Top 10 – 11/23/2021

Pulled over to snap a photo from Marias Pass on Wednesday. What an awesome state we live in!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for last 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. Much more to share — will try to catch up in next week’s edition.

1) Calumet Specialty Products announced it has raised a $199 million convertible debt investment through Oaktree Capital Management to support the company’s proposed biodiesel and green hydrogen project in Great Falls. Making progress on this exciting project!

2) Catching up on a number of exciting business and project announcements. Construction has started on the $26 million Belt Creek cleanup project; see Great Falls Tribune and The Electric. The Cascade County Commission picked its preferred reuse plan for the Anaconda Smelter site; see The Electric and KRTV. The Little Shell Tribe opened its new health clinic in Great Falls; see KRTV and Tribune. NeighborWorks Great Falls acquired 123 acres of land abutting the City of Great Falls for future housing development. Three new businesses plan to open at 112 Central in downtown Great Falls, All The Things Charcuterie, Tres 65, and Sub Rosa. See The Electric.

3) Per capital personal income in Cascade County grew 6.1% in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, topping Flathead at 5.2%, Gallatin at 5.4%, Missoula at 5.1%, Silver Bow at 5.0%, and Yellowstone at 4.4%. Kiplinger estimates that Montana will receive $3,500 per resident from the new federal infrastructure bill, compared to only $1,250 per resident for California.

4) Twelve entrepreneurs and business professionals participated in our QuickBooks Online course, presented by Wendy Weissman, CPA PC. Special thanks to Great Falls College MSU for hosting this training. Coming up on December 7th, Wendy will present on the QuickBooks Desktop version of the platform. For more information or to register for the December 7th course, click here. Contact Jason with questions at

5) More catch up on projects and businesses. Nature’s Way, a new child care center, opened in Great Falls; see KRTV. The Montana Farmers Union unveiled its new mobile meat processing unit; see KRTV. Community leaders celebrated the opening of the new Sunburst Community Center; see Shelby Promoter. Welcome Jon and Amanda Bush who just relocated to Great Falls from Vancouver, Washington, bringing their two businesses with them: Fit and Finish Gunworks, and The Trophy Pros; see KRTV. Rainbow International Restoration opened in Great Falls.

6) Tell your college-aged kids and grandkids about the first annual College Country Jam at The Newberry this Wednesday, 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.

7) Congratulations to Malmstrom AFB on winning an Air Force Design Award for the recently completed tactical response force alert facility! See The Electric.

8) We are working with numerous food and agriculture processing businesses, large and small, to take advantage of Montana Department of Agriculture grants. Learn more about the ARPA Agriculture Infrastructure Grant program here. The deadline for this grant is December 15. Questions? Call Rich Gannon at 406.836.2078.

9) Congratulations to Great Falls Tourism on moving into their new office on Flag Hill!

10) The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released updated guidance and deadlines for applicants of the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Supplemental Advances. Click here to read the release and learn more. For anyone having difficulty applying for COVID EIDL relief funds, contact Jason at

11) We love entrepreneurs of all ages! GFDA is once again sponsoring a csh prize for high school entrepreneurs in the Golden Triangle in the Montana Chamber Foundation’s The Prospectsbusiness plan and pitch competition.

12) December 15 is the deadline for Big Sky Trust Fund Planning Grants that can assist with engineering and design in the planning phase of a project and Big Sky Trust Fund Primary Sector Job Creation grants. You can find more information here. Questions about utilizing these programs? Call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

13) We’ve made great progress in Downtown Great Falls this week on new projects and projects that are in progress. We are always here to help keep projects moving, and one of the biggest road blocks is construction costs. If you need Gap or Bridge financing to help get your project to the finish line, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 and let’s keep the momentum in Downtown!

14) As we continue our efforts to develop a new economic development strategic plan, we commissioned an Industry by Industry COVID Impact Study for the Great Falls MSA from Chmura Economics. We’re also pleased to announce that we have retained The Wendt Agency of Great Falls to handle our talent attraction social media marketing.

15) We’re excited to announce that Justin Loch will be joining our team as a new Business Development Officer. Justin has been serving as the Membership and Development Director for the Montana Farmers Union. He earned a Bachelor of Science from MSU Northern. Welcome Justin!

16) GFDA received two Impact Awards from the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA), one for our COVID Economic Development Response and one for our efforts to support the West Bank Landing brownfield riverfront redevelopment. I participated in the MEDA fall conference and taught Economic Development 101.

17) GFDA has maintained strong support from our investors over the years. Our investors are driven by their passion of supporting this community and watching it flourish. Some recent investments include: Leadership Division—Gusto Distributing; and Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C.; Community Division—Geranios Enterprises Inc., and Grobovsky, Van Heel & Funderburk, P.C. The impact our investors have on our community is incredible. Because of their generosity we can continue providing businesses the resources and support they need.  If you share the same love for your community and want to be part of the team that is helping to Grow Great Falls, reach out to Investment Director, Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


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!

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“If you risk nothing, you risk everything.”
Geena Davis

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 511

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

November SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.922%; 20-year at 2.775%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.793%; and, 20-year refinance 2.789%; 25-year refinance 2.936%. 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

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.

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 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.

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 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 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.