Top 10 – 4/4/2021

We’ve been busy working on almost 200 active client projects and pursuing targets to invest in the region, but we’ve also been looking at the future. In addition to the housing development market analysis we announced last week, we’re going to be pursuing a range of market assessments to answer what’s next? Watch for details soon.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 10 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) Great Falls was named a Great American Defense Community by the Association of Defense Communities, recognizing the support our community and region provide to Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard!

2) Did you know buying a building is often more cost effective than leasing? Our High Plains Financial Board approved a $500,000+ SBA 504 loan for a Great Falls business owner that is doing just that. After years of leasing the entrepreneur decided that it was time to purchase. This will allow them to not only reduce the amount they will be paying monthly, but they will also be able to increase their owner equity. If your commercial space is not keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

3) Submitted a proposal to a major site selection consultant in collaboration with GTF. We periodically receive requests for information (RFIs) from site selectors and others. So far in 2021 we’ve received more RFIs than normal. All RFIs take a team effort. Thank you to the many partners we reach out to for information to make our proposals as complete and competitive as possible.

4) This week’s announcement of the week was the first Independence Bank branch opening in Great Falls! Check out the video announcement here – and help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to do business! If you need assistance moving your project forward, call Jolene at (406) 750-4481.

5) The Sip ‘N Dip was named one of the five most extraordinary bars in the world by Artful Living! See KRTV. Vision Net launched a new website with more content and a better client-focused interface. Demolition started to make way for the new Starbucks on 3rd Street NW on the west side of Great Falls.

6) The SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) application will open April 8th. SBA hosted a webinar on with details about applying that you can listen to here. Ahead of time, review the application checklist and eligibility. You will need to be registered in 8AM to apply. While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application hasn’t come out yet, businesses will may need to be registered in SAM and DUNS to apply. If you need help with SAM registration 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.

7) Join us in welcoming the future CEO/Dean of Great Falls College MSU, Stephanie Erdmann!

8) Businesses fail for a wide variety of reasons. The ability to avoid, mitigate, assume, transfer, or finance risk enables a business to deal with many of the reasons businesses fail, including the opportunity cost of an insufficient labor force. Risk management was the topic of our April Small Business Webinar Series presentation with Dena Johnson of PayneWest Insurance. Nineteen entrepreneurs from around the state participated live. To gain insight on how to plan for risk, click here to watch the recording. To discuss how risk fits into a company’s strategic plan, contact Jason at

9) Rustin Lippincott started as our newest Business Development Officer. Welcome Rustin! We updated our Menu of Services & Staff Team flyer. One of our long-time clients was in town this week to sign a purchase agreement to expand into a new facility they plan to construct in Great Falls.

10) 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. 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. Ever considered selling goods or services to the government? Learn how in our Government Contracting 101 workshop on April 21st. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7.

11) Our Live in Great Falls talent attraction video has reached over 32,000 people on Facebook. 68% of viewers came from Montana, Washington, and California and the rest came from across the US. The video follows the story of 3 families or individuals that relocated to Great Falls and how awesome their lives are here! Watch now on YouTube.

12) Public Service Announcement from GSA, Federal Acquisition Service to Businesses registered in SAM: The expiration date for entity registrations due for renewal between April 1 and September 30, 2021 will have an additional 180 days added to its expiration date to allow businesses extra time because of the new SAM merger. FYI…The extension does not waive a company’s responsibility to keep their company information in SAM current and accurate. This is especially important if they are depending on their electronic SAM Representations and Certifications as part of their response on a Federal solicitation. They will be considered to be non-responsive to a solicitation if they have not updated their certifications to the new/current regulations that were not in SAM when the company last registered or renewed their SAM registration. Prior to bidding on an opportunity, update your SAM registration! If you have questions or would like more information, contact Shannon Clancy at

13) Please subscribe to our YouTube channels – both Great Falls Development Authority and Live in Great Falls Montana. If each account gets 100 subscribers, we’ll be able to get our own customs URL. (We are currently 79 and 95 subscribers away, respectively.) Just click on the links above and click “Subscribe”. It makes a huge difference for our marketing efforts; we would go from our channel being – much better!!

14) 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.

15) We continued to move projects along in Downtown Great Falls this week. We were able to connect a Downtown primary sector business with our Talent Attraction Director to assist in their expansion and we connected a developer from outside of our market with contacts in Great Falls for a possible project in Downtown. Also, be on the lookout for a major announcement Tuesday, April 6th at 4PM about a new Downtown project! If you’re interested in pursuing a project in Downtown Great Falls, call Christian 406.836.0136 or

16) Check out these upcoming training from our partners. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp starting April 6. The Montana AgTech Showcase on April 12th with our partners at Accelerate Montana.

17) Our Economic Development Feature of the Week
Last year we started producing videos to tell the stories about great businesses throughout the Golden Triangle. Now we’ve commissioned a series of professional videos to use in business attraction and talent attraction. Telling compelling stories about entrepreneurial successes here is one of the best marketing tools we can employ to attract future entrepreneurs, businesses to expand into our region, and developers to build quality projects here.

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, LoenbroTransystems, LLC, and U.S. Bank for their Advance Division investments, M&D ConstructionOpportunity Bank, and PayneWest Insurance for their Pacesetter Division investments, Cappis Consulting and Tax for your Community Division investment, and City Bar for your Supporter Division investment. We could not do what we do without your continued support. Thank you for your time and commitment to growth, high wage jobs, and economic equity. See the complete list of Investors in Economic Development here. If you would like to discuss investment and learn more about how we pool, match, and leverage investor dollars, call Teresa at 406.781.9499.

Happy Easter!
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.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”

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 487

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!

GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. 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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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,

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

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.