Top 10 – 10/4/2020

Citizens Alliance Bank has broken ground in West Bank Landing! The fifth project in the mixed-use riverfront development, this three story building with beautiful river views and access will be home to the bank on the first two floors and is looking for a tenant for the third floor. Congratulations and welcome to the neighborhood!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 13 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) Great Falls was nationally recognized by LendEDU as one of the most affordable cities for veteran homebuyers amongst 25,000 American cities. 15.09% of Great Falls’s population is comprised of veterans and active military members, and only 22.98% of the houses in Great Falls have a mortgage that costs 30% or more of the household income.

2) Now is the time to Invest in Downtown Great FallsRegistration is open for our virtual Invest in Downtown Great Falls event on October 13 at 9 AM. Learn what made some of our most popular downtown businesses succeed; hear about new development opportunities; and explore the vision our community has for the future of Downtown Great Falls. Are you a developer, entrepreneur, business owner? This is for you. We want you in Downtown Great Falls!

3) Entertainment businesses, retailers, and restaurants you’ll want to pay attention to this! We have contracted with international business coach for one on one coaching sessions. Instead of an in-person conference we changed the format and that means individual sessions we are bringing to you at no cost to you. We only have 16 spots available. Sign up with Nathan Reiff,

4) Forty investors and potential investors attended our Talent Attraction virtual event yesterday! Weren’t able to make it to the event? No worries. You can watch the event replay and view the slides. Please note, due to some technical difficulties, the first five minutes of the presentation weren’t recorded.

5) LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop, the all-you-need-to-know course to get your business up and running is coming up on October 15th – register here. In addition to the trainings offered by GFDA, here are a few offered by our partners: Montana Procurement and Technical Assistance Center is offering a free webinar on Contracting with the State of Montana, October 7th at 9:00 AM, and The Montana Small Business Development Centers have partnered with Grow With Google to present three free webinars for Montana’s small businesses. Connect with Customers and Manage Your Business Remotely on October 7th at 1:00PM, Get Your Local Business on Google Search and Maps on October 21st at 11:00 AM, and finally Make Better Business Decisions with Analytics will be on October 28th at 11:00 AM.

6) What happens when your project costs exceed your capital? You come to GFDA to fill that GAP! A group of local entrepreneurs did that this week – stay tuned for their AWESOME announcement! If your project has a GAP, call Jolene 406.750.4481 to discuss.

7) 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

8) Met with a local business to talk about the benefits of the Brownfields Assessment tool when looking to purchase an existing building in downtown Great Falls. For more information on how to leverage Brownfields funding for your next project, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

9) Businesses are looking at our market. We’ve submitted two proposals in the past two weeks. Ever wonder how are we attracting businesses to the Golden Triangle? 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.

10) Four of GFDA’s business advisors participated in the 40th Annual America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) professional development conference along with 2000 other advisors from around the U.S. Keynote speakers at this year’s virtual conference included the principal U.S. economist from VISA, executives from Google and Intuit, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, and Daymond John of Shark Tank fame. Our SBDC team also participated in dozens of professional development seminars designed to keep our skills current. To learn more about how to start, grow, or expand your business with the help of one of our advisors, please contact Jason at

11) 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!

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

13) We released our audited Financial Statement for FY 2020 that ended June 30th.

Let’s MASK UP to keep our people safe and our economy moving forward!

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.

“There is a way to do it better – find it.”
Thomas Edison

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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.361%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.274%; and, 20-year refinance 2.363%. 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.

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit

The Montana Chamber if offering a COMMIT Foundation Becoming Veteran-Ready Employers virtual training on October 13 at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here.

The Montana Business of Outdoor Recreation Virtual Summit will be held October 13-15; more info here.

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.

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

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.