Top 10 – 3/21/2021

GFDA announces its College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 24 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) All 42 members of GFDA’s Board of Directors signed a Letter of Support for the Osteopathic Medical School that the Touro College & University System plans in Great Falls.

2) The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) application will open April 8th. SBA is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, March 30 from 12:30 to 2:00 PM MST; register here. Ahead of time, review the  application checklist and eligibility. You will need a SAM number to apply. While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application hasn’t come out yet, businesses will need to be registered in SAM and DUNS to apply. If you need help with either of those you can talk to Shannon Clancy at or (406) 590-1184. If you have questions about COVID recovery programs contact Nathan Reiff at or (406) 403-4937.

3) Our announcement of the week was the million dollar site improvements of the C.M. Russell Museum. Check out the video announcement here – and help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to do business! We have resources to support would-be entrepreneurs and existing businesses – contact Jolene to get connected (406) 750-4481.

4) The Lifelong Learning Center at Great Falls College MSU is accepting applications for its first-ever certified nursing assistant (CNA) program. See KRTV.

5) Our Loan Committee approved a gap financing package totaling $316,420 for an exciting startup business in downtown Great Falls. We love to see all the activity going on in downtown Great Falls and want to see more! If your business needs assistance with financing to start, innovate or expand, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

6) We hosted an interactive webinar, Making Great Falls A Remote Ready City, based on a recent Remote Ready Cities webinar by Fourth Economy and Livability Media. 14 individuals attended and there was great and insightful conversation on the future of Great Falls as a remote worker magnet. You can watch our interactive webinar on YouTube and watch the full Remote Ready Cities webinar on Fourth Economy’s website.

7) The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email if you want to reactivate or check your info. The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is tentatively scheduled for September 10-11 in Helena. The Exhibitor application will be available in early May on the Made in Montana Tradeshow webpage.

8) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Spots are still open for free one-on-one consultations with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold. Learn Five Things to do Today to Manage Risk in Your Company in our next webinar coming up April 1. The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop for budding entrepreneurs is on April 8th. And the popular Social Media Marketing workshop with KRose Marketing is back on April 13th.

9) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls is offering a limited number of free registrations to local community leaders and downtown businesses for the virtual National Main Street Now 2021conference April 12-14. Contact Joan Redeen at or 406-727-5430. Registrants will be able to watch sessions live or later at their convenience.

10) Connected an agri-processing company to discuss gap financing options for a planned expansion. Met with two new businesses opening in downtown Great Falls and uncovered potential resources to help them. Answered questions to help a 10th Avenue South property owner in their goal of redeveloping their property. Discussed resource options with an entrepreneur working on two major recreation facilities. Fielded numerous phone calls with other business owners routing them to the right people to meet their needs. This is a bit of what we do for business development. Call us to help move your project forward, Jolene 406.750.4481.

11) GFDA’s Executive Committee approved commissioning a Great Falls housing market analysis to identify development opportunities for new homeownership and rental housing production. We’re undertaking this time-sensitive effort in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls and the Great Falls Association of REALTORS®. If you would like to partner with us as we put together the RFP, contact Brett at

12) Our Executive Committee also held a special meeting to discuss potential uses of American Rescue Plan funds to propose to local and state leaders to help our economy recover and grow. GFDA’s Board will hold weekly informal discussions beginning Friday, March 26 at 11:00 AM.

13) Special thanks to veteran-owned businesses Electric City Coffee and Mountain Wave Distilling for speaking at our first Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship workshop of 2021. Ten potential entrepreneurs transitioning out of service at Malmstrom Air Force Base got access to Thad and Heidi Reiste and Jeff Miser’s insight in starting businesses. If you’re a veteran who owns a business, transitioning service members considering entrepreneurship would love to hear from you. Contact Jason at to get on our guest speaking agenda for our next B2B on May 14th.

14) The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council voted this week to allow the opening of the east entrances to Glacier National Park. The move will allow for a somewhat normal tourist season. It is welcome news for tourism related businesses in Glacier County and beyond.  See story in the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

15) Join us for Development Coffee on Friday, April 2nd at 7:00 AM to discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. This month’s development coffee will take place via Zoom. For login details, please register.

16) 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.

17) Join the Montana Department of Labor and Industry next Wednesday March 24th at 12:00 PM for an Employer Town Hall with the theme Engaging Young Montanans: Understanding Montana’s Youth Employment Laws. If you’re an employer concerned about hiring young people for apprenticeships or internships due to working laws and other age-related issues, this town hall will provide guidance.

18) The Montana Chamber of Commerce released its Skills Gap Survey Results. 85% of the business respondents reported attempting to grow their Montana workforce in 2020. 64% are having difficulty filling both entry and mid-level positions. 36% have turned down business opportunities due to workforce challenges.

19) Check out these upcoming trainings from our partners. Google Page Experience Workshop March 25th at 9 AM and 2 PM with our partners at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

20) The Montana World Trade Center is hosting a Montana-Ireland Virtual Trade Forum this Wednesday, March 24, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, in partnership with the Montana High Tech Business Alliance and the Montana BioScience Cluster Initiative.

21) We submitted an application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury for its Rapid Response Program. We are in the midst of an effort to rapidly grow our loan capital base so that we can continue to provide gap and bridge financing throughout the Golden Triangle.

22) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
We provide gap and bridge financing to entrepreneurs, businesses, real estate developers, and non-profits in the Great Falls trade area, Montana’s 13-county Golden Triangle region. We fill gaps that banks and credit unions cannot fill and provide bridge loans for things they can’t finance. This makes things happen that otherwise would not, which is our guiding principle. To date, we’ve made $40.6 million in loans that have leveraged over $200 million in private investment in our region. We’ve financed business startups and expansions, business attractions, community service facilities, historic and brownfield redevelopment, and housing production. Loans have ranged from $2,992 to $4 million packages. Our cumulative capital loss over the last 25 years is only 1%. We’ve recently issued loan commitments amounting to $2,377,260 and have another $5+ million in loans in underwriting.

23) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Loenbro for your Advance Division investment, BNSF Railway Company and KDS Networks for your Legacy Division investments, TD&H Engineering for your Pacesetter Division investment, Cascade Electric for your Community Division investment, and Anderson Family Pharmacy and Scott, Tokerud, and McCarty, P.C. for your Supporter Division investments. Keep in touch with us and share your concerns, thoughts and ideas. We want to hear from you. We consider ourselves stewards of your investment. Your investment drives the direction of the region, and your voice keeps us on target. See our list of Investors throughout the region on our website. To discuss investment, email Teresa at or call 406.781.9499.

24) I was able to participate in parts of the annual Leadership Summit of the International Economic Development Council this week and plan to find time to watch sessions that I missed. We’re always trying to learn new economic development strategies from colleagues around the world that we can put to work here at home.

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.

“Attitude is everything.”
Diane von Furstenberg

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 485

GFDA has an excellent career opportunity. We are looking to expand our lending team with either a Business Development Officer, a Commercial Credit Analyst, or a Loan Officer. Download pdf describing the openings in more detail. 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

March SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.043%; 20-year at 2.995%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.038%; 25-year refinance 3.084%. 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

USDA announced that it is making an additional $35 million available this year in the Value-Added Producer Grant Program to support agricultural producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $76 million is available. USDA extended the application deadline to May 4. Read the full announcement here. Contact Lea McGiboney for help at 406-770-4291 or

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.

The Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine has been released. If you’d like some print versions of this awesome talent attraction tool, contact Talent Attraction Director Soren at or (406) 836-0147. 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.

Registration has opened for the 2021 Montana Housing Partnership Virtual Conference, May 18-19. The event will feature more than 20 sessions, including a great one about our Great Falls housing production partnering.

The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service launched a COVID-19 Business Tax Relief tool too help businesses determine if they are eligible for tax relief. There are a number of business tax relief options currently available. Your business may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). We strongly recommend that you work with a local CPA or tax adviser to investigate this new opportunity which is retroactive to 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021. It is possible your company could qualify for up to $14,000 per employee.

Trisha Gardner, CCHD Health Officer, presented a Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce webinar talking about workplace protocols with employees who have either been exposed, contact traced, waiting for results, and/or tested positive. Click here for the presentation and question and answer afterward.

USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements (REAP RES/EEI), with an application deadline of March 31. REAP funds agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems for their operations. Grant funding is available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs with a maximum of $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Guaranteed loan funding is also available in conjunction with grant funding.

Attention Small Businesses! Sign up Today!- Virtual Capability Briefings with U.S. Army Corps are available…This is a great chance to get a virtual one-on-one meeting to market your business to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. See official announcement. If you would like information on how our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) can help you with other government contracting opportunities, contact Shannon Clancy at

If your supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 or if you are researching new product lines, you may be facing challenges sourcing certain items. The MEP National Network is leading a new effort to offer Supplier Scouting, a formal process to connect U.S. companies to domestic manufacturers that can meet specific supply chain needs. The program leverages the knowledge and connections of MEP manufacturing experts in every state. Contact MMEC’s adviser for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts at or 1-937-489-3985.

See calendar of upcoming MMEC online training.

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts has been rescheduled for September 17-18. Exhibitor registration will open in early May 2021 and wholesale buyer registration will open in early July 2021. Made in Montana members are encouraged to verify their membership status and information in the online directory at to be sure it is accurate and up to date.

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.

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Great Falls Public Schools partnered to create a Military Welcome to Great Falls videofor military service members and their families.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership now exceeds 500 member companies offering over 235,000 online job listings. Employers, check out how you can gain access to fantastic employees!

If you missed the Invest Downtown Great Falls event, visit 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,

Montana’s Incumbent Worker Training program just became easier to use. Employers can view the videos at their convenience to learn how to use these grants to fund skills-based training of existing employees. These grants area available to for-profit and non-profit employers with less than 50 employees in the state. We can help you with these if you run into a snag. Or contact the IWT program manager,

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.

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.

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

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.