Top 10 – 8/30/2020

As many schools reopened last week throughout the Golden Triangle for the first time since March, this is what school attendance looks like now. Masks, limited interaction for the kiddos, and modified lunch and recess schedules. Logan Nitschke, above with dad Jason, started her first day of first grade at Chief Joseph Elementary in Great Falls. Stay safe and help us control the spread of COVID-19.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle.

1) The ribbon was cut on the new Longfellow Elementary School, part of the major improvements to Great Falls Public Schools facilities. See Great Falls Tribune, KRTV and KFBB. The school features a wonderful new playground thanks to over $350,000 in donations to the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation!

2) Answered questions and offered advice to businesses in Glacier County on State COVID Relief Grants, Indian Equity Fund (IEF), and business planning tools during our first Small Business Power Hour. There were lots of questions about the new Eastern Edge of Glacier Park Tourism Grant. Thank you to Matt Harrington of NACDC for speaking about the IEF. The Commercial Loan Deferment Program closes for applications on September 18th so talk with your lender right away if you want to apply. Landlords, don’t forget about the substantial tenant assistance available. If you have questions about grants, EIDL loans, or anything else COVID related contact Nathan Reiff at

3) IND Hemp broke ground on a new processing facility in Ft. Benton. Great to see another ag-processing project underway in the Golden Triangle! See Tribune, KRTV and KFBB.

4) Worked with our new business attraction lead generation consultants to develop a list of several hundred companies to target this fiscal year.

5) Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) hosted a webinar this week called “Contracting your Goods and Services with the State of Montana”. We had 31 attendees for the hour long session. This webinar will be available on September 9th. For more information contact Shannon Clancy at

6) Congratulations to the Great Falls Business Improvement District and everyone involved in the fantastic ArtsFest Montana 2020 in Downtown Great Falls! See some of the new murals on KRTV.

7) Many grant applications and loans require business plans. Rich Gannon on our team provides business planning tools like Live Plan to help you put your best foot forward. If you want help creating a business plan or with any other resources to make your business thrive you can contact him at or 406-836-2078

8) The Cascade County Commission approved a commercial subdivision in Vaugn that will allow a new storage facility to move into construction; see Tribune.

9) We’ve got a jam-packed month of excellent business events in the month of September! Join us this coming Thursday, September 3rd at 11:00 AM for a webinar on Accessing Small Business Administration’s Counseling, Contracting, and Capital Programs. Our Website Boot Camp: Converting to Online Sales is back, starting September 15th – register here. Boots to Business for entrepreneurial service members and veterans will be held at Malmstrom Air Force Base September 17th and 18th – register hereProfit Mastery is back by popular demand on September 23rd and 24th – register to learn how to take control of your business’ finances. Closing out the month is LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop on September 30th.

10) New to the list are three 30-minute digital discussions: State Grants – Thursday, September 10th at 10:00 AM or Tuesday, September 22nd at 12:00 PM, and Social Media and Websites – Wednesday, September 16th at 2:00 PM. To RSVP and for Zoom login information, contact Nathan Reiff at or (406) 403-4937. And, before we forget – QuickBooks is back November 18th. This course always sells out, so don’t wait –register today!

11) The Montana Nonprofit Association has organized two virtual town halls about current child care challenges and what can be done together more services offered to help parents and employers. Current Landscape of Child Care Resources on September 2nd at 2:00 PM and Collaborative Opportunities to Support Child Care on September 3rd at 2:00 PM.

12) We issued an RFQ for Environmental Services for our new EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant. The responses are due September 15th. For more information or a copy of the RFQ, contact Lillian Sunwall at

13) Improvements to Jaycee Park are nearly complete, part of Great Falls’ citywide park upgrades supported by voters. Six new pickle ball courts have been added along with other nice upgrades; see

14) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Brandon Jurasek, owner of True Brew in downtown Great Falls, and the recent expansion along 10th Ave S. Next week we will take a behind-the-scenes look at Cassiopeia Books. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that Montana’s Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

15) The new challenges of working remotely can present daily stress that effects your staff. On September 25 at 8 AM GFDA is partnering with Stop the Stigma in a work force focused session on COVID-19 and Survival of the Quarantined: Workplace Stress and Wellbeing. This session will increase your strategies and tools to aid your employees. Save the date/time, registration will open soon.

16) Our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) specialists continue to be busy assisting small businesses with government contracting. This week we reviewed an RFP for a daycare business looking to submit a bid for the GFC-MSU Daycare Center. Our coaches walked a business owner through steps on how to invoice using the WAWF system for a federal contract. They told us that finding PTAC and GFDA was like “winning the golden ticket to tour Willy Wonka’s Factory.” We worked with a business to set up a profile in our Bid Match system so they will receive solicitation opportunities by email. PTAC has been receiving a lot of calls on SAM (System for Award Management) issues and help researching bid opportunities.

17) Luna Coffee plans to open in downtown Great Falls at 11 5th Street North in September; see We started working with some potential downtown business start-ups and expansions this week, discussing ways to make their dreams become realities. We also connected with some businesses outside of the Golden Triangle that are looking to expand into Downtown Great Falls. If you are interested in expanding or starting a business Downtown, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development: Alluvion Health and Energy West for their Advanced Division investments, JCCS, PC for their Flagship Division investment, AE2S and Geranios Enterprises, Inc. for their Pacesetter Division investment and K&K Trucking, Inc. for their Community Division investment. Every investment provides an opportunity local business, organizational partnership, and community pride. Thank you for support. If you would like to invest or have any questions about investment in economic development, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

Take care and 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.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Church

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.

Economic Development Services
See our updated Great Falls Economic Development Menu of Services which includes our expanded staff team. We provide award-winning and internationally-accredited economic development services throughout Montana’s Golden Triangle, and SBA 504 loans statewide.

Great GFDA Career Opportunity
We are boosting our lending team with a new Loan Officer position. Download position posting or visit our website. GFDA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and Lender. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply! Please help us spread the word.

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

August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.266%; 20-year at 2.210%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.387%; and, 20-year refinance 2.211%. 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

Montana has many grant opportunities to help address the COVID crisis. Visit

The new relocation website 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 Montana Chamber hosted a webinar helpful for businesses interested in learning more about the Montana Loan Deferment Program. See recording of webinar here.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative. To download the partner toolkit visit MARKETMT.COM.

The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) will begin accepting applications for the small business grant program starting August 1st. Applications will be accepted through September 30th. If you are a Native American entrepreneur looking to start a business or expand an existing business, check out this grant opportunity. For help applying, contact Rich at 406-836-2078 or He can assist with the application process and help you connect with a local Native American Business Advisor.

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 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

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

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offers trade show grants and assistance. MDOC’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

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.

The 4th annual Montana Food Show will be held in Missoula on October 26. Learn more at The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit for more information. The Export Montana team is hosting Riddle of the Exporter training in Billings on July 28 and Kalispell on July 30. The training is free and will help you learn about and prepare for export markets. Learn more here.

All of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.