Top 10 – 8/31/2021

Exciting new businesses on their way to downtown Great Falls, including our first micro distillery: entrepreneur Jeff Miser in front of the upcoming home of Mountain Wave Distilling!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 11 for last 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) Team Great Falls hosted a large manufacturing prospect visit. Thank you to the many partners, departments, and agencies who worked together providing the information the company needs to make their decision.

2) Calumet‘s Renewable Diesel Conversion Produces New Jobs! Check out the video announcement here! This will not only create 200-300 construction jobs through 2022, but permanent employment is expected to grow by 10-20 new high wage positions, as well as several professional staff positions. This project creates a tremendous opportunity to attract a large oil seed crush plant to help meet this new, local demand!

3) The cost of living in Great Falls is 88.6% of the national average, according to 2021Q2 data released by the Council for Community and Economic Research. We are well below the national average – let’s work to keep it that way! To see a cost of living comparison of Great Falls to other US cities, check out the Cost of Living Calculator on the new Live in Great Falls talent attraction website. By the way, Bozeman’s cost of living is 113.5% of the national average so your dollar goes 25% further living in Great Falls!

4) Upcoming GFDA entrepreneur/business convenient virtual trainings for September: Model Canvas/Value Proposition Design is the topic of our monthly webinar on Thursday, September 2nd. Boots to Business, our workshop for active military personnel looking to transition to a life of entrepreneurship is back on Thursday and Friday, September 9 & 10. The LaunchPoint, our catch-all workshop for budding entrepreneurs is back on Thursday, September 9. And wrapping up the month is our popular Website Bootcamp: Website in a Day in Lewistown on Tuesday, September 28.

5) The Downtown Development Partnership (DDP) approved the TIF application from the Business Improvement Districts (BID) Wayfinding project to go forward for final approval at the City Commission. This will be scheduled in the next few weeks and we look forward to seeing these Wayfinding signs installed. You can read more about the Wayfinding project and see sign examples over at KRTV.

6) The Great Falls Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved the a TIF application for the two wayfinding signs that will be located within the West Bank Urban Renewal Distric district. These signs will help direct visitors and residents towards more than 40 points of interest in our City. Wayfinding has been proven to boost customer satisfaction and repeat business within a community and we are very excited to see this project become a reality.

7) We are searching for individuals or families who have recently (in the past 2 years) relocated to or moved back to the Great Falls area and LOVE their life here. We want to hear their stories! We have several media/marketing opportunities coming up and we want to interview dozens of people who relocated to the Great Falls area. Email Soren at with their (or your own!) name/relevant information and we will do the rest.

8) The U.S. Small Business Administration announced on August 25 a moratorium on the requirement that participants in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program must establish a bona fide place of business in a specific geographic area in order to be awarded any construction contract through the 8(a) Program due to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. The moratorium is effective August 25, 2021, and applies to all 8(a) construction contracts offered to the 8(a) Program between August 25, 2021, and September 30, 2022. “The SBA is committed to finding innovative ways to assist small businesses, particularly small disadvantaged businesses that have been historically underserved,” said Bibi Hidalgo, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development. “This change to the SBA’s 8(a) program — our flagship contracting program born out of the Civil Rights movement — will help small businesses continue to drive our economic recovery and position themselves at the forefront of our nation’s reimagined economy.”

9) During the moratorium, any 8(a) Program participant seeking an 8(a) construction contract (either on a sole source or competitive basis) will not be required to have or establish a bona fide place of business in any specific geographic location. For purposes of 8(a) construction procurements, a bona fide place of business means a location where a participant regularly maintains an office that employs at least one full-time individual within the appropriate geographical boundary. The term does not include construction trailers or other temporary construction sites. The SBA believes this modification to the 8(a) Program will make it easier for small disadvantaged businesses to be eligible to be awarded 8(a) construction contracts.

10) The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened a supplemental round of funding for previous recipients of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG). Eligible applicants for the supplemental award will have already “received an initial grant and have illustrated a 70% loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019.” The SVOG program was designed to help offset losses of businesses in the performing arts and live entertainment venue industry. Previous awardees will receive invitations to apply via email. For more information, please visit the SBA’s COVID-19 relief website.

11) Is your business opening, expanding, or doing something revolutionary? We want to hear about it and help you tell the story. Our Announcement of the Week goes out to a captive audience of thousands in the Great Falls regional business community. Contact Tyler at to get started on your announcement!

Go forth and prosper!

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.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Samuel Beckett

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 501

Here is an updated Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our our Quarterly Investor Letter and our GFDA 2021Q2 Quarter Index.

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 2.863%; 20-year at 2.744%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.591%; and, 20-year refinance 2.787%; 25-year refinance 2.904%. 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

GFDA has launched a College Intern Program starting with five paid internship opportunities. Download application. Help us spread the word!

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Brett Doney at 406-750-2119 or Here is a current list of our great investors.

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

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.

Check out August’s Hot Jobs in Great Falls, a collection of open jobs that we’re marketing to people in talent attraction target markets (Seattle, Portland, etc.). These are jobs that people would relocate for. If you have a particularly high-skill, high-salary or out-of-the-box job opportunity to include in September’s blog, email Soren at

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.

We deliver print copies of the Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine around town every Friday – if you would like copies of this great recruitment tool, email Soren at

version anytime! 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.

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.

Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.