Top 10 – 11/14/2021

Staff from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Montana District Office toured Mountain Wave Distillingunder construction in Downtown Great Falls. The tour was part of the SBA’s outreach to veteran-owned businesses during National Veterans Small Business Week. Jeff Miser, a retired Air Force helicopter pilot and owner of Mountain Wave Distilling, gave the tour and also participated in a virtual meetup with 30 other veteran small business owners statewide.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 26 for the last three 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. Much more to share — will try to catch up in next week’s edition.

1) We passed another stage in a major manufacturing site selection process! The City of Great Falls issued the foundation and shell building permits for construction of the Touro Montana Medical School in only three weeks! The City Commission approved the construction contract for the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics and Recreation Center. The Commission unanimously approved the rezoning requested by TC Glass and Northern Hydraulics.

2) Congratulations to MT Gems on their Big Sky Trust Fund Planning grant award. The grant will allow them to plan for an expansion of their assisted living home that focuses on family centric care for Dementia patients. Big Sky Trust Fund is a useful tool for planning and workforce development. Call Jolene to discuss your project, 406.750.4481.

3) Our first in-person/hybrid Invest Downtown Great Falls was a huge success. Thank you to our sponsor Northwestern Energy and our host The Newberry. We had over 90 in-person, 20 people watching online, 20 speakers and 1 announcement. We’re excited to see how far Downtown has come in the last few years, and even more excited to see where it’s going. NOW is the time to Invest in Downtown Great Falls. If you’ve been interested in starting a business Downtown or expand your business Downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or

4) The Montana Department of Agriculture has launched the Agriculture Infrastructure Grant funded by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act). The goal of the grant program is to assist with the development of innovative agricultural business improvements. The first step of the grant funding process is to complete to a project proposal. If you’d like help reviewing your proposal before submitting please contact Rich Gannon at The project proposal deadline is December 15th.

5) World class research is happening in Great Falls Montana. Check out the McLaughlin expansion news due to a generous $5 million gift. Click here.

6) Submitted two attraction proposals. We receive leads from site selectors and the State of Montana from companies that are looking for specific requirements to expand. Typically we have 3-12 days to respond. It is extremely helpful to have an inventory of available sites. We are always adding to the inventory. If you have commercial or industrial properties – land or buildings – available; we urge you to list with a commercial broker, put your listing on Loopnet, and let us know about it. Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

7) HUB International completed their in-fill office project with a view of the Missouri River. This allows them great operational efficiency and room to expand their team! Congratulations and thank you for investing in Great Falls Montana. Plenty of in-fill opportunities exist, call Jolene to discuss 406.750.4481. Check out the announcement here.

8) GFDA closed a loan to Mountain View Physical Therapy & Sports Injury Clinic for environmental cleanup funding for their new property located in downtown Great Falls. The client is looking to redevelop this property to relocate and expand their business. The EPA Brownfield loan funds are providing the client low interest funding that will get the property ready. If you want to discuss different options that GFDA may be able to provide, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

9) Great Falls Montana Tourism released their new Visitors Guide and it’s worth checking out – it’ll make you excited all over again to live in this great town! Rebecca and Mari celebrated one year of their popular podcast We’re No Dam Experts… by interviewing a dam expert! Listen here.

10) We received the most updated cost of living data for Great Falls. Our metro area is 89.5% of the national average! Our housing prices are only 76.1% of the national average – this is great news. We’re committed to the mission of driving wage growth in our region while still maintaining a healthy cost of living for residents.

11) Attention Small Business doing Government Contracting:  There has been an update to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The plans for the next iteration of CMMC which is being call CMMC 2.0 has been released. Like the initial CMMC (which was pilot tested but never implemented) this version has to go through the public comment and rulemaking process and nobody knows what changes will occur to the proposed CMMC 2.0 during those processes. A few proposed changes included in CMMC 2.0 include decreasing certification levels from 5 to 3 and increasing opportunities for (no-cost) self-assessments. While the rulemaking efforts are ongoing, the Department intends to suspend the current CMMC Piloting efforts and will not approve inclusion of a CMMC requirement in any DoD solicitation. The Department encourages contractors to continue to enhance their cybersecurity position during the interim period while the rulemaking is underway.  Please visit the CMMC website and to learn more.

12) Tell your college-aged kids and grandkids about the first annual College Country Jam at The Newberry on 11/24. Featured acts are Kylie Morgan and Claire Wright. Ticket are $15 online and $20 at the box office with a valid student ID, and $30 for the general public. Let’s engage our young people and show them that Great Falls is an awesome place so they consider our awesome companies when examining their post-graduate career options.

13) We published two new relocation stories on the Great People, Great Falls series on our blog. Check out the stories of Haley Thomasand Kylan and Lacey Hallett on the Live in Great Falls website!

14) The unemployment rate in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) dropped to 2.0% in September from 2.9% in August. This is the lowest monthly unemployment rate on record for our MSA. Our housing market demand consultants visited town to meet with developers, Realtors, property managers, and community leaders. Our strategic planning consultant guided a session of the GFDA Board and partners discussing what the consultant team has heard during the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats listening meetings and sessions.

15) We are entering year number five of our monthly Small Business Webinar Series in collaboration Montana State University – Extension and other partners. The November installment welcomed nearly 20 live participants with 20 more registered to watch the recording. This month discussed building a company’s brand assets. Click here to watch these brief, 30-minute professional development opportunities.

16) We are delivering FREE Great Falls Livability Magazines to employers around town who will use this tool as part of their talent recruitment package. If you want your company to be added to the delivery list, please email or call Soren at or (406)781-0736.

17) Want to get more out of your QuickBooks Online? Join us for a one day course Friday, November 19 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the Great Falls College MSU. QuickBooks Pro Advisor, Wendy Weissman, will provide hands on instruction for those both new and experienced. Register here. Do you use the Desktop version of QuickBooks? We have you covered as well on Tuesday, December 7 from 8:30 to 4:30 PM at Great Falls College MSU also with QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman. Register here.

18) Three GFDA team members, Rich Gannon, Jake Clark, and Jason Nitschke traveled to the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Michigan to complete their PeerSpectives certifications. The Lowe Foundation provides a variety of entrepreneurial and leadership education programs for second stage companies. Our team completed the course in preparation for rolling out our peer mentoring program for CEOs of second stage companies in the Golden Triangle. To inquire about participating in an upcoming cohort of peer CEOs, contact Jason at To see if your company may be considered in its “second stage,” complete a Lowe Foundation self-assessment here.

19) Check out November’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls! This list series features some of the hottest jobs in Great Falls – copy and paste the below link to send to your college bestie, grandchild, or someone special who you think would love life in Montana.

20) Please follow Live in Great Falls on YouTube! If we get to 100 followers, we get our own unique YouTube web address. Just click this link and tap the red “Subscribe” button on the right! We currently have 19 followers – we need just 81 more reach our goal (that’s just 4% of everyone who will read this sentence). Thanks for your help!

21) We’ve added the Live Your Best Life in Great Falls talent attraction marketing video to the homepage of our talent attraction website! Check it out, add the website to your email signature line and job postings, and forward the website to anyone you know who might want to live + work in Great Falls.

22) We are looking for an amazing woman business advisor for our partnership with the Montana Women’s Business Center. Check out the posting here.

23) Look out for Live in Great Falls and Great Falls Development Authority ads in the upcoming issue of the Central Montana Tourism’s Visitors Guide. This publication has different audiences than our other print publications, and we want to convert visitors to residents.

24) We are considering offering a new talent attraction tool for employers: the ability to include a person who has relocated to Great Falls to join any lunches or dinners you host for candidates interviewing in town. These people, who will be from a variety of backgrounds and locations, would be able to speak about life in Great Falls, community involvement, etc. Please reach out to Talent Attraction Director Soren at or (406)781-0736 if this is a service your company would find useful.

25) GFDA’s mission is to grow and diversify Great Falls’ regional economy, create higher wage career opportunities, and improve market competitiveness. Our investors write checks each year in support of our mission. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Alluvion Health; Leadership Division—Montana Credit Union, and Stockman Bank; Pacesetter Division—GPD Consulting Engineers; Community Division—Dustin Young & Company, and Buchanan Enterprises, Inc. Because of their continued support, we can keep working towards our mission. If you are interested in becoming part of the team that is helping to Grow Great Falls, contact Investment Director, Jenn Gallmeier, at 406-781-9499 or

26) I continued my fall road trips, participating in the International Business Incubation Association’s eBuilder Forum in Columbus, OH, and the Angel Capital Association’s fall forum in Philadelphia. Made some great contacts for stepping up our entrepreneurial support and angel investment services. Met with corporate real estate executives at the CoreNet Global North America Summit in Seattle. Drove to Lewistown to participate in the Montana Infrastructure Coalitionannual meeting and was elected to the Coalition’s Board of Directors. And I participated in the virtual annual conference of the Council of Development Finance Agencies and gave a presentation on our award-winning economic development response to the pandemic.

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.

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

“You have to make it happen.”
Denis Diderot

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 510

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 2021Q3 Quarter Index.

GFDA Career Opportunities
We have two exciting career opportunities for Content Marketing Director/Small Business Adviser, and Resource Director (grant writing). 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!

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 2.912%; 20-year at 2.765%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.372%; and, 20-year refinance 2.779%; 25-year refinance 2.926%. 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 Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Montana Film Office is excited to announce that the Fiscal Year 2022 Big Sky Film Grant (BSFG) is open for submissions and will be awarding $1.5 million dollars in grant funds to selected productions — AND we’ve extended our deadline to November 29. Grant applications are being accepted in 3 categories: Feature Film & TV, Resident Filmmaker, and Short-Form Content. Visit our BSFG webpage HERE for more details on categories and program details. Before applying, please read the program’s Instructions & Guidelines HERE. Applications are accepted via Submittable platform and found on our website HERE.

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is (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

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for March 11-12, 2022 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

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

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

Montana DPHHS will be accepting one-time Child Care Stabilization grant applications from now until December 31! These funds are meant to stabilize your business coming out of the public health emergency. The process is not competitive and licensed centers are eligible for up to 80-100% of their operating expenses. Go to and click on “Grants for Licensed & Registered Child Care Programs (Stabilization).”

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.

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.

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 or 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 toolkitsto 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.

A new access to capital option for businesses has launched. Crowdfund Montana is an investment crowdfunding platform, affiliated with the national platform Crowdfund Mainstreet, to bring people together to fund good business projects. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, investment crowdfunding allows funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. NBC Montana has published this story about the platform’s launch.

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.