Top Ten 10/30/22

As part of the very productive Montana Japan Trade Mission, we joined with Montana and Kumamoto, Japan leaders to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the sister state/prefecture partnership between Montana and the Kumamoto prefecture. Kumamoto leaders will travel to Japan in November.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 16 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) Met with dozens of Japanese companies interested in expanding in Montana! We were able to join the Montana delegation spearheaded by the Montana Department of Commerce. This trade mission focused on business attraction and expansion and was the first mission of that nature by the state of Montana in a very long time. Japan is the United States’ largest foreign direct investment country. We met with corporate leaders of companies that have made longstanding investments in Great Falls region and thanked them for their investments in our community that provide jobs, increases our tax base, and expands market opportunities for our farmers. The largest and most long standing foreign investment partners in our region are from Japan and Canada. We will be investing more resources in cultivating these business relationships for increased economic opportunities. Being able to travel with state officials opened doors on higher floors for even more impact! We’re happy to discuss more in depth if you’re interested, call Jolene 1.406.750.4481.

2) 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.

3) The Silver Stone apartments received an unanimous recommendation from the Great falls City Planning Board for the zoning and annexation of their property towards the development of 432 apartments. An exciting milestone for this project, which has received support from City planning staff and significant investment from the developer to help Great Falls move closer to meeting the tremendous demand for housing demonstrated in our 2021 housing market demand assessment. If you are interested in moving your housing project forward, taking advantage of the various tools GFDA can offer you, please contact Jake Clark at

4) Malmstrom AFB marked the 60th anniversary of the ICBM mission in the Great Falls region; see KRTV. We appreciate the vigilance and excellence of the Airmen who day in and day out, 365 days a year for 60 years have protected our country and added so much to our community!

5) We are still accepting low interest loan participation applications for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). GFDA is an approved participating lender that can use this program to help your business innovate, expand, or stabilize. This program is a first come, first served program with limited funds available. If you have questions on the program please reach out to Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

6) Great Falls community leaders celebrated the new playground at Whitter Elementary School; see KRTV.

7) Great Falls native Jeff Spurgeon is bringing 25 years of experience in the personal training industry to Great Falls with the opening of JS Fitness and Wellness. The private facility will focus on personal training for clients of all ages and levels of fitness. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

8) 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.

9) Economic development is a community endeavor. GFDA hosted students from Paris Gibson High School to share with them the various resources at our disposal for encouraging growth to our local economy. The GFDA team were also able to share about the wide variety of work environments available to talent in Great Falls.

10) The Veteran’s Administration (VA) stopped accepting new applications for Veteran-owned small business verification or reverification as of October 24th. This transition is part of a government-wide effort that streamlines and consolidates all certifications offered to VOSBs and SDVOSBs under the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA will assume responsibility for the program as of January 1, 2023. For more information or questions, contact Lillian Sunwall at

11) Networked at the Montana Council of Cooperatives and the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) event celebrating Montana Cooperatives. To learn more about cooperatives or see if it might be the right model for your business, contact the team at MCDC.

12) 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.

13) A big topic in Downtown Great Falls this week has been development tools. There are programs such as Bridge/Gap Financing, TIF Grants, BID Grants, and SSBCI. That’s a lot of acronyms and programs! Call Christian at 406.836.0136 and let’s discuss how we can put these tools to work for your project in Downtown Great Falls.

14) The GFDA Board of Directors has endorsed the Cascade County Public Safety Levy and encourage voters to support the measure. Visit for more info.

15) 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.

16) Our INVESTORS write checks to support our work annually. They understand some of the key benefits to economic development are to maintain, increase, & diversify the tax base while creating and retaining jobs, which will in turn provide economic vitality & an overall better quality of life for our residents. Recent investments include: Community Division—Jerry Hood and Midway Rental. These and our other investors are the reason we can keep doing what we do. If you are interested in supporting our mission & want to be a part of the exciting changes happening, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Great to be back in Great Falls after a fantastic Montana Japan Trade Mission!

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!

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

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.439%; 20-year at 6.362%; 10-year equipment loan at 5.598%; and, 20-year refinance 6.457%; 25-year refinance 6.380%. 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
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 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

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 For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall 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.