Top 10 – 3/7/2021

Two local retailers planning for growth participated in a private session of our cash flow and profitability workshop, Profit Mastery. “No matter how long you’ve been open or how big your company is, you will learn something valuable from this course,” John Chapman, owner of Tacticality Workwear in Great Falls. Contact Jason to learn more about scheduling a workshop, JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 19 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) Is Great Falls positioned to take advantage of the emerging post-pandemic remote workforce? More and more remote workers are looking for places to set up and spread out, and we want to make Great Falls that place. Join us for an online brainstorming workshop, Making Great Falls A Remote Ready City, on Friday, March 19th at 10:00 AM.

2) This week’s announcement of the week is the expansion of Jeremiah Johnson Brewing Company’s production. Check out the video announcement 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.

3) A new resource for Montana employers will launch on March 17. Workforce Connections Across Montana is the official launch of the new Workforce Connections website, created through a collaborative effort between the Montana Department of Labor and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce. The website connects today’s employers with tomorrow’s workforce. This event on March 17th at Noon will include panel members from business, education and government and features Gov. Greg Gianforte as the keynote speaker. Register here.

4) Did you know that our Great Falls regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center isn’t just for SAM assistance, but so much more? This week we worked with a new woman-owned business to evaluate their potential for government contracting and set-aside certifications. Give us a call or send us an email so we can help look at diversifying your company’s potential expansion into government contracting. Contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) In case you missed it – the Great Falls Livability 2021 digital workforce recruitment magazine was released last week. 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.

6) Follow Live in Great Falls on Instagram and Facebook! We’re growing these social media platforms every day – give us a follow and share with your friends. Help us attract talent to Great Falls!

7) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings: The LaunchPoint, our one-hour workshop designed to answer entrepreneur’s burning questions before they open their doors on March 9th. Boots to Business, our pre-business workshop for transition military personnel and veterans starts March 18th. Spots are still open for free one-on-one consultations with retail/restaurant/event business guru Barbara Wold.

8) This week we approved three brownfield assessments for potential redevelopment projects. Do you have a project or property that is being inhabited by the presence or potential presence of contamination? Contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253 for information on how to get your project moving forward.

9) Black Heart Coffee opened in Great Falls; see KRTV.

10) Do you have a food, ag, or renewable energy business or business idea? We want to hear about it! We are part of a network of Food and Ag Development Centers across the state. The goal is to help Montanans innovate and grow businesses that produce and commercialize food, agricultural and renewable energy products and processes, creating wealth and jobs in our communities and on our farms and ranches. We are one of the these centers here to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and innovate. Connect with Jolene Schalper, JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) On Friday the SBA released additional information on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, including updated FAQ’s, eligibility requirements document, preliminary application checklist and additional video tutorials for live venue operators or promoters, talent representatives and museum operators. All SVOG program information can be found on the SBA website at Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (sba.gov). Contact our COVID business specialist Nathan Reiff for help accessing any recovery programs; NREiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

12) The GFDA Board of Directors approved our Business Development Plan and Operations Plan for 2021. The Board also discussed a series of target industry, housing, and workforce market assessments that we will seek to commission this year to identify new opportunities to strengthen and grow our regional economy. We just need to find partners and money…

13) 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.

14) Our target outreach for Downtown Great Falls is working! We’ve received call backs from targeted leads and have some promising meetings and site visits planned in the next few weeks. Also, be on the lookout for more Downtown business announcements coming soon. Have you been thinking about expanding your business into Downtown Great Falls or interested in residential development? Call Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org to discuss opportunities in Downtown.

15) Check out this upcoming training from our partners at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce: Google Page Experience Workshop, March 25th at 9 AM and 2 PM. Do you want to stay relevant and visible in the online world? Google is launching an algorithmic Page Experience update in late spring, and it’s going to be a pretty significant impact on everyone!

16) Several long awaited projects are moving forward! We’re here to help you access tools and resources; advocate for your project; partner with your bank to fill gaps in financing; promote your project; aid in talent attraction; and navigate each stage of your business. Call Nathan to talk about your project, 1.406.403.4937, NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) 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!

18) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week

Business retention and expansion is at the core of our economic development strategy. Reaching out to existing businesses throughout Great Falls and the Golden Triangle, learning about their opportunities and challenges, and helping them to prosper and grow leads to capital investment, job creation and products/services sought after by residents. Taking care of your existing customers (in our case existing businesses) is also the best way to attract customers (startup entrepreneurs, spin-off businesses and companies expanding into our region.

19) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Guy Tabacco Construction and LPW Architecture for your Leadership Division investments, and Northern Directory Publishing and The Wendt Agency for your Community Division investments. Your dollars determine how we meet the constantly-evolving needs of businesses, real estate developers, and entrepreneurs. If you have questions about investment and would like to learn more, contact Teresa at (406) 781-9499 or Teresa.

Kiplinger projects U.S. GDP will grow 6.2% in 2021. With the prime interest rate at 3.25% — and projected to stay there for the next year — it’s a great time to expand!

Have a great week,

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.

“I’m always asked, ‘What’s the secret to success?’ But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.”
Dwayne Johnson

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 483


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

February SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.752%; 20-year at 2.714%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.438%; and, 20-year refinance 2.794%; 25-year refinance 2.757%. 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.


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.

We are looking for a local writer to do a freelance project. The writer should have familiarity with Great Falls and the surrounding region, including history, demographics, economy, and culture. Please reach out to Talent Attraction Director Soren Chargois Ebbasi at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 836-0147 if you are interested or would like to suggest a writer.

The University of Montana is accepting applications for a program manager to lead its new SBA-funded Women’s Business Center (WBC). The program manager will be based in Missoula to lead a team of three business advisors serving the Missoula area, Golden Triangle, and Fort Belknap Reservation. GFDA and the Fort Belknap Reservation are partnering on this effort to bring more resources for female entrepreneurs to the state. The application deadline is March 10. Apply online via Submittable.

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 SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 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, 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, CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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.

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 LiveInGreatFalls.com 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 Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. Help us recruit talent to our region! Be sure to follow Live in Great Falls on Instagram and Facebook. 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 SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great Falls Tourism has a host of resources available to help local businesses deal with the pandemic. Check out the resources at https://visitgreatfallsmontana.org/COVID-19/. 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.

USDA announced the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the United States. The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. The final rule is available for viewing in the Federal Register and will be effective on March 22, 2021. More information about the provisions of the final rule is available on the Hemp Production web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service website.

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 Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. 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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 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.