|1) Two more major proposed new apartment developments in Great Falls were in the news, a 252-unit development on the east side of town and a 503-unit development on the west side of town. We’re excited to continue working with these developers to move the projects toward construction. See The Electric Business Bites from last week and The Electric’s Business Bites from this week. Supporting the creation of new homes is a key GFDA strategic priority. We have much work to do to get projects into construction, but are excited by the interest of excellent developers pursuing projects in the Great Falls market!
2) Congratulations to the University of Providence in Great Falls on the celebration of its 90th anniversary!!!
3) Invest Downtown Great Falls 2022 was a great success; see KRTV and KFBB. Thank you to our sponsor, NorthWestern Energy for making the event possible. Over 120 people heard from 9 speakers talking about their projects and business success in Downtown Great Falls. We also had updates from the Downtown Development Partnership on events and volunteering in Downtown. If you missed the event, the recording will be available on our website soon. We premiered our new Invest Downtown video that you can now view on our YouTube Channel.
4) Congratulations to Benefis Health System on winning the top innovation award from the Montana Hospital Association for its long COVID treatment! See Great Falls Tribune.
5) Carter Commons, an affordable senior housing development planned for downtown Great Falls, was selected this week by the Montana Board of Housing to receive an allocation of low income housing tax credits. Congratulations to Tyler Currence and his team at Housing Solutions. Great Falls has a serious demand for housing units at all levels and types, as demonstrated in the recent housing market demand assessment we commissioned. GFDA supported the selection of this new construction apartment development. Project advocacy is just one service GFDA offers to support the creation of new homes. If you have a project that could benefit from the support of GFDA, please reach out to Jake Clark, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.
6) The Blackfeet Nation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes won a $74.8 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for high-speed internet access. See Billings Gazette.
7) Great Falls entrepreneurs met at MT Pints for a Business Pitch event hosted by GFDA. Business Pitch is fun, informal and open to anyone interested in sharing their business idea or project. Follow our Facebook page for details on future Business Pitch events or contact Tony at 406-750-2099.
8) Congratulations to Northern Interlocal Transit, a partnership between transit authorities in Toole, Glacier and Pondera counties, on winning a national award for outstanding service! See Cut Bank Pioneer Press.
9) We hosted two digital marketing trainings, one on email marketing and one on website development. Last week we presented the SBDC webinar on “Introduction to Small Business Certifications”. Keep an eye on our events calendar for upcoming classes.
10) Arc Apartment Homes is scheduled to open this fall at the corner of Division Road and Smelter Ave Northwest in Great Falls. Arc Apartment Homes is a 216-unit apartment home community close to retail, schools and downtown Great Falls. Learn more about this project in the Announcement of the Week.
11) Power, Montana will soon be home to a distillery specializing in American Single Malt Whisky owned and operated by the Pfeifle family. The family has farmed in Power since 1915 and over the years expanded to include Farm Power Malt. Now the Pfeifles are breaking into the distillery business. Learn more in the Announcement of the Week.
12) Received our first loan approval from the Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative for a Great Falls business that is expanding to a second location. This is a low interest rate loan participation that helps move potential deals forward that otherwise would not. Thank you to our bank partner, Nathan Reiff, at First Interstate Bank who was great advocate for our entrepreneur. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1056.
13) Congratulations to the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce for producing the first Worlds of Work event! WOW is career expo for middle school and high school students that presented exciting opportunities for them to explore careers that they might have never known existed. GFDA team members assisted by volunteering as world navigators. The talent pipeline is extremely important to the success of our local businesses. See KRTV.
14) The Great Falls City Commission unanimously approved a Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) request from the Business Improvement District for downtown mural lighting. We were there speaking in support along with Downtown business owners. The project will light 10 murals, increasing safety and allowing visitors to see the murals anytime, day or night. See The Electric.
15) Congrats to Clark Diemert on the recent opening of Prairie Meats located in Lothair, 10 miles from Chester Montana! Prairie meats specializes in beef processing in their new facility; see KRTV. If you are interested in starting or expanding a meat processing facility, contact Justin at Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org to learn more about the gap and bridge financing we have available to help.
16) Lillian worked with a local business to put together a capability statement to submit to the Northrop Grumman Vendor Portal. This is a requirement to be considered for contracts with the upcoming Sentinel project. If you would like more information on how you can prepare your business’ capability statement in preparation to upload to the Vendor Portal, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-1253.
17) Ever Westward Farm, a new organic farm located in Belt was featured on KRTV. Owned by first generation farmers Tristan and Jori Bradford, the organic farm produces more than 50 species of produce and herbs, as well as pasture-grazed turkey, fowl, waterfowl, and hogs. They deliver once a week to the Great Falls area bringing the true Farm to Table feel to your home. For more information on how you can support this new farm and become a customer visit their Facebook page.
18) Christian, our Downtown Business Development Officer, was on the road again in downtown Bozeman. He visited with developers and investor groups talking about the revitalization efforts going on in Downtown Great Falls. If you are interested in residential or commercial development opportunities in Downtown Great Falls, call Christian at 406.836.0136.
19) Shout out to non-profits! Did you know that GFDA is here for you as well? We can assist with business advising, financial projections, business planning, and we can help you develop your capital stack – the complete financing package that makes the most sense for your business or project. We have loan products that can assist with your capital stack if needed. Does your non-profit have an exciting project on the horizon? If so, reach out to Jake Clark, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.
20) The GFDA Board of Directors has endorsed the Cascade County Public Safety Levy and encourage voters to support the measure. Visit WeStandSafe.com for more info.
21) Register today for the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and business attraction.
22) We’re excited to welcome Katesha Campbell to our Team! Katesha will be focused on helping businesses that make products from the agriculture produced across our region of North Central Montana. She is going to be an excellent Business Development Officer! Reach out and connect with Katesha at Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.
23) Our work is made possible by the continued support of our team of INVESTORS. They are helping to drive growth in the region. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—Gusto Distributing, JCCS, P.C., and Stockman Bank; Community Division—406 Attorneys. Great Falls is thriving thanks to them and others that contribute annually to our organization. If you want to find out how you can help grow the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.
An amazing two weeks for the Great Falls Montana region!
President & CEO
Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
|Cost of Living in the Great Falls metro remained competitive in 2022Q2 at 87.8% of the national average, according to the C2ER (the Council for Community and Economic Research). Compare our local rate to Bozeman’s 121.8%, Denver’s 111.0%, Boise’s 109.3%, or Spokane’s 102.7%. Use our Cost of Living Calculator when trying to recruit new employees from our of town.
The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW. 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.
Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov 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 SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org 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 RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Attention Veteran-Owned Businesses! In less than a year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) will transfer to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As of January 1, 2023, all functions of VA’s CVE will be handled by the SBA. To help make this a seamless transition, we encourage all self-certified SDVOSBs to complete the verification process through the VA now before the transfer becomes effective. Please start the verification process at https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.
The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (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 RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org 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 Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.
Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.
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.