Top 10 – 11/15/2020

Citizens Alliance Bank’s building is starting to take shape in West Bank Landing right across from our office. Iron workers and crane work on a beautiful fall day along the Missouri.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 15 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 partnered with Malmstrom Air Force Base’s Diversity and Inclusion Team to present Boots to Business-Reboot: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Seventeen military spouses from five states, including 10 from MAFB joined the presentation. Special thanks to Air Force veterans Thad and Heidi Reiste, owners of Electric City Coffee, for joining the presentation to share their story.

2) This November we are giving thanks for the Golden Triangle’s female entrepreneurs. Each Tuesday and Thursday we’re featuring the stories of our 2020 Fire Within award winners. This week we featured Aspire Winner Tara Beam, co-owner of Roadhouse Diner, and Inspire Winner Vanessa Buckling, owner of Pondera County Insurance. View on The Fire Within Facebook page.

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

4) It’s tough to find and keep talent. Learn what it takes to cut through the noise to find and keep the talent your business needs. Chris Czarnik, one of the nation’s top talent experts and author of the book “Winning the War for Talent”, is bringing his expertise to you December 1st, 8th, and 15th from 11 to noon. Each session will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Register here to join the sessions or to be sent a recording. Thanks to support from the SBA Small Business Development Center lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce, we’re able to offer this series, usually costing over $350, for free.

5) 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.

6) The holidays are quickly approaching, so we are already looking at December trainings to help businesses finish out the year strong! The topic of our monthly business webinar on December 3rd at 11:00 AM MST is Engineering Growth in the Wake of COVID. Our business startup workshop The LaunchPoint is back on December 8th at 4:00 PM MST. And rounding out the year is Boots to Business, a two-day workshop December 17th and 18th designed to help military service members start their own business.

7) Great Falls Tourism has launched Visit Great Falls podcasts; see KRTV. Episode 1 is titled, “Welcome to the Greatest Dam Town in Montana, Great Falls.”

8) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners at the Montana Women’s Business Center: Leadership Decision Fatigue: Making the Complex Simple – Live Zoom, November 17th at 10:00 AM MST. Grow Your Business + Support System with the Made In Montana Program – FREE Live Zoom Training, November 18th at 10:00 AM MST. Intro to Email Marketing: Starting Your List, December 1st at 1:00 PM MST.

9) Do you take a Montana Agriculture commodity and transform it adding value in the process? This is for you. Projects that add value to Montana agriculture products are eligible to apply for the Montana Growth Through Ag Grant and Loan Program. There is a $1:$1 match requirement. The maximum funding award is $50,000 for a grant and $100,000 for a loan. Examples of eligible fund use (but not limited to) include: equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services like engineering costs. Full details can be found at We’re happy to advise, call Jolene with questions 406.750.4481.

10) What does the maker of all natural dog treats in Cut Bank, a modern art gallery owner in Great Falls, and a personal trainer in Geraldine have in common? They all launched ecommerce-enabled websites after taking part in our Website Boot Camp! If you want to get your business selling online in time for the holiday rush, register for our Website Boot Camp: Holiday Edition.

11) GFDA has two great career opportunities. We’re boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. 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.

12) Participated in the Montana Infrastructure Coalition’s virtual annual meeting. The coalition is one of the strategic partnerships we support, in addition to the Montana Defense Alliance, Great Falls Downtown Development Partnership, Kids Education Yes, and the Great Fall Chamber’s Flight Initiative.

13) Two great food processing workshops offered by Headwaters RC&D. Trends in Online Selling for Food Producers, Wednesday December 2nd, 1-3 PM, designed to support farmers, food producers, and other farmers’ market vendors, will cover the logistics of online selling and pre-ordering for food vendors that may typically sell in farmers’ markets. The content is not limited to work in the market, but is geared to support online selling for vendors that would be found in those markets. 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.

14) Participated in the virtual annual conferences of the Opportunity Finance Network, the leading trade association of Community Development Financial Institutions, and the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

15) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Hoven Equipment Company, K & K Trucking, Inc., and Mighty Mo Brewing Company for their Community Division investments. Your dollars are providing a 2.5x return, churning dollars back into the region, supporting talent attraction, business growth, and increased lending capital to our local businesses. If you want to get in on investment, email Teresa at or call 406-781-9499.

Hang in there!

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.

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”
H.G. Wells

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 a new Loan Officer position. And, we’re looking for a Food & Ag Processing Business Development Officer to lead our Food & Ag Development Center. 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.

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.552%; 20-year at 2.523%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.417%; and, 20-year refinance 2.566%; 25-year refinance 2.593%. 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

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.

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,

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!

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

Great Falls Tourism has a host of resources available to help local businesses deal with the pandemic. Check out the resources at 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 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 Jolene at 406-750-4481 or

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

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

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

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.