Top 10 – 5/9/2021

There is nothing we love more than local serial entrepreneurs! Congratulations and THANK YOU to this great team of entrepreneurs who are launching The Newberry downtown events center: Seth Swingley, Tim Peterson, Keith Schneider, Scott Reasoner and Andy Ferrin!!

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) We submitted a response to a site selector’s Request for Information for a $500 million manufacturing expansion. Working with partners, we were able to provide enough information to meet the initial requirements. If we are selected to move forward we will learn more about the company and work with additional partners to evaluate this potential opportunity for our community.

2) We are excited to work with Scott Osterman, Montana’s new Director of the Department of Commerce. Director Osterman is building a stronger business attraction effort for Montana. Each month we meet virtually with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and now the Director of the Department of Commerce. This collaboration helps promote all of our locations and ensures that the Governor’s Office and others think of the Golden Triangle when there are opportunities.

3) We made a $50,000 COVID Business Stabilization and Recovery Loan to Severson Productions. We created these special loans last spring to help previously profitable local businesses that were hit hard by the pandemic. Does your business need a working capital boost to deal with the effects of COVID? Needs that your bank, credit union, or government support programs can’t fill? We’re here to help. Call Jolene to discuss, 406.750.4481.

4) Country Table Restaurant offering “simply southern food” opened in Downtown Great Falls; see KRTV. The Great Falls City Commission approved tax increment financing support for The Newberry events center that is under construction downtown. The Commission and City staff confirmed that the changes in the works to the downtown urban renewal TIF district for the proposed new downtown TIF programs will also enable greater support on a case-by-case basis for larger catalytic downtown projects such as The Newberry. The updated Downtown Great Falls website went live. Thank you to the City for supporting this with TIF funds!

5) We continue to hear from employers that hiring and retaining employees is one of their biggest challenges. In response, we created an ongoing series of webinars focused on connecting employers with local resources designed to help attract, develop, and retain their workforce. Head over to GrowGreatFallsMontana.org/Workforce to learn more and register for the remainder of the series!

6) The average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased 4.6% in 2020 according to preliminary data released this week by Chmura Economics’ JobsEQ system. The average local annual wage grew by $1,938 to reach $44,167. The Growth in the Golden Triangle was 5.1%.

7) AgroLink secured a $20,000 Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to help to hire and train new employees at its pulse crop processing facility on the Blackfeet Reservation west of Cut Bank.

8) This week we hosted a QuickBooks workshop, our Small Business Webinar Series’ May session, the final installment of our quarterly Website Boot Camp, and two Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) webinars totaling 51 attendees. Our four-part RRF series was the only RRF training in Montana. In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and more than 20 partner organizations statewide, we trained 80 restauranteurs seeking access to these limited funds. Click here for the recording of the May 6th RRF webinarClick here for the recording of the Generations in the Workforce webinar in partnership with MSU-Extension.

9) Are you a food truck, caterer, snack bar, or other entity who’s main purpose is to sell food or drink? If you incurred a loss in gross revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 you could be eligible for Restaurant Revitalization Funds. You can apply here. To help you apply, the SBA has set up a call line to answer questions at 844-279-8898, a searchable FAQ, and application screenshots to help. For more help, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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. Dive into Email Marketing and Facebook ads with our popular workshop with KRose Marketing on May 11. Boots to Business: Reboot, our pre-business workshop for military personnel interested in entrepreneurship is back on May 14. Take control of your business’s finances, increase profit, and improve your bottom line in our two-day Profit Mastery workshop May 17 & 24.

11) Are you eligible to apply for a PPP loan but haven’t yet? There are still locations in Montana that can process them. Contact Embark Credit Union of Great Falls by emailing info@embarkcu.com and put attention to Erin Townsend or you can apply online with MoFi. If you have questions about eligibility, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org. Final deadline is May 31st so act now!

12) Exhibitor applications for the 2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow will start being accepted at 9 AM on Wednesday, May 19. The online application will be available on the Tradeshow webpage. The show will take place September 10 and 11, 2021 at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena. Only active members will be considered for the Tradeshow. Check to see if your membership is up to date by searching your business in the Product Directory. If you can’t find your listing, send an email to madeinmontana@mt.govwith your business name. Save the date for the 2022 Made in Montana Tradeshow — March 11-12, 2022 in Helena.

13) Are you looking to convert post-pandemic consumers to purchasers? Jon Shallert, a nationally known speaker who created the Destination Creation course, is offering a free training “The Post Pandemic Comeback” this Friday, May 14th at 10 AM. If you can’t make it, you will get the recording if you register. If you are interested in taking the full Destination Creation Course you can email Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org to reserve a spot in the next session we offer.

14) Check out these upcoming trainings 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 are hosting a workshop entitled Power Up Your Nonprofit: Create your Business, Financial, Fundraising & Marketing Plan starting June 3.

15) A few promising tourism stats were released this week by Destination Analysts, courtesy of the Montana Department of Commerce. Nearly 7-in-10 American travelers have or plan to get vaccinated. 51.5% of American travelers report now being fully vaccinated. Nearly 90% of these vaccinated travelers are now comfortable with the idea of traveling. Now 73.5% of American travelers say they have high levels of excitement about travel this year, up from 65.0% last week. 76.5% expect to travel in the next 3 months. About 87% of American travelers expect to be taking trips this summer. The top 3 most common desires for travel this year: Chill-out/Decompress, Experience Beautiful Places, Do New Things/Visit New Places.

16) 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!

17) We submitted an application to the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury seeking $400,000 in grant funds matched by $400,000 from our amazing GFDA Investorsand $500,000 in a loan matched by a $500,000 loan commitment from the Montana Board of Investments. These funds would be used to help expand our loan capital base so we can continue to provide bridge and gap financing to make things happen in the Golden Triangle that otherwise would not.

18) We committed $1,000 of our investor funds to provide the first seed money to the Montana ExpoPark for All committee that has formed to inform Cascade County voters about proposed improvements to Montana ExpoPark.

19) GFDA’s Board discussed priorities for our new fiscal year that begins on July 1st. Addressing employer workforce needs through talent attraction, housing production, employer training and support, and seeking continued private investment to make Great Falls more and more competitive will be a key focus of our work.

We’ll share more information on exciting construction starts this week. One by one we’re getting more projects off the shelf and into construction!

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.

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

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 492


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

May SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.933%; 20-year at 2.845%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.612%; and, 20-year refinance 2.887%; 25-year refinance 2.974%. 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 Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. 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 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: smallworksroster@greatfallsmt.net. 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.

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.

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, 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.

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.