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) Five Guys has applied for a building permit to open a restaurant in Great Falls; see The Electric. The Cascade County Commission approved the stormwater permit for the Milwaukee Station downtown riverfront development; see The Electric.
2) When you render auto cad drawings, cloud compute, play video games, watch streaming movies, and so much more – you need high speed computers working in the background. Many times those computers are in other states. This week we worked with a prospect that wants to do that here, hosting a great visit to Great Falls. Our job is to connect them with the right partners and resources to make it happen! Curious about what we do to attract businesses to the Golden Triangle, call Jolene 406.750.4481.
3) The Great Falls Business Improvement District won an $84,184 tourism grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to fund construction of the Great Falls Wayfinding Plan; see The Electric. GFDA is providing a $1,000 grant match. The Glacier County Historical Society won $31,400 to re-create the historic local Point Drive-in diner. The Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce won $16,570 to upgrade its visitor center. Havre Beneath the Streets won $9,405 to develop a website. The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce won $6,000 to create a safe use Missouri River map for the City of Great Falls.The City of Shelby won $4,500 for a new welcome sign.
4) Experiencing workforce challenges? Curious to know what tools and resources are available to bolster your existing workforce attraction, development, and retention strategies? Introducing the Workforce Webinar Series: Connecting Employers to Vital Resources Addressing Workforce Challenges. Check out the video announcement, and head over to GrowGreatFallsMontana.org/Workforce to learn more and register.
5) Gateway Community Services and the Center for Mental Healthannounced a new partnership to provide integrated primary care, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services; see Great Falls Tribune.
6) Registration for the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) opened April 30th. The application portal opens this Monday May 3rd. We hosted two trainings with 50 attendees in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Montana District Office and 25 statewide partners. To watch a recording, click here. We have two more trainings on The Restaurant Revitalization Fund on May 4th and May 6th. Contact Nathan with questions about eligibility for the RRF at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org. Food trucks and caterers are eligible. Maybe your business is?
7) Quote from a prospect this week, “This is such a progressive, vibrant community!” We hear this frequently from people looking to bring businesses here.
8) 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 catch-all workshop for budding entrepreneurs is back on May 4. Our popular Quickbooks class is back with two session options; Browning, MT April 27 & 28, and Great Falls May 6 & 7. The topic of May’s monthly webinar is Generations in the Workforce on May 6. And dive into Email Marketing and Facebook ads with our popular KRose Marketing workshop.
9) Congratulations to the newly pinned and graduated class of Dental Hygienists from Great Falls College MSU! The College is partnering with the University of Montana to offer a 2+2 program to earn an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in social work.
10) GFDA has been accepted into membership in the Angel Capital Association, part of our efforts to bring more equity capital to support entrepreneurs, existing businesses and real estate projects in our region.
11) Eighteen building permits were pulled in Downtown Great Falls last quarter totaling $2.1 million. One new business opened, creating 12 jobs. Downtown volunteers donated 5,789 hours. We had many projects continue to move forward this week in Downtown Great Falls and a prospect visit as well! The prospect was very impressed with the momentum that Downtown Great Falls has and even commented on positivity of the catalyst projects in the works. If you have a project that you want to pursue Downtown, call Christian at 406.836.0136 to discuss how we can help make it happen.
12) The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is now open to all eligible applicants. You can apply here. If you have questions about the program, who is eligible, or what you need to apply, contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.
13) We commissioned updates to the Great Falls, Montana Wikipedia page and so far have updated the Introduction section and added a Recreation section. We will continue these updates to other sections on a rolling basis. Wikipedia is the first page that pops up when users Google “Great Falls Montana” – these are individuals considering relocation and businesses looking at expansions. It needs to be great!
14) Met with NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe and Rick Edwards who leads NorthWestern’s Economic Development efforts across the state. We are continually impressed with their work to grow Montana’s economy and their support of our efforts.
15) Check out these upcoming training from our partners: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is hosting a Trademark Basics Bootcamp. The Prospera Business Network in partnership with One Valley Community Foundation is hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering Internal Quality Auditor Training ISO 9001 in Great Falls May 12-14 and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual for Human Food in Bozeman May 25-27.
16) We spoke on two MSU panels regarding the future of food and energy security. The audience was MSU faculty and these panels are part of their research into the Grand Challenges at MSU. Brett spoke on Monday regarding Food and Jolene spoke on Wednesday regarding Energy. Both see great opportunities for Montana to be a leader in both global food and energy security!
17) The Great Falls Development Authority is proud to be one of eight Montana Food and Ag Development Centers. Every two years we apply to continue in this role. This week we submitted our application. In the past four years of grant funding, projects we’ve worked on have made $97,056,571 in capital investments across the Golden Triangle. We’ve provided 348 hours of direct technical assistance and over 40 trainings per year to approximately 400 participants. We’re excited to see what the next two years hold!
18) GFDA has two great career opportunities. Investment Director (Fundraising). And, we’re expanding 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. GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!
19) We are seeking an innovative leader to lead the new Women’s Business Center coming to the Missoula, Great Falls, and Fort Belknap areas later this year. Our partnership with MonTEC, affiliated with the University of Montana, and the Montana Native Growth Fund was awarded one of 20 new centers nationwide in January. And the role of Program Manager is still yet to be filled. Check out the job description, compensation and benefits, and qualification requirements here. Jason is on the Advisory Board bringing this new SBA Resource Partner program to our region. Reach out with questions at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Held a great kick-off Zoom for the Great Falls childcare market assessment we have commissioned. It was an exciting week with progress on a number of fronts. Positive momentum!
President & CEO
“A great accomplishment shouldn’t be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward.”
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.
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
April SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.073%; 20-year at 3.016%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.684%; and, 20-year refinance 3.114%; 25-year refinance 3.058%. 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.
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 NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.
The Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program provides rent and utility assistance to Montanans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Landlords can apply on behalf of renters with the renter’s co-signature and other documentation.
Beginning July 1, the City of Great Falls will be accepting small works roster applications from contractors and vendors for several categories of work. The purpose of the roster is to reduce the time it takes city departments to complete repairs and projects, up to $25,000, to reduce administrative and operating costs by using a list of prequalified and approved vendors who can be contracted immediately, and to be more efficient for contractors and vendors in that they will be required to provide insurance and other documentation on a yearly, rather than per project, basis. Service categories include, but are not limited to, acoustical tile, audio/visual, boilers, carpet/flooring, chemicals, concrete, drywall, electrical, excavation, fencing, fire equipment, fire sprinkler systems, general contracting, hazardous waste removal, HVAC/mechanical, insulation, irrigation/landscaping, lumber and supplies, overhead doors, painting, paving/seal coating & striping, pest control, plumbing, recreation equipment, roofing, sprinkler systems, telecommunications, tree/stump removal, vehicle supplies, water testing and window cleaning. Contractors and vendors are encouraged to submit the completed application and supporting documentation via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact City for more info and all the requirements.
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.
The Montana Young Professional Summit will be held June 9-10 in Sydney. Montana Young Professional provides career development, networking, and community engagement opportunities aimed at professionals aged 21-39.
The Made in Montana program requires annual membership renewal. Email email@example.com 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 Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and follow the Great Falls Development Authority to help us attract entrepreneurs and business investment on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.