Top 10 – 9/28/2020

Congratulations to the Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation for breaking ground on the Harold & Carmen Poulsen Legacy Housing Facility! The facility will provide free, temporary patient housing. Thank you to all who made this great project happen!

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 16 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) October is just around the corner and we’ve got a fresh new slate of opportunities to expand your entrepreneurial skillset. LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop, the all-you-need-to-know course to get your business up and running is September 30th. Join us for a webinar on October 1st about How COVID is Affecting Communities. Couldn’t make the September 30th LaunchPoint, there is another one October 15th – register here.

2) The Montana Business Stabilization Grant closes Wednesday September 30th. Businesses are eligible for an addition $20,000 in Business Stabilization funds per EIN through the State of Montana. This week we helped several businesses complete the grant and several others reported receiving the money. If you haven’t applied or if you have a second EIN and thought it wasn’t eligible you can still apply. If you need help with the application reach out to Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-403-4937.

3) Join us for a 1-hour Talent Attraction Virtual Event on October 1st at 1:00 PM – register here – this is a great opportunity to learn more about why we’re investing in Talent Attraction and how other communities have achieved success. We’ve invited place marketers DCI and 3 other communities investing in Talent Attraction (Fargo-Moorhead, Upstate SC and Northern VA) to present.

4) We completed a private session of our cash flow and profitability workshop, Profit Mastery, with a Great Falls business owner and his accountant. The goal was to increase the business owner’s financial literacy in order to communicate better with his financial advisors and bankers. Additional tools like break-even will also be used by the business moving forward to make more comprehensive, well informed decisions as the company grows and expands. If you’re interested in this powerful financial literacy course, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) We won a $657,000 financial award from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund! The new loan capital will allow us to make more loans to help start, grow and expand businesses throughout the Golden Triangle. Our gap and bridge loans can be used for almost anything business related including the purchase of a new buildings or equipment, working capital to support ongoing or startup operations, inventory, environmental cleanup and more. Thank you to the businesses, agencies and organizations that invest in our economic development efforts. Without you, we wouldn’t have the required match for grants like this.

6) Join Investment Director Teresa Schreiner and President/CEO Brett Doney for Development Coffee this Friday, October 2nd at 7:00 AM where we discuss ways to move development projects throughout the region forward and into construction. This month’s development coffee will take place via Zoom. For login details, please register. For questions, contact Teresa at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406.781.9499

7) The latest video in our Doing Business in the Golden Triangle series features Brenda Wrigley, owner of Great Falls Gymnastics Academy in Downtown 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!

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) Businesses are looking at our market. We’ve submitted two proposals in the past two weeks. Ever wonder how are we attracting businesses to the Golden Triangle? Grab your favorite beverage and join us on a zoom chat, 4 PM on October 28. We’ll discuss our business attraction strategies and partnership with DCI. RSVP here.

10) There are many documented benefits of remote working and there are unique stressors. We explored these stressors and management techniques with Erin Butts, GFPS, and the Stop the Stigma Team on a workforce focused webinar. In case you missed it, here are the slides which include contact information for Erin if you want to follow up. Do you have additional workforce topic issues we can dive into? Call or email Jolene, 406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) Has your business incurred expenses to keep employees or customers safe? This could be extra personal protective equipment, a computer or office furniture to help an employee work remotely, or remodeled for curbside pickup. The Montana Business Adaptability Grant will reimburse you for these expenses.See this video for more information and how other businesses have used the funds. You can apply online, or if you want help contact Nathan Reiff at NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) If you’d like FREE copies of this year’s Great Falls Livability magazine for your recruiters to share with candidates and potential candidates, request them at Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org and Soren will deliver them to your office.

13) 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!

14) The Great Falls Library announced several new and ongoing resources this week. They will now have 50 internet Hotspots they will be checking out starting October 1. If you need help getting a job they have Great Falls Job Service employees working in the library 2-4:45 PM Tuesday through Friday. You can read more about the updates to services and the building in here.

15) Welcome to our new Malmstrom Air Force Base liaison member of the GFDA Board, Vice Wing Commader Col. Russell Williford. Download an updated GFDA and HPF Board and Staff list here.

16) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Cascade County for their Premier Division investment, Farran Realty Partners, LLC. for their Leadership Division investment, and Ron and Becky Nelson for their Supporter Division investment. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) your dollars are doubled, sometimes tripled, as GFDA helps finance business opportunities that might not otherwise happen. This year, we know projects will need additional support. You are creating this future. If you want to discuss investment, email Teresa at or call 406.781.9799.

Have a fantastic 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.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo Da Vinci

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 JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Invest in Great Falls Regional Economic Development
Contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org. 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 https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief.

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 LiveInGreatFalls.com 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 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 Soren@GrowGreatFalls.org. 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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 https://oasis-sbeforms.myngc.com/

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 https://agr.mt.gov/MTFoodShow. The Montana Beverage Show will be held in Helena on November 9. Visit www.beverageshow.mt.gov 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, tmbass@montana.edu or 406-994-5733.