Top 10 for 1-8-23

We market what we love about Great Falls across Montana and the Pacific Northwest as part of our talent attraction efforts. We focus on elements that make Great Falls an amazing place to live and work. Check out our full campaign on Instagram – LiveInGreatFallsMT.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for the last two weeks 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) Calumet issued a 2022 Year End Operational Update. Calumet’s Montana Renewables generated a full month of on-spec Renewable Diesel production in December and commenced rail shipments. Congratulations to the Calumet Team on this great achievement! We look forward to more exciting news as work continues on the largest value-added ag project in Montana history, right here in Great Falls.

2) The University of Providence started accepting applications for a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Clinical placements include partnerships with Benefis Health System and the Great Falls Clinic. The first class will start in the fall. See KRTV.

3) We look forward to a packed house at Ignite 2023, brought to you by Payne West Insurance. Expect some announcements you will not want top miss! There is still time to register and attend the event in person at the Meadowlark Country Club on Friday, January 13th at 8:00 AM or online via Zoom Register here!

4) Congratulations to Tiffany and Lindsay Ostman on their opening of Flour Power Gluten Free Bakery and Beyond. This unique business offers a wide variety of gluten-free foods. The bakery is located at 721 Sixth Street SW, suite C in Great Falls.

5) GFDA closed a $498,997 loan for an equipment purchase to help a local manufacturer, TC Glass, expand its affiliated operating business, Balanced Unitized Team. Balanced Unitized Team will allow increased manufacturing to help with the demand in the region and expand into outside markets. GFDA will participate this loan with the Montana State Small Business Initiative (SSBCI 2.0) which allows for a lower interest rate for a fixed period of time. If you have a new or existing Montana businesses that wants to start, stabilized, pivot, expand or re-start please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or to discuss your options.

6) The Great Falls City Commission approved $68,000 in tax increment financing (TIF) funds to support the renovation of the historic Metropolitan Building in Downtown Great Falls. Read more about it at The Electric. The Downtown TIF is just one tool of many to help in your redevelopment project. If you’re interested in learning more about TIF and how it can help you in Downtown, call Christian at 406.836.0136 or email him at

7) We closed a $590,000 bridge loan for a local startup company. We stepped in with a quick short-term bridge loan because the company’s buy/sell agreement was expiring and the company was at risk of losing a prime location for their operations. In one week we were able to structure, underwrite, approve, and close a loan for the company to purchase the property location while their permanent financing is being finalized. We’ll name the company when the entire deal comes together. If you have some financing hurdles that you may need some creative solutions for, please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or to discuss your options.

8) USDA is holding a stakeholder call this Monday, January 9, at 1:00 PM MST for anyone interested in applying for the current grant round of the expanded Renewable Energy for America (REAP) program. Applications are due March 31st. This round grants will fund 50% of the cost to install a renewable energy system or to do energy efficiency improvements for rural small businesses or ag businesses. Register for the call here. Contact Lea McGiboney at the Great Falls USDA Rural Development Office for more info; 1-406-770-4291 or

9) The 10th Ave South corridor in Great Falls continues to grow with the addition of OrthoRehab Physical Therapy. Great Falls is the company’s 11th location. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

10) Great progress is being made on the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center; read details on TheElectric. We testified in support of MT3 Community Partners’ proposed renovation of 82 affordable apartments in Great Falls that would keep these homes affordable for lower income residents for decades to come (see TheElectric).

11) The Montana Department of Commerce opened the Recovery Destination Event Grant application cycle. These grants assist Montana communities with destination events that will generate out-of-state visitors.

12) Do you like to learn about new technologies focused on agriculture innovation? Are you looking to invest in or partner with an ag-tech innovation? Then make plans to attend the Montana Ag-Tech Innovation and Investment Summit January 24th at the Great Falls Airport. Are you an entrepreneur with a great idea? Sign up for the Speed-Pitch Competition and have a chance to win a piece of $50,000 in prize money.  For more information on the competition or to practice your pitch call Justin at 406-590-1301.

13) Employers, are you aware of the Incumbent Worker Training program, Trades education & Training Tax Credit, and other resources available at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry? Check out their latest resource newsletter.

14) We are preparing to host another primary sector company looking at our market. When companies are looking for a location, they are weighing many factors. Our first step is to pass a company’s information review. If we have the assets they are looking for we earn a site visit. Several communities will fit their asset needs and the site visit is the time to show them why Great Falls Montana is their best location. During the visit they speak with existing companies, community leaders, property owners and more! They tour our community and experience the diverse, high quality restaurants we offer. Here’s to many successful site visits and company groundbreakings in 2023!

15) If you are trying to redevelop a property that involves an environmental cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos) and you have a gap in your financing, your project may qualify for our low-interest brownfield redevelopment loan funds. We can make loans anywhere in Cascade County or within 100 miles from the borders of Cascade County which covers much of the region. We’re eager to help make your project move forward. Contact Tony Peres at 1-406-750-2099 or We also have some small business or nonprofit startup or expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

16) The Veteran Small Business Certification Program Has Moved to SBA. Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1st are automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period. SBA intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension of certification to current VOSBs and SDVOSBs verified by the VA as of the transfer date on January 1, 2023. This additional year will be added to the existing eligibility period of a current participant. New applicants certified by SBA after January 1st will receive the standard three-year certification period. SBA will begin accepting applications for certification on January 9th. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

17) Networked at the Montana Chamber’s Business Days at the Capital. Participated in the Montana Infrastructure Coalition’s first weekly legislative session update zoom. Submitted a TIF application to the City of Great Falls on behalf of the Downtown Development Partnership seeking matching funds to undertake a downtown market assessment and develop an updated market-based economic development strategy to attract more private investment downtown over the next few years. Started reviewing the draft of the 2023 Great Falls Livability talent attraction magazine. Began interviewing candidates for our two open positions (see GFDA Staff Openings below). Reviewed takeaways from the Winter Site Selection Consultant Forum and our business development plans for the first two quarters of 2023 with the GFDA Board of Directors. Please join us in welcoming Jim Dea of ERA Horizon Realty Group to our Board.

18) With a new year comes new opportunities. Our INVESTORS share the same enthusiasm & optimism about the future as we do. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—TD&H Engineering, Pacesetter Division—Bravera Bank; Community Division—Ferrin’s Furniture and Loucks & Glassley, PLLP. They are true champions of economic development and are the reason we can keep working towards our mission. If you want to help our region excel in the new year, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Here is a current list of GFDA Investors who make everything we do possible. THANK YOU for investing in the future of the Great Falls region!

A great start to the new year! Hope to see you at Ignite on Friday. Have a prosperous week!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q3 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

We have two great career opportunities to join the GFDA staff team. Download info on Small Business Advisor — Director Regional Small Business Development Center and Loan Originations & Closing Associate. GFDA is proud to be on Equal Opportunity Employer!

Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro set a record for competitiveness in 2022Q3 at 85.6% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Seattle’s 152.2%, Portland’s 122.2%, Bozeman’s 125.0%, Denver’s 111.2%, Salt Lake City’s 107.4%, Boise’s 105.4%, or Spokane’s 103.5%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.

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; download AgriTech Park Flyer. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or

December SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.110%; 20-year at 6.032%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.050%; 25-year refinance 6.128%. 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

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
Certification with SBA allows service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to compete for federal sole-source and set-aside contracts across the federal government. Certified veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) have additional opportunities to pursue sole-source and set-aside contracts at the Veterans Administration (VA) under the VA’s Vets First program. SBA’s new Veteran Small Business Certification program implements changes from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA 2021) which transfers the certification function from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to SBA as of January 1, 2023. The transfer will provide veterans with a central support point for their small business certification needs. The final rule, which provides program and governance guidance, was published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2022. Learn more here or contact one of our government contracting specialists, Shannon Clancy at or 1-406-590-1184.

The 2023 Montana Economic Outlook Seminar is headed to Great Falls on January 24th. The theme is the Future of Montana and will highlight the latest economic trends for local economies and the state of Montana, with special focus on the new wave of in-migration and what it means for the state. To register, visit Economic Outlook Seminar’s website here.

Join us in person at GFDA on February 9th from 8:00-10:00 AM for the first in a quarterly series of STAR events designed to assist businesses with navigating and benefiting from doing business with government agencies and large federal contractors (often referred to as Primes). The Northrop Grumman team will present via Zoom and we will have Q&A after the meeting. Connect with panelists from a variety of large and small businesses currently successfully performing as prime and subcontractors. Learn helpful tips to assist your company in achieving its government contracting goals. Learn about new opportunities nationally and on or near missile wing Air Force Bases (Cheyenne, FE Warren, Malmstrom and Minot) Gain insight and information about the importance of registering with the large contractors,, and others to make your company more visible and propel your contracting opportunities. Find out about free resources to help you on your journey. Register here.

The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena.

The White House released a Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are many tax incentives that will be available for businesses, non-profits, and public agencies to reduce their energy costs and build new power generating facilities. We’ll be organizing briefings and trainings to help you learn and take advantage of these as more guidance is released. For now, download the Guidebook here. The National Association of Counties has prepared a summary of the IRA; view it here.

Have You Reviewed the New FCC Map? The FCC recently released a new map showing broadband availability across the country. Why is this important? There is more than $42 billion in federal grant funding available for broadband infrastructure development projects, and it will be allocated based on the number of unserved and underserved locations identified in the FCC map. The FCC Broadband Map is available online, and you can enter a specific address to see the data on broadband speed and availability for a specific location. If you have questions or concerns about the information, the deadline for submitting challenges to the map is January 13. Online resources can guide you through the challenge process.


The Montana Work-Based Learning Collaborative, a network of public and private partners working to expand and improve on-the-job learning for Montana students, has released its first Work-Based Learning Toolkit for Employers. The toolkit provides outlines, forms, and frameworks for employers in four key areas for work-based learning success: meaningful projects, welcoming community, mentorship, and expectations/feedback. Download toolkit.

Export Montana, part of the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC), is organizing a trade mission to the Czech Republic and Hungary in June. They have grant funds to pay for 75% of the costs plus $2,000 toward travel costs. Grant funds are available for any of your export business development efforts. Contact Angelyn Deyoung, MDOC International Trade Officer, at or 1-406-431-5075. We’re thinking about going back to exhibit and network at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in June, participating again in the USA Pavilion. If you may be interested in joining us to connect with Canadian energy, industrial, construction, logistics and related companies, contact Jolene at or 1-406-750-4481.

The Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative is offering funding through its 4th “F” Fund (4FF) to provide direct assistance to Montana bioscience entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in need of money for travel to key conferences, small equipment purchases, or temporary staff assistance in relation to proposal development, etc. This fund is designed for maximum flexibility in support of new and established businesses and entrepreneurs in the bioscience industry. The fund will provide grants of $250 to $5,000. In exceptional circumstances the fund may consider larger applications. Grants may be awarded in phases (e.g. $1,000 initially with additional $1,000 on achieving specific milestone). More info and application here.

We released the Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Montana region. The report, prepared by Tripp Umbach with the input and assistance of key local industry partners, details four key findings and four strategic actions to grow and diversify bioscience-related industries in Great Falls. This report, along with other key findings from our strategic planning process will help guide the efforts of GFDA moving forward. Contact Jake Clark with questions regarding the report,

Many businesses that obtained SBA COVID EIDL loans will have their 30-month payment deferral expire soon. Are you one of those businesses? If so, the SBA Montana District office is holding a webinar on how to start making your loan payments. There are five webinar sessions scheduled. For more info visit SBA Montana.


The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. Exhibitor applications open October 19th and spaces sell-out fast. TheMontana Manufacturing Extension Centeris offering a series of excellent workshops and trainings this fall.

Cybersecurity challenges for businesses continue to grow. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) is offering an array of useful resources to help Montana businesses to protect themselves.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your registered due to renew in the next few months? continues to have issues with the transition of the new validation process. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at for assistance.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering a number of trainings and an accelerator program for companies interested in pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Montana STEP grants can pay for 75% of your international export marketing efforts up to $10,000. The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

USDA is accepting applications for the new Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. $500 million in grants is available to help existing fertilizer producers to expand.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 2022 Livability Magazine! Livability Great Falls is a tool for recruiting people from outside our community and is one of the tools for our Talent Attraction campaign. We also have a Email List to share resumes of trailing partners and others and we promote Hot Jobs – jobs that would entice people to move here. If you are recruiting people from outside Great Falls, click here to join our recruiter email list and learn more.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format. Business Basics for Startups is now live and ready for beta testing. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. Click here to check out the new modules and resources. Please direct feedback to Rich at

The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is (Montana Associated Technology Roundtables) which we are proud to help sponsor. Sign up for their free newsletter.

We’ve released the Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment that shows a need for additional childcare facilities to serve 580 children in Great Falls. For assistance with childcare facility business planning, contact Rich Gannon at or 1-406-836-2078.

Join the Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for employers to share resumes of trailing spouses/partners across the Great Falls region with other employers looking to hire. “Your (Live in Great Falls) website is very impressive and helpful! Great Falls looks amazing, and we love what we’ve seen real estate-wise, and business-wise.” This quote was from an email sent to us from a couple considering relocation to Great Falls. We will be sharing their resumes (with their permission) on the Trailing Partner Email Group.

We’ve released the Great Falls Housing Market Assessment that shows a need for over 450 new housing units per year in the immediate Great Falls area. For assistance with housing development, contact Jake Clark at or 1-406-403-4937.

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

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.