Top 10 – 12/5/2021

The new Little Shell Tribal Health Clinic in Great Falls. Congratulations to the Tribe and all involved in making this long sought after facility a reality!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 20 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) Congratulations to the forty High School House construction students of Great Falls Public Schools who signed pre-apprenticeship agreements in the building trades last month!

2) Reviewed the draft of the housing market demand study for the Great Falls area commute shed that we commissioned in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Association of Realtors. The developer/investor-perspective in-depth analysis indicates surprisingly strong market support for the production of new rental and ownership homes at a wide array of price points. We are working with The Concord Group to finalize the study and release it as soon as possible.

3) Big Sandy Organics is expanding! This north central Montana snack manufacturer has obtained an international contract that will allow them to dramatically expand and bring additional growth to their partners. Learn more about the expansion here.

4) Congratulations to Cut Bank Auto Body on the successful transition of the ownership of the business between generations. Read the full article in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

5) Twenty entrepreneurs and business professionals from around the state and US participated in the live delivery of “Communication that Fosters Cooperation,” our final Small Business Webinar Series presentation of 2021. To watch the recording of this or past presentations, click here.

6) Ron Colwell, Project Manager of Calumet’s Montana Renewablesproject in Great Falls, gave a presentation to GFDA’s Board on project progress. Ron explained the superior performance of the renewable diesel Montana Renewables will produce unlike bio diesel. Download a PDF of Ron’s presentation.

7) Are you a Montana female entrepreneur? Prospera’s Women’s Business Center is seeking women from every Montana county for the 56 Strong Women’s Mentorship program. Meet with a mentor once a month for six months to gain new perspectives and insight on growing your business. Application and additional information can be found here.

8) The Montana Department of Commerce has published a Success Story with one of our small business clients, Paul Ranch Montana, north of Babb in Glacier County. Between March 2020 and October 2021, Paul Ranch Montana owner Barbara Paul participated in 42 of GFDA’s business trainings, accounting for 27 total hours, to help her navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. “My number one access to information, every time a new pandemic stimulus program came out was the Great Falls Development Authority,” Barbara Paul said. To read the Success Story, click here.

9) Are you thinking of applying for the Montana ARPA Agriculture Infrastructure Program? This grant will be highly competitive. We are here to help you make the most competitive application possible. Learn more about the program here. Call Jolene to chat about your idea, 406.750.4481.

10) Starbucks is building a new location on 10th Avenue South in Great Falls; see TheElectric’s Business Bites.

11) Published our December Hot Jobs in Great Falls! Please send to all you acquaintances who live outside our region! Another way to share this job list is by liking/commenting/sharing our posts on the following social media accounts: FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram. If you have Hot Jobs to be included January’s Hot Jobs list, submit them here.

12) A new innovative youth counseling practice, Connected Counseling, is opening in Great Falls; see KRTV.

13) Due to low enrollment, we have cancelled our final QuickBooks course of 2021 scheduled for Tuesday, December 7th. If you have or know of someone with interest in a future QuickBooks course, please contact Jason at

14) Attention: Small Businesses involved or interested in Government Contracting.  The U.S. Federal Government is the largest consumer in the world, spending more than $650 billion each year. The President has set a policy of using Federal contract spending to support small businesses and advance equity. In Executive Order 13985, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government,” President Biden directed agencies to make Federal contracting and procurement opportunities more readily available to all eligible vendors and to remove barriers faced by underserved individuals and communities.

OMB M-22-03, “Advancing Equity in Federal Procurement,” was issued on December 2, 2021. It implements the President’s commitment to increase spending for the small business socioeconomic programs, especially for small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). One of the highlights is to establish an agency-specific SDB goal that will allow the Federal Government to cumulatively meet 11% for FY22 (the FY21 goal was 5% and DLA did 7%). The SDB goal will further increase to 15% by FY25. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and OMB will work together to consider FY23 goal increases for the other socioeconomic programs, review and adjust category management practices to increase contract opportunities for SDBs and other small businesses, and increase the number of new entrants to the Federal marketplace and reverse the decline in the small business supplier base. These additional businesses include women-owned small businesses (WOSBs), service-disabled veteran owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), and small business contractors in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones). Does your business qualify for one of these set-asides? For more information see if you qualify to take advantage of these opportunities, contact Lillian Sunwall at or call 406-750-1253.

15) The GFDA Board of Directors decided to create another new task force to tackle Logistics Costs in the Great Falls region. Based on the SWOT analysis of the Great Falls regional market conducted this fall as part of our strategic planning process, our Board has identified six market competitive factors that will be addressed with new task forces: Housing Production; Health/BioScience Industry Cluster; Montana Natural Gas Transmission Capacity; Industrial Spaces; Talent Attraction; and, Logistics Costs. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has created a Workforce Coalition to tackle the critical need for workforce development. Thank you to all of our investors, partners, businesses, and community members who participated in the SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) listening sessions! We will be looking for volunteers to form these task forces very soon.

16) Justin Loch started work on our business development team. Justin will focus on the food processing, ag processing, and bio product manufacturing industries, helping existing businesses to grow and attracting new facilities into the region. Join us in welcoming Justin! he can be reached at 406-590-1301 or

17) Hold the date for Ignite 2022, 8:00 AM on Friday, January 7, at Meadow Lark Country Club.

18) Notice from our friends at the Montana Retail Association. The minimum wage in Montana will increase 5.25% effective January 1st, going from $8.75/hour to $9.20/hour. Please plan accordingly.

19) Held a kick-off meeting with Chmura Economics for the COVID industry-by-industry impact study we’ve commissioned for the Great Falls MSA. Reviewed draft articles for the 2022 edition of the Livability Great Falls talent attraction magazine we publish in partnership with

20) Our investors are instrumental in the growth of our region. Because of their support we can continue providing businesses the tools and resources they need to succeed. Recent investment include: Leadership Division—Dick Anderson Construction; Community Division—Great Falls Voyagers,and Powergas Corporation. If you want to join our awesome team of investors and help GFDA in our efforts to grow and & diversify Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage opportunities, and improve market competitiveness, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Back on the road this week meeting with site selection consultants then to DC to meet with federal officials. Jolene and Jake are traveling to meet with commercial real estate brokers, developers and retailers.

Have a fantastic week! Shop local!!!


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!

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
Richard Branson

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 513

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
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

Attention female entrepreneurs. The 56Strong Montana Mentorship Program is accepting applications; due December 17. This is a free mentorship program being offered by the Women’s Business Center hosted by the Prospera Business Network in Bozeman.

A number of state special business programs using American Rescue Plan funds are rolling out. The Workforce Training Grant Program has been launched by the Montana Department of Commerce and has up to $3,000 per eligible employee available for training expenses by businesses. The Apprenticeship Training Grant Program will be able to reimburse construction-related apprenticeship expenses up to a limit of $3,000. Track all state ARPA economic programs on the state’s ARPA website.

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.

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 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.