Top Ten 11/27/22

Thank you to all who pitched this week as well as the Magpie for allowing us to host another fun and successful Business Pitch. A big thanks to the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce for cohosting with us. We will be hosting a Business Pitch in Shelby this week. Find out more about that one here. Reach out to Tony Peres with any questions at or 406-750-2099.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 15 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) Touro University Montana is accepting applications! The state of the art facility is expected to be mostly complete by the end of the year with finishing touches occurring through March 2023. The first students will begin this summer. Touro is looking for scholarships for Montana students. If you’re interested in learning more, attend our meet and greet with Touro Leadership on December 13. Email Jolene for more information;

2) Congratulations to Montana Premium Processing, a producer owned multi-species meat processing facility, on officially opening its doors in Havre!

3) Our Loan Committee approved a $249,498.50 loan for an equipment purchase to help a local manufacture expand their business. GFDA will participate this loan with the Montana State Small Business Initiative (SSBCI 2.0) program. We also submitted 2 additional loans for approval to the state for the SSBCI 2.0 program totaling $711,000 which will leverage an additional $1,234,000. 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. Funds are very limited and will be on a first come first served basis.

4) Five Great Falls natives have opened Dahl House Aesthetics next to Dahlquist Realtors on Country Club Blvd in Great Falls. Collectively the medical team has 90 years of experience treating patients by combining science and beauty in their practice. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

5) The ConnectMT program is holding a second round of broadband outreach in-person and virtual sessions in December. For more information about ConnectMT and these upcoming events, please visit the ConnectMT website.

6) 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

7) The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board voted to support a tax increment financing request from Talcott Properties for infrastructure and environmental remediation to support the next phase of development of West Bank Landing to include a 108-room hotel and a national restaurant chain. GFDA continues to strongly support this important riverfront redevelopment in the West bank Urban Renewal District. See The Electric.

8) We submitted a $20,000 Economic Vitality Transformation Strategy grant application to Montana Main Street on behalf of the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls. This would fund a market assessment of downtown properties to create a strategy for economic vitality. It will include commercial and housing development (including renovation and new construction), start-up businesses, expansions and new businesses.

9) Two new restaurants are coming to Great Falls, Chipotle and Highway 55! See The Electric’s Business Bites. The Bourbon Chicken food truck is moving into the former Missouri River Diner in Great Falls and Les Schwab plans a second tire center in Great Falls in The Marketplace; see last week’s The Electric Business Bites.

10) 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. This year we already have three very significant projects to announce! 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;

11) The National Center for Appropriate Technology, along with nationally recognized organic leaders, will offer an Organic Academy Road Show (OARS) session in Billings, Montana on December 6 and 7, 2022. Beginning farmers and ranchers in the northern Great Plains will have the opportunity to explore the regenerative, certified organic production systems for grains, oilseeds, and pulses. More info here.

12) 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.

13) Global News posted an article about our growing cross-border collaboration with Lethbridge, Alberta, see “Economic challenges and goals similar for Lethbridge and Great Falls, Montana.”

14) I hope you visited many local small businesses yesterday on Small Business Saturday. Here are some amazing statistics about Montana small businesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2021 there were 129,180 small businesses in Montana that represented 99.3% of all businesses in the state. Montana small businesses employed 250,680 people, 66.8% of all Montana employees. Between March 2020 and March 2021 there was a net increase of 2,138 new Montana small businesses. Women owned 46% of Montana’s small businesses.

15) GFDA relies on our INVESTORS and their support. The checks they write annually for our work allow us to keep providing resources and tools to help grow the region. Recent investments include: Community Division—Mighty Mo Brewing Co. & Rocky Mountain Carriers. They are champions of Great Falls and understand the importance of economic development. Thank you for investing in Great Falls! If you want to join the team that is growing the region, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Economic momentum continues to build across our region. We’re working with great clients on exciting projects that have not yet been announced, already gearing up for spring construction starts. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to see if we can help with your business start, expansion, modernization or diversification, or your real estate project.

Have a great 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!

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; download AgriTech Park Flyer. 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

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.

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.