian Sunwall at

6) We published our GFDA Index for 2020Q3.

7) In addition to the trainings offered by GFDA, the Montana Small Business Development Centers have partnered with Grow With Google to present free webinars for Montana’s small businesses – Get Your Local Business on Google Search and Maps on October 21st at 11:00 AM and Make Better Business Decisions with Analytics will be on October 28th at 11:00 AM.

8) We are investing significant resources to attract businesses to the Golden Triangle and businesses are looking at our market! Ever wonder how we get those businesses to take note of the advantages our region offers? Grab your favorite beverage and join us on a zoom chat, 4 PM on October 28. We’ll discuss our business attraction strategies and partnership with DCI. Register for meeting information.

9) The Montana Department of Commerce is hosting a free International Market Research webinar on October 27 from 1:00-2:00 PM. Visit MATR for more info. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a webinar on Communicating Effectively When Stressed this Thursday October 22 at 10 AM; register here. And, Business Protocols for Sick Employees on November 5th at 9 AM; register here.

10) 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

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

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

13) Registration for QuickBooks on November 18 is live. QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman will take you through the basic elements of QuickBooks Accountant 2019 so you’re more efficient in entering revenue and expenses, and better able to communicate with your accountant come tax time. This course always sells out, so don’t wait – register today!

14) Jolene and I had the pleasure of being speakers at this week’s first ever virtual International Economic Development Council annual conference. Many of our team members were able to participate in the conference, learning about cutting edge economic development across the globe and connecting with fellow economic developers. Jolene spoke on How Men Can Lean In to Support Women (I better login to watch the recording of that session!) and I spoke on Managing Economic Development Organizations in Times of Crisis.

15) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Pacific Steel & Recycling for their Advanced Division investment, North 40 Outfitters for their Flagship Division investment, Dick Anderson Construction, Farran Realty Partners, LLC, and Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, PC for their Leadership Division investments, and Kelly Aline/Edward Jones for their Pacesetter Division investment. Now, more than ever, your support is critical as our team works to address the continuum of economic stability, resiliency, and recovery within the region. Thank you for supporting our community! If you have questions about how investment in economic development works, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

Thanks and have a great week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”
Leonard Bernstein

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

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

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

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.582%; 20-year at 2.553%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.468%; and, 20-year refinance 2.596%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

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

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit The new Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Workforce Recovery program will reimburse a business for the wages of full-time, permanent jobs that are created and retained for at least six months – up to $7,500 per job up to a maximum of 25 jobs per business. Businesses apply directly to the program. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been committed. For assistance with your application, contact Nathan Reiff at (406) 403-4937 or

Has your business incurred expenses to keep employees or customers safe? This could be extra personal protective equipment, a computer or office furniture to help an employee work remotely, or remodeled for curbside pickup. The Montana Business Adaptability Grant will reimburse you for these expenses. See this video for more information and how other businesses have used the funds. You can apply online, or if you want help contact Nathan Reiff at

Save the date for the virtual Montana Main Street annual conference November 11-13.

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

The new relocation website 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 Let’s talk Talent Attraction!

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

The 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 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

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

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

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

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

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