Top 10 – 3/28/2021

Our first talent attraction video is LIVE – watch it on YouTube now! “Like” the video and “Subscribe” to the Live in Great Falls channel. If 100 users subscribe, we will be able to get our own custom channel URL. The video reached over 11,000 users on Facebook alone in the first 24 hours!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 26 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) The McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Studiesannounced that Dr. Renee Pera of Cal Poly will become its new Director with plans to expand neurogenetic research in Great Falls. See Great Falls Tribune.

2) Hosted a visiting Site Selector that was a result of our Downtown Business Attraction efforts. We provided data from our JobsEQ system, discussed possible sites for a potential project in Great Falls and helped them connect with the right people for those sites. Met virtually with senior executives of a primary sector target discussing potential in our market. Continued work with a local primary sector business on a large proposed expansion. Started work on a response to an international site selector request for information. Discussed rail projects with visiting BNSF executives.

3) Montana ranks Number 1 in the nation to start a small business, according to the Motley Fool’s Blueprint! See KFBB.

4) The Tribune ran a great story about the education degree partnership between Great Falls College MSU and Northern University that allows students to earn a teaching degree without leaving Great Falls. Virtually meet the two finalists to become the new CEO/Dean of Great Falls College MSU this Monday and Tuesday, March 29-30, and voice your opinion. Times and login info here.

5) Lots of upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: Looking to increase sales and develop repeat customers? Sign up for a free one-on-one consultation 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 1st. The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop for budding entrepreneurs, is on April 8th. The popular Social Media Marketing workshop with KRose is back on April 13th. Need a website with e-commerce capabilities? Join us for our Website Bootcamp series starting April 20th. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7.

6) The City of Great Falls, in collaboration with the Downtown Development Partnership, won a $12,500 Montana Main Street grant to help install signs and kiosks that are part of the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan. The City of Havre won a $20,000 grant to complete a downtown master plan.

7) Do you need additional working capital? The SBA made changes to two of their working capital loan programs. The second round of PPP loans deadline has been extended to May 31st. The SBA also increased the EIDL loan limit to the lesser of 24 months of working capital or $500,000. If you have questions about either of these loans, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program will provide rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords will be able to apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.

9) Joined the Cascade Farmer’s Union tour of IND Hemp in Fort Benton. IND Hemp processes hemp grains and is expanding to fiber processing this summer. This is another great rotation crop for Golden Triangle farmers. For more information, visit IND Hemp.

10) The Downtown Development Partnership voted in favor of a TIF request for a catalyst project that will be coming soon to our core Downtown. Read more about this on The Electric. If you’re interested in applying for a TIF request and you are not sure where to start, call Christian at 406.836.0136.

11) Kaboom is planning on opening in April in Great Falls. It will include an arcade, laser tag, inflatable obstacle course, ninja park, and skee-ball. You can read articles about it on The Electric and on KRTV or check for updates on their Facebook Page. Dr. Heather Moore is returning home to Great Falls to open Homegrown Dental in May. Daydream Boutique is opening a new retail space in Great Falls. We love The Electric’s Business Bites!

12) 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.org or (406) 750-0314.

13) 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 SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 590-1184. If you have questions about COVID recovery programs contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 403-4937.

14) GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

15) The Montana Department of Commerce opened applications for the new Tribal Digital Tourism Business Development Grant. The pilot program will award up to $6,250 to help tourism-related entrepreneurs with digital assets to reach potential customers and convert them into sales. The application cycle is open through April 30. KRTV featured one of our loan clients, Native Life in Browning, that is excited about the east side of Glacier National Park re-opening.

16) The Great Falls Area Chamber’s Ag Committee celebrated Ag Week with new videos featuring six local food and ag businesses. Check out the videos at https://www.greatfallschamber.org/agriculture/ or on Facebook.

17) KRTV featured GFDA investor Spark Architecture. Owner Sophia Sparklin recently reorganized her firm into a public benefit corporation. Spark Architecture was also featured as one of our success stories in 2020.

18) We issued an RFP seeking an industrial broker to list the Great Falls AgriTech Park to help us generate new leads for manufacturing and distribution companies that would build new facilities in our market.

19) Check out this upcoming training from our partners: The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

20) Participated in the virtual Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Center’s Spring 2021 Training Conference to learn the latest in government contracting, including legal and regulatory federal updates, cybersecurity compliance, and set-aside certifications affecting small businesses. This gives us an opportunity to gain valuable information and training for our PTAC clients to make them be more successful in government contracting.

21) Thank you to investor University of Providence for letting us know about the awesome app Handshake, which will make our internship job postings available to thousands of additional college students. Handshake is the “LinkedIn for college students and recent grads” – a great resources for finding candidates to fill your open positions.

22) 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. If you have not received Zoom login information, contact Investment Director Teresa Schreiner to be added to our Development Coffee Distribution list.

23) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week

Through the affiliate we created and staff, High Plains Financial, we offer SBA 504 loans statewide. These loans help businesses to start and grow because they finance real property and long-term equipment with low-interest fixed-rate loans for up to 25 years and with equity as low as 10%. This helps businesses preserve their operating cash, allowing them to more quickly start and expand. We act as an agent for SBA in partnership with banks and credit unions which take first position.

24) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, First Interstate BankGreat Falls Clinic, and U.S. Bankfor their Advance Division Investments, and Mitchell Development and Investments and The Wendt Agency for their Community Division investments. Your investments continue to drive growth and high wage opportunities for our regional economy. Thank you for making things happen! You can see the list of GFDA Investors here. To learn more about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406-781-9499.

25) GFDA is proud to welcome its new GFDA Board members, Wayne Gillis, CEO from the Great Falls Clinic, and Dani Grebe, Principal Architect, AIA, from LPW Architecture. We appreciate your willingness to contribute time, expertise and new ideas to our strategic plan as we push for growth, high wage jobs, and diversification.

26) We hosted another brainstorming session about how best to put American Rescue Plan funds to work to strengthen our regional economy and help businesses and residents recover. I was able to participate in a great half-day roundtable with leaders of the International Economic Development Council. We signed a 4-month social media marketing contract with Development Counsellors International to expand our talent attraction efforts to recruit workforce to relocate to Great Falls.

Let’s keep the momentum growing!

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.

“Power is the ability to get things done.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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 486


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 pdfdescribing the openings in more detail. Please help us spread the word!

Here is our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout.

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 JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or Teresa@GrowGreatFalls.org. Here is a current list of our great investors.


The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email madeinmontana@mt.gov 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.

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.

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 lea.mcgiboney@usda.gov.

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 Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147. Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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.

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 richard.roberts4@montana.edu 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 madeinmontanausa.com 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 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!

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, michelle.robinson@mt.gov.

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 SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/.

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 richard.roberts4@montana.edu 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.