Top Ten – 10/3/2021

Madill Enterprises has completed 7,000 square feet of new meeting space at 410 Central Avenue in downtown Great Falls. Rendezvous at Four Ten can accommodate up to 312 people. Nice job!

GFDA’s Top Ten

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) We closed a $300,000 gap loan to Friesen Nutrition to help finance their rapid growth. We have closed $9,503,799 in gap and bridges loans so far in 2021, leveraging investment of over $38.9 million in Great Falls and Cascade County that otherwise would not have been possible. This week we issued $1,624,162 in loan commitments to three more local businesses to help finance expansions. This is a great example of how GFDA gap financing can help an entrepreneur start, expand, or innovate. If your business has a need, please reach out to Jill Kohles at

2) Special thanks to the Montana DBE program and Snowy Mountain Development  for co-hosting our Website Bootcamp one day training in Lewistown. Five entrepreneurs from the Lewistown area attended the full day event and made progress on getting their businesses online. If your business needs a website, check out our upcoming virtual Website Bootcamp set to kick off on October 12th.

3) NeighborWorks Great Falls addresses housing demand with their Dream Street Project. Check out the video announcement! Once the second group of builders finishes construction this year, a total of 155 homeowners will succeeded through the Owner Built Homes Program in Great Falls through NeighborWorks.

4) 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. Connect with Talent Attraction Director Soren to learn about more great talent attraction tools for employers. “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.

5) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: The LaunchPoint, our catch all class for starting a business is back on Tuesday, October 5th. Make sure your business is protected – this week’s webinar topic on Thursday, October 7 is Cybersecurity. Make sure your business is prepared to capitalize on the online holiday shopping frenzy – on October 12th we are starting a new session of our Website Bootcamp to make sure you have a functional e-commerce website in time for the holiday season.

6) Invest Downtown Great Falls is quickly approaching. Are you a developer? Retail/Restaurant/Housing/Real Estate developers wanted for Invest Downtown Great Falls Montana! This in-person and online event on 10/28, highlights opportunities and recent successes. Thank you NorthWestern Energy for sponsoring! If you haven’t registered yet, head over to our registration page and sign up. We’re looking for Developers and Retail/Restaurant targets to invite for Invest Downtown. If you have some great ideas on who to invite, send an email to Christian at or call at 406.836.0136.

7) Encouraging more housing production is a top GFDA priority. We commissioned a Great Falls Housing Demand Market Assessment this week in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Association of Realtors. We will use the findings to interest developers in constructing rental and homeownership units.

8) We are launching two new task forces. If you are interested in helping to address the need for more housing in Great Falls, join our Housing Production Task Force. If you are interested in helping get more industrial space pre-packaged for manufacturing prospects, join our Industrial Space Task Force. Email Jake Clark at

9) GFDA invites you to give input into the start of developing a new strategic plan to grow and strengthen the regional economy. The first step is to gather community input on the strengths and weaknesses of our current regional economy, an the opportunities and threats we will face. We want to tap into your knowledge and expertise! Please take a few minutes to fill out a brief survey here.

10) Have you been listening to the popular We’re No Dam Experts podcasts produced by Great Falls Tourism? They published episode 49 this week “Are you ready to become famous?.”

11) Is your business opening, expanding, or doing something revolutionary? We want to hear about it and tell your story to the Great Falls regional business community! Our Announcement of the Week goes out to a captive audience of thousands in the Great Falls regional business community. Contact Jolene at to get started on your announcement.

12) Thank you to Jeff Tripp who ended his temporary employment with GFDA on September 30th. Jeff spent the last six months with our team as an SBDC Project Manager. Some of you met Jeff when he was in town presenting his research into developing mentorship and accelerator programs. Stay tuned as we begin recruiting, promoting, and rolling out some of these new programs. If you have interest in learning more about Jeff’s research, feel free to connect with Jason at

13) Here is GFDA’s FY 2021 Audited Financial Statement that was completed by our auditors this week. Once again we had a clean audit with no findings or auditor recommendations. With the support of our investors and partners, we were able to continue the “all in” response to COVID that our Board adopted at the start of the pandemic. We were able to increase investment in business development and talent attraction by 55% and in business advising and training by 35%. Even with that, we cut our overall operating expenses by 7%. We were very active in providing gap and bridge financing that conventional lenders could not do. Our outstanding loan portfolio ended the fiscal year on June 30th 47% larger than at the start of the fiscal year.

14) Our team and the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce team conducted a cross training to provide more value to our clients and members. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce focuses on being a business champion, convener, and catalyst; the GFDA team focuses on all aspects of business start, growth, innovation, transition, and attraction. Together we can really grow the Great Falls region! Want to learn more, call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

15) We have three exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, Resource Director (grant writing), and Business Development Officer (food processing specialist). Download job postings and please help spread the word. GFDA has a year-round College Intern Program with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

16) GFDA is proud to be one of the Economic Development Research Partners of the International Economic Development Council. We are the only economic development organization in Montana that participates in producing cutting edge research to increase the impact of economic development. I’ve been asked to chair the latest research effort, Real Estate During COVID and Beyond, that will look at housing, industrial space, office, and retail trends and how economic development organizations can have the most impact on their local real estate markets.

17) Thank you to our incredible investors! Recent investments include: Advance Division—Wells Fargo; Community Division—Hoven Equipment.  Everything we do is possible because of the support of our investors. If you would like be a part of the team that is helping to grow Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Get ready for an incredibly exciting week!


Brett Doney
President & CEO

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

“The question is not whether we are able to change but whether we are changing fast enough.”

Angela Merkel

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

Edition 506

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 2021Q2 Quarter Index.

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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.973%; 20-year at 2.855%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.673%; and, 20-year refinance 2.898%; 25-year refinance 3.014%. 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 Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

Learn how to add the most value to your ranching or processing operation in terms of marketing, financing, distribution, & quality. How do you get the most value for your beef while keeping it local? What business strategies & certifications are best for your operation? What can marketing & networking do for your business? Free workshop on November 3 from 10 AM – 3 PM. Register here.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Changes include increases to maximum loan amount and expansion in the uses of funds for paying and prepaying existing business debt. If your business is still struggling to stabilize and recover from the pandemic or are seeing new challenges related to the Delta variant, GFDA’s business advisors are here to help. Connect with Jason at Apply for COVID EIDL on the SBA’s website.

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.

Pro-tip: Post positivity! When you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and share something positive about Great Falls, tag @LiveinGreatFalls or @GrowGreatFallsMontana. We will like and share your posts. Follow our talent attraction effort, Live in Great Falls, on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube.

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.

Visit our relocation website 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

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 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.

Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.