Top Ten 3/5/23

Attendees at the SelectUSA Conference Calgary learn about visa, accounting, and legal requirements for cross border business. They also learned about the benefits of economic development concierge services for site selection provided by GFDA!
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) We had the opportunity to pitch the Great Falls Montana region to about 80 Canadian businesses at Select USA Calgary! We were the only economic development organization in attendance and were the featured speaker in a site selection session. We love pitching our community! If you know a good audience for us reach out to Jolene at 406.750.4481.

2) The U.S. Department of Interior announced that it has allocated $232 million from the Infrastructure Bill to fulfill Indian Water Rights settlements in Montana, including $45 million to the Blackfeet Tribe; see TheGlacierReporter.

3) The Great Falls Planning Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of a minor subdivision in West Bank for the planned Highway 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries; see the Electric. For this year’s Feasting in the Falls, The Electric talked to a number of food and drink businesses to see how the local food scene is growing and helping drive downtown revitalization; see TheElectric.

4) Thank you for your great Fire Within nominations! Join us April 20 at the Haute Hive in Great Falls to honor the Inspire and Aspire Award winners. Thank you to Alluvion Health for sponsoring the 2023 Fire Within!

5) The Montana Department of Commerce has two new programs that we encourage businesses to take advantage of. The Montana Cybersecurity Program will provide up to $8,000 reimbursement for your cybersecurity expenses; applications due May 30. The Automation Loan Program offers 0% loans for up to 50% of the cost of automation equipment up to $500,000; deadline December 31. These are one-time programs funded through ARPA so don’t miss out. And don’t forget about funds available for your workforce through the Incumbent Worker Training Program and the Primary Workforce Training Grant. We can help you access these programs if you run into snags.

6) This was a milestone week for our efforts to increase our loan capital base so that we can keep providing gap and bridge loans throughout the region — the last piece of financing needed to make things happen that otherwise would not. The CDFI Fund of the U.S. Treasury awarded GFDA our 6th consecutive annual Financial Award totaling $740,000, matched dollar for dollar by our fantastic local GFDA Investors and the Montana Board of Investments. And, USDA awarded us our second $2 million meat processing loan capital grant! Great timing because we finished underwriting and sent to committee over $6 million in proposed loans this week.

7) The City of Great Falls released a statement detailing progress in housing development within the city complete with a map of projects in various stages of development and predevelopment. The statement reports on an exciting 2,827 units proposed, approved, or in construction! This number is exciting, but there is still short of the 4,420-unit demand demonstrated by the 2021 Housing Market Demand Assessment commissioned by GFDA and our partners, Great Falls Association of Realtors and NeighborWorks Great Falls. If you are interested in getting your housing project going, please reach out to Jake Clark at

8) GFDA’s Board voted unanimously to support the Great Falls Library Mill Levy going for a vote in the special election on June 6, 2023. The library is an important component of the health and vitality of the Great Falls community. We encourage you to spread the word and vote in favor of the levy on June 6. For more information and to join the effort, visit

9) The Montana Department of Commerce awarded a second MainStreet Grant to the City of Great Falls and the Business Improvement District to help fund the installation of the downtown wayfinding pedestrian kiosks.

10) We submitted a proposal to expand pulse processing in North Central Montana to create more local market opportunities for pulse crop producers. If funded, we will expand our network of pulse advocates across the region, engage three site selectors in a market assessment, and engage in a pulse crop supply chain analysis to identify what our crops are turned into and go after those companies. Want to chat about processing opportunities? Call Katesha Campbell at 406.788.0860

11) Our Announcement of the Week features a startup business that is bringing a new and innovative service to the market. Treasure State Hydrate, owned and operated by Great Falls nurse Tiffany Godinez-Devereaux provides in-home IV infusions. Do you have an idea for a startup? The online platform Live Plan helps you define, run, and grow your business with a full set of features to keep you on track. Contact Rich Gannon at (406) 836-2078 to get started with Live Plan.

12) We became a sponsor of the Montana Housing Partnership 2023 Conference this week. Looking forward to networking with housing developers, investors and supporters in Helena on May 15-17.

13) Tony traveled to Northwest Montana reaching out to numerous lending institutions discussing SBA 504 loans that we can disperse throughout our state. This secondary financing can be the difference that helps make projects come to life. If you are a lender and would like to know more or if you are starting or expanding a business and want to know what financing options could help with your project please reach out to Tony at or 406-750-2099.

14) Great Falls College MSU is holding a Night out for Science on March 25. The event engages guests in STEAM activities and presentations to learn about the types of high-quality STEAM educations offered at Great Falls College MSU.

15) We have a great new career opportunity to join the GFDA team as a Business Development Officer. Download all three of our current career opportunities.

16) Our INVESTORS write checks annually in support of the growth of our economy. Our success relies on them and our public partners, learn more about them HERE. Recent investments include: Advance Division—D.A. Davidson Companies, Community Division—Citizens Alliance Bank and Home Builders Association of Great Falls. They are helping us achieve our mission to work towards bringing more high wage opportunities to our region. If you want to support the growth of the region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

It was an exciting week with all of the above plus helping several great clients move their projects toward fruition!

Brett Doney

President & CEO

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2022Q4 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

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

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

February SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) dropped to 6.010%; 20-year at 5.982%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.433%; and, 20-year refinance 6.000%; 25-year refinance 6.028%. 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
Are you in the planning and development phase of expanding your agricultural product or adding value to Montana agriculture by expanding your product into new markets? Montana’s Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Business Acceleration Program (BAP) and Market Development Program (MDP) grants could help! Funds are available; click here for more information or contact Katesha at

The 341st Contracting Squadron, Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB), is contemplating a solicitation for a multiple award contract (MAC) and is looking for responses to this Sources Sought Notification. Awarded MAC indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts would be for the construction of structures and facilities, repair, maintenance, and alteration of real property assets within the confines of Malmstrom AFB, Weapons Storage Area (WSA), and Missile Alert Facility (MAF) and Launch Facility (LF) sites located within the Missile Complex throughout Montana. This is a great opportunity to Introduce your company to the Contracting Wing at Malmstrom AFB. Do you have a Capability Statement prepared that you can provide with your Sources Sought reply? If not, contact us at For more information on the Notice, click here.

43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses and attacks are becoming more frequent. The Montana Department of Commerce has launched an ARPA Cybersecurity Program. Businesses can apply for up to $8,000 in reimbursement for newly implemented cybersecurity measures paid to an accredited Montana cybersecurity company. For guidelines and the application, click here.

Startup Bootcamp for Life Science Entrepreneurs will be offered on March 6th at MSU Bozeman. The Made in Montana Food & Gift Tradeshow will be held in Helena on March 10-11, 2023. The 2023 Montana Manufacturing & International Trade Day will be held March 16th in Helena. The Montana Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held April 23-25 in Helena. Registration opens March 8th for the Montana Housing Partnership Conference that will be held in Helena May 15-17.


ArtsFest Montana will return to downtown Great Falls August 11-18. The Business Improvement District is looking for property owners who would like to have a professionally painted mural installed on their building. Contact Kellie at or 1-406-727-5430. See TheElectric for more details.

The Montana Department of Agriculture released information for a new round of Specialty Crop Block Grants. Applications are due March 17th. Grants are available to enhance the marketability and competitiveness of Montana specialty crops. State and/or local organizations, government entities, producer associations, academia, community based organizations, and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Informational session for applicants will be held March 8 at 10 AM, click here to join.

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.

MSU Extension’s Community Development team is offering a monthly Reimagining Rural Inspiration Hour webinar the third Wednesday of each month from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. See all the topics and register for free here.

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 is now accepting applications for certification. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

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.

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.

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.


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.

What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the Great Falls 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.

The Great Falls Childcare Demand Assessment 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.

The Great Falls Housing Market Assessment 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.