Top Ten 11/20/22

One of the cool new murals created in downtown Great Falls during the 2022 Montana

ArtsFest this summer that we can enjoy year-round.

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) Congratulations to Rod and Lisa Cline of Cut Bank on winning the first-place state “Community Impact Award” from the Reimagining Rural program, for their efforts to help revitalize downtown Cut Bank. Read the full story at the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

2) In 2021 personal income increased 6.5% in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) despite a significant drop in farm earnings, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total personal income grew by $279 million with wages and salaries increasing 8.2%. Per capita personal income grew by 6.3%, increasing by $3,189 to reach $53,765. Per capita personal income reached 83.8% of the national average, inching closer to our cost of living which in 2022Q3 was 85.6% of the national average.

3) Hosted the Montana Economic Development Conference bringing 180 professionals from across the state to Great Falls! The Newberry proved to be an excellent conference location with responsive staff and great amenities. The conference featured national subject matter experts zooming in as well as in person speakers. The response from the attendees was overwhelming positive. Many of our guests hadn’t been to Great Falls in a while and frequently told us how much it has changed and how exciting it is to be in our reinvigorated downtown! Well done team Great Falls!

4) We approved another loan for the Montana State Small Business Credit Initiative for a Great Falls business that is purchasing their real estate instead of leasing. This is a low interest rate loan participation that helps move potential deals forward that otherwise would not. 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 or 1-406-590-1056.

5) We hosted the 2022 Brownfields and Beyond DEQ Workshop at the Hotel Arvon Darkhorse this week. There were representatives from all parts of the State learning from national and state resources, sharing successful projects in their area, and making great connections for collaboration.

6) The Montana Department of Agriculture is hosting a Produce Safety Grower Training Course to help producers to meet the requirements of institutional food buyers, December 6-7 via Zoom. This remote course will help producers develop a farm food safety plan by detailing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and reviewing the foundations of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). The course includes a copy of The Produce Safety Rule Grower Training Manual and a certificate of completion that satisfies the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule training requirements. Cost is only $25. Space in the course is limited and registration will close as soon as maximum number of participants has been reached. More information and registration here.

7) We will be hosting two Business Pitch events in the upcoming weeks. The first will be this Tuesday, November 22nd at the Magpie in downtown Great Falls. The second will be November 29th at The Alibi in Shelby. For more information please check out our Business Pitch page here. Please reach out to Tony Peres with any questions at 406-750-2099 or

8) Cassie Campbell, owner of Spices N’ Spurs, has opened Mise en Place Kitchens in Great Falls. Mise en Place Kitchens is a shared commercial kitchen in Great Falls on 6th Street SW. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

9) We have a new flyer for the Great Falls AgriTech Park; download here. For info on shovel ready rail-served heavy industrial sites, contact Jolene at 1-406-750-4481 or

10) Our next government contracting webinar will be December 13th at 11:00 AM on “Can A DBE Certification Help My Woman-Owned Business?” featuring Shannon Hahn at MDT. To register, click here. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at

11) We had a great week in Downtown Great Falls working on our business attraction efforts. We’re always looking for new ideas for businesses that can expand into our market. If you know of a business that could be a great addition to Downtown, call Christian at 406.836.0136.

12) We won three 2022 Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) Impact Awards! One for our weekly Great Falls Montana Top Ten, one for the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls, and one for our use of videos to enhance economic development. Again – kudos to Team Great Falls!

13) The Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is a new USDA initiative that will invest up to $100 million over five years to provide education, technical assistance, and support to help ag producers transition to organic. The goal of this initiative is to help grow the organic crop sector. Contact Justin at 406-590-1301 at with questions.

14) Registration is now available for IGNITE 2023 attendees here! IGNITE 2023 is an energetic, fast-paced hybrid event where the Golden Triangle’s most exciting new business developments are announced. The format is simple and quick: three-minute presentations on projects that will either start or open in 2023! If your business has an announcement and you’d like to present at the event contact Jake Clark at

15) We spoke at the international Women in AgTech Conference hosted by the US Commercial Services Select USA Team. This was an opportunity to share information about why business choose our region and how we can aid in their long term success.

16) The support from we receive our INVESTORS allows us to continue providing products and services that assist businesses and produce investment in our region. Simply put, communities that invest in economic development are investing in resources that lead to increase in tax revenue, adding the number of available high wage jobs, and opportunities for citizens. Without the support of our investors, a lot of the growth & opportunity we are seeing wouldn’t be possible. If you are interested in supporting the team that is growing the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

Career Opportunity

We’re looking for a new team member. We have a great career opportunity: Business Advisor — Small Business Development Center Regional Director.

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. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or

November SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 6.529%; 20-year at 6.452%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.534%; and, 20-year refinance 6.470%; 25-year refinance 6.547%. 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 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

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

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.