|1) Congratulations to IND Hemp on your recent expansion! IND Hemp in Fort Benton, MT recently revealed a new product line of animal bedding at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando. All Walks Premium Hemp Small Animal Bedding is made from 100% hemp hurd. It is cleaned, dust free, highly absorbent and great for small animal bedding. What a great value added agriculture expansion! Call Justin to discuss your project, 406.590.1301.
Our Loan Committee approved a $950,000 gap loan for the renovation of a downtown Great Falls property. Due to increasing costs there was a gap in the financing that the bank nor the client could cover. If you have project that needs some further assistance and you want to discuss different options that GFDA may be able to provide please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org
Great Falls is the most pet friendly city in Montana, according to Livability.com. Meat processing has increased 50% in Montana so far in FY 2022 according to the Montana Dept. of Livestock; see KFBB. Montana is the 4th best state for doctors, according to WalletHub; see Montana Digital News.
The new Great Falls Housing Production Task Force held its kick-off meeting. We started brainstorming creative ideas to help make housing more developments more feasible across all price points. If you would like to receive notice of future task force work, email me at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Partners of Touro College Montana, Great Fall’s new medical school, will now be able to begin construction on apartments! The City Commission passed the subdivision and zoning that will allow the property adjacent and to the east of Touro’s med school site to begin construction. The Farran Group has announced their plans to build a lifestyle complex to support that area. MSU College of Nursing plans to construct on the far eastern side of the parcel. Thank you all for investing in Great Falls, Montana!
Worked on nine business attraction projects – all moving at Mach-10 speed! We offer a variety of tools and resources to help projects happen from advocacy, location assistance, gap and bridge loans, state grants, data and more. If you are interested in learning more about how GFDA can help in business attraction, call Jake at 406.403.4937.
Congratulations to the Wild Hare in Downtown Great Falls on their Grand Opening! Check out the walk through we did with Matt Robb, one of the partners on the project. You can view the video on our YouTube page.
Our affiliate High Plains Financial approved a $147,000 SBA 504 loan for a Black Eagle business that wants to secure its future by purchasing the building where they are located. With the SBA rates being low this business decided to take advantage of the FIXED rate for up to 25 years. If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Congratulations to Windrift Hill in Conrad for winning Best in Show Overall at the 2022 Made in Montana trade show! Life in Bloom florists opened in the Times Square building in Downtown Great Falls. The Little Shell Tribe opened its new Health Center in Great Falls; see KFBB. Great Falls College MSU celebrated the first year anniversary of its certified nursing assistant program ; see KRTV. The program has successfully graduated 52 CNA students, a 100% completion rate. 94% of graduates have passed their certification exams and are working for five health care providers in the region. Congratulations!
Do you need a Transload or warehousing services to import or export your goods/products? Jake networked at the Transload Distributors Association of North America TDANA 2022 Annual Conference in Denver this week looking for transloaders to develop a facility in Great Falls. We now have two transloading companies planning trips to Great Falls to consider expanding to our market. Contact Jake if you have interest or want to be involved, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.403.4937.
The U.S. Dept. of Interior announced $57 million in funding for improvements to the Rocky Boy North Central Montana Rural Water System; see KRTV. The St. Mary Diversion water project is going to get $85 million; see Havre Daily News. The U.S. Air Force announced that the new Ground Based Deterrence System is going to be called Sentinel; see TheElectric. The Montana State Fund announced a $40 million refund and an average 3% cost reduction for the state’s largest workers compensation program; see Helena Independent Record.
Join us and other business resource partners for a Business Pitch In Event on April 28th at 6:00 PM at the Cut Bank Creek Brewery in Cut Bank. Our Business Pitch In events designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship and give attendees an opportunity to pitch, discuss their business idea, and meet like-minded people. We’re excited to bring these in-person fun events back! If you would like to partner with us to hold a Business Pitch In event, please contact Lyndsay at Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1539.
We distributed the Transportation & Logistics Findings of our strategic planning consultants to GFDA investors and partners. This is the sixth assessment conducted as part of our post-pandemic deep-dive strategic planning process. Since last fall, we have released child care and housing market assessments, a COVID economic impact and recovery analysis, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) assessments of the Great Falls regional economy and GFDA, and Defense Industry Findings.
What’s it like to live in Great Falls Montana? Get a glimpse through the new Livability Magazine that we launched this week! 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.
Thirty-eight entrepreneurs and HR professionals from around the state participated in this month’s Small Business Webinar Series: Structuring Effective Meetings presentation. To view the recording, click here. Special thanks to this month’s presenter, Marguerite Thordarson, a business advisor with our new Women’s Business Center (WBC). Marguerite focuses on supporting female entrepreneurs specializing in managerial accounting and operations management. Schedule a no-cost meeting with Marguerite. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (406) 668-0456.
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.
Eight entrepreneurs on the Blackfeet Reservation participated in our Website Boot Camp workshop in Browning. We will be hosting another Website Bootcamp in Great Falls on May 11th. Space is limited, sign up early! For questions email Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org
We networked with Downtown Directors and Economic Developers from around the state in Billings for the 13th Annual Montana Downtown & Main Street Conference. They had keynote speakers Jeff Speck, author of Walkable Cities, and Chuck Marohn, author of Strong Towns, as well as other speakers focusing on Downtown development. We were able to come away with some new and fresh ideas to implement in our Downtown.
Thank you to Alluvion Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana for co-sponsoring The Fire Within 2022!. The Fire Within is an annual event put on by GFDA that celebrates female entrepreneurship in our region. The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 19th, 5:30-7:00 PM at the Haute Hive, located at 721 Central Avenue. If you would like more information on the Fire Within, contact Content Marketing Director, Lyndsay Bruno at 406-590-1539 or Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Nominations are open for the 2022 The Fire Within – a celebration of women entrepreneurs! We are seeking nominations of female entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle for Aspire Candidates, women who have been in business under five years, and Inspire Candidates, who have been in business over five years. The awards are achieved by showing strong business acumen and a track record of business success. Nominate your candidates here.
Optimize technology and improve production on the farm/ranch! The College of Agriculture at Montana State University will host a weeklong boot camp highlighting the future of precision agriculture and its potential for use in the state “Sustainable Opportunities in Precision Agriculture” will take place Monday, June 6, through Friday, June 10, at MSU’s campus and its research fields. Each day will run from 8 AM to 5 PM. The event is open to the public. Click here for more information.
The transition is complete! The D-U-N-S number has gone away, and the SAM.gov-generated Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) isnow the authoritative identifier for all U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and Integrated Award Environment (IAE) systems. If you are registered in SAM.gov (active or not), you have already been assigned a UEI (SAM). To register your business in SAM.gov for the first time, get a UEI (SAM), or to find out more information about how this transition affects you, contact your Great Falls PTAC and connect with Shannon at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org
Looking for a Job? Don’t forget to mark May 4th on your calendar to attend the 2022 Great Falls Job Jamboree. The event will be from 3pm to 6pm at Paris Gibson Education Center at 2400 Central Ave. Over 100 major employers will be on-site and ready to hire. Click here for more information.
For those interested in expansion or improvement of their meat processing facilities please check out these grant funding opportunities: USDA AMS is investing up to $25 million to establish a nationwide technical assistance program for meat and poultry processors. The technical assistance will provide support for meat and poultry grant applicants to navigate the application process and to assist grant recipients throughout their project. Click here for more information. USDA also announced a 30-day extension for the Phase 1 Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The new deadline is May 11th. NASDA and other stakeholders sent a letter to USDA Rural Development requesting a 30-day extension. Meat processed in Montana has increased 50% as of Tuesday during the 2022 fiscal year in facilities inspected by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL). In the 2022 fiscal year there has been a total of 68,906 animals, whereas the 2021 fiscal year had a total of 33,964 animals–an increase of 34,942 animals, according to statistics gathered by DOL. For more information on Department of Livestock please visit here.
Montana released a new student loan program for agriculture students. Qualified farmer and ranchers are eligible for five years The total amount of loan repayment assistance may not exceed 50% of the total loans outstanding the minimum award amount is $5,000 dispersed over a five-year period. Application process is now open and closes May 23rd. Click here for more information.
Networked with economic development colleagues and industry leaders at the annual Alberta Economic Development Leaders’ Summit & Conference. Published our GFDA Quarter Index 2022Q1. Volunteered to teach part of the Advanced Revolving Loan Fund online course for the Council of Development Finance Agencies.
GFDA’s investors are the reason we can keep working towards our mission. They believe in economic growth and are happy to support their colleagues in business. Recent investments include: Advance Division—US Bank and North 40 Outifitters; Flagship Division—Arc Apartment Homes; Leadership Division—ADF Group, Inc. Community Division—The Wendt Agency, Culligan Water of Great Falls, Falcon, Lester & Schaff, P.C., First American Title Co., and Hi Line Moving and Storage. They are part of the team that is Growing Great Falls! If you would like to be a part of the team, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Have a great week! I’m flying off to Silicon Valley to network with state leaders at the StartUp Grind event.
President & CEO