Top 10 – 9/20/2020

The City of Great Falls won a $10 million DOD grant to construct a $20 million aquatic and recreation center in partnership with Malmstrom Air Force Base. Congratulations to all involved in the Aim High Big Sky Recreation Center project! See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV.

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. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Congratulations to the C.M. Russell Museum on holding its auction online with over $4 million in art sold!

2) There is a NEW opportunity for more Business Stabilization funds through the State of Montana. Need assistance with your application? We’ve got an open discussion on Tuesday, September 22nd at 12:00 PM on that very topic. Register here.

3) Ten active duty Air Force service members participated in our Boots to Business: An Introduction to Entrepreneurship workshop at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Region VIII Veteran’s Business Outreach Center are working to create a live, online Boots to Business training specifically for military spouses in the community. Stay tuned for dates when they are announced.

4) The Great Falls City Commission approved an ordinance that gives more flexibility for where new establishments that serve alcohol can locate. See KRTV and

5) We held a webinar this week to share ideas and comments on the 2nd Ave North Corridor associated with the Miracle Mile site brownfields cleanup. Our partners with MT DEQ, Kansas State University and local stakeholders participated in the visioning process, answering poll questions and sharing thoughts on how to improve the area. For more information on this project or how we can help move contaminated properties into redevelopment, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

6) Looking to expand your business skills? Improve your bottom line and take control of your business’ finances with Profit Mastery, a two-day course September 23-24 – register NOW to secure your spot. LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop closes out the month on September 30th – designed for the budding entrepreneur, this is an all-you-need-to-know course to get your business up and running.

7) Farmers Daughter Fibers has expanded their business and will be opening a new storefront in Downtown Great Falls. Candice English will be opening the doors Thursday, September 24th at 10 AM. Come by and congratulate her and check out her new space! See more in Great Falls Tribune. Have you been thinking about expanding or opening a new business in Downtown Great Falls? Call Christian at 406.836.0136 or to discuss the possibilities.

8) Now is the time to Invest in Downtown Great Falls! Registration is open for our virtual Invest in Downtown Great Falls event on October 13 at 9 AM. Learn what made some of our most popular downtown businesses succeed; hear about new development opportunities; and explore the vision our community has for the future of Downtown Great Falls. Are you a developer, entrepreneur, business owner? This is for you. We want you in Downtown Great Falls!

9) The Montana State Fund declared a $20 million dividend to businesses across the state. Workers compensation dividends returned to businesses totaled $165 million in the last five years. See Tribune.

10) It’s getting to the end of the Federal Fiscal Year and agencies are awarding a lot of contracts. That means that our government contracting advisors are busy helping small businesses with invoicing on the WAWF platforms. Do you have questions on how to get setup and invoice in WAWF? Give us a call and we can walk you through the process. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

11) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features John Chapman, owner of Tacticality Workwear in Great Falls. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hit that share button to help us spread the word that the Golden Triangle is a great place to live, work, and do business!

12) The new challenges of working remotely can present daily stress that effects your team. On September 25 at 8 AM via Zoom, 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, presented by Erin Butts, will increase your strategies and tools to aid your employees. Register here.

13) We will be dropping off Great Falls Livability magazines around town this week. If your business wants a few copies of this great talent attraction tool, contact Soren at or call/text (406) 836-0147.

14) Mark your calendars for a one-hour Talent Attraction Virtual Event on October 1st at 1:00 PM. If you are wondering, “What is Talent Attraction and why are we doing it in Great Falls?” this event is for you! We are putting our local investor dollars to work to attract new skilled employees with the help of Development Counsellors International (DCI). They will give a presentation about what talent attraction is and why it’s important. We will also hear from other communities on the success of their talent attraction initiatives. For more information on our Talent Attraction Initiative, contact Soren Chargois at or (406) 836-0147.

15) Great Falls College MSU will be expanding its apprenticeship efforts, including respiratory therapy, in partnership with other Montana colleges and universities. See details in Havre Daily News.

16) Montana Aware is a statewide effort designed to help Montana’s tourism partners and local businesses slow the spread of COVID-19 by promoting safety measures for those traveling in the state. As part of this initiative, the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development has developed a toolkit of resources to help you educate residents and visitors on safe travel best practices. Download the toolkit here.

17) Registration for QuickBooks on November 18 is live! QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman will take you through the basic elements of QuickBooks Accountant 2019 so you’re more efficient in entering revenue and expenses, and better able to communicate with your accountant come tax time. This course always sells out, so don’t wait – register today!

18) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, General Distributing Co. for their Advanced Division investment, Marshall Orthodontics, PC for their Pacesetter Division investment, and NAPA Auto Parts – 4 New Beginnings for their Community Division investment. Now, more than ever, your investment fights for competition during an economic disruption. In this time of unpredictability, we continue to look out for opportunities and threats, while also offering support, tools, and resources for local businesses. If you would like to discuss how we leverage your resources, email Teresa or call 406.781.9499.

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.

“The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.”
Alexander Graham Bell

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 Opportunities
We are boosting our lending team with Loan Officer and Lending Specialist positions. 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

September SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 2.406%; 20-year at 2.361%; 10-year equipment loan at 2.274%; and, 20-year refinance 2.363%. 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

Two business resources from our friends at the Montana Chamber. The COMMIT Foundation is offering Becoming Veteran-Ready Employers virtual training (great training that only takes an hour) on September 30th at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here — or October 13 at 9:00-10:00 AM — register here. The Chamber is offering a succession planning webinar, “Planning and Executing Successful Montana Business Transitions,” on September 30th from 12:00-1:30 PM — register here.

The Montana Business of Outdoor Recreation Virtual Summit will be held October 13-15; more info here.

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.

As increased focus is placed on meat production and marketing amidst COVID-19, Montana State University Extension, in conjunction with Oregon State University, will offer a new agriculture business development course on direct marketing of meat. The Western Meat School, Montana Edition, is a six-week online/hybrid course that will meet on Wednesday evenings beginning Nov. 4th. The course will cover key topics in the production, processing, and marketing of high-quality meat. online registration. For more info and to ask about possible course discounts, contact Tommy Bass at MSU Extension, or 406-994-5733.