Great Falls Development Authority Small Business Development Center in conjunction with the Choteau Chamber of Commerce hosted a Business Pitch event at Copper Creek Coffee in Choteau this week. Five entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to create new businesses to an energy filled audience creating positive round table discussion that helped further these ideas towards becoming reality. Are you interested in hosting a Business Pitch in your community? If so please reach out to our Small Business Navigator Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.
GFDA’s Top 10
Here is our Top 14 for last 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.
2) Big Sandy Organics is a local company that has been working with our small business and government contracting advisors. Recently their product Kracklin’ Kamut, was featured online in Food and Wine Magazine under “Best Snack Every State – Montana”. It’s exciting to see unique products from Montana getting such great exposure.
3) The Great Falls City Commission approved downtown tax increment funds to support the work of the Downtown Development Partnership including our Downtown Business Development Officer position that we created in partnership with the Business Improvement District (BID) and ArtsFest Montana, a great BID project. See TheElectric.
4) The Cascade County Commission approved the property tax abatement for the major Calumet Montana Renewables project. See TheElectric.
5) Jake and Jolene submitted a case for Great Falls to an exciting business in response to a lead from our friends at the Montana Department of Commerce. The proposal highlighted that Great Falls has the best Montana has to offer, and at a fraction of the cost of other markets in the state. The company is now planning a trip to Great Falls to see for themselves what opportunity is here to locate their business. If you know of a company that would be a great fit for Great Falls, put our business attraction resources to work and contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or Jolene Schalper at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.
6) Farm and ranch retail business Western Feed Corral has expanded operations at their Vaughn Road location. Close proximity to the Northwest Bypass and available commercial lots makes this area rip for more development. Learn more in the Announcement of the Week.
7) Met with Northwestern Energy leadership to discuss critical gas and electric transmission issues that affect our region and most of Montana. GFDA’s board has voted to create a task force to work on transmission capacity issues.
8) Plans are moving forward to redevelop a historic downtown Great Falls building to create 50 affordable apartments. The Great Falls City Commission approved a $1.2 million Community Development Block Grant loan for The Madison Apartments project. See TheElectric.
9) A new $300 million program, the Organic Transition Initiative designed to help Ag producers transition land into organic status, was rolled out this week by USDA. By transitioning to Organic producers have a chance to capture other markets that in many cases can yield a higher premium for their commodities. The initiative will deliver wrap-around technical assistance, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring; provide direct support through conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance, and support market development projects in targeted markets. For more information on this initiative please visit the USDA website or contact Justin Loch at 406-590-1301 or Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org.
10) Shelby Safari recently re-opened in Downtown Shelby, in addition to providing a great place for kids to play they have recently added frozen yogurt and snacks to their customers, read the full article in The Shelby Promoter.
11) With harvest season wrapping up across most of the Great Falls region, its nice to see a portion of our crops staying right here in the area and being turned into a value added project. Farm Power Malt in Power Montana and Golden Triangle Brew Co. in Fort Benton were featured in a news story this week on KRTV focusing on crops being taken from farm to brewery. Breweries are a big business across Montana and its even greater when they can use products grown right here in Montana. For more information on value added agriculture or how you might be able to start and grow your ag based business please contact Justin at 406-590-1301 or Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org.
12) The Great Falls Health and Bioscience Economic Development Strategy Retreat is scheduled for September 28th. Our consultants from Tripp Umbach will join us in-person to share the results of their study and facilitate working groups with key players in our local Health Bioscience and education community. If you and your business would like to be part of the conversation and/or the retreat, please contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org. Retreat details will be available next week.
13) We expect to soon launch a new low interest loan participation product in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce that will provide 50/50 loan participations with your bank or credit union. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.
14) GFDA relies on our team of INVESTORS. With each check, they are helping our community make positive changes & take control of our future. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Pacific Steel & Recycling; Leadership Division—Admiral Beverage, Pepsi of Great Falls. They are committed to long term support which will help our region grow. If you want to join the team that is driving the growth in the region, Contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Still catching up on great Top 10 content!
President & CEO
Here is a Growth Highlights for the Great Falls Montana Trade Area. Our Menu of Services and Staff Team handout. Here is our GFDA 2022Q2 Quarter Index. In case you missed it at Ignite 2022, we unveiled our new We Are Great Falls video!
Great GFDA Career Opportunity!
We’re adding a second Business Development Officer to focus on growing the Food, Ag & Bio Processing Industries in the region. Download Career Opportunity.
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 JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org
August SBA 504 Loan Rates
The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) came in at 4.977%; 20-year at 4.886%; 10-year equipment loan at 4.962%; and, 20-year refinance 4.900%; 25-year refinance 4.990%. 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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Events, Business Training, and Opportunities
The third in a series of STAR (Strategic Teaming Alliance Roundtable) Roundtables with Northrup Grumman and other Prime contractors will be held September 15th at 8:00 AM (MST). This roundtable is designed to be a resource for small businesses to learn how to team up and/or bid on government contracts available on or near the missile wing Air Force bases and beyond. For more information on this event, contact LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or register here.
We have nine great companies ready to launch our next PeerSpectives Roundtable cohort. If your company is growing and experiencing the pains of growth, perhaps the insights of others who are going through the same thing could be beneficial. The PeerSpectives Roundtable for second stage companies will meet 10 times per year, share experiences, and work problems in real time. TWe have room for one or two more companies, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.
The Montana Department of Agriculture has recently started accepting applications for the annual Growth Through Ag program. Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) is a grant and loan program designed to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry. There is a basic “pre-application” process that applicants must submit by September 12th. For more information visit the GTA page, or contact Rich Gannon at 406-836-2078 or email RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov 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 SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.
Invest Downtown 2022 will be held on October 20th from 10 AM-Noon at The Newberry and planning is currently underway. If you know of a great Downtown businesses to highlight or if you have an opportunity that is ripe for development, please email Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406.836.0136.
The new CDL truck driver training program at Great Falls College MSU will launch in August. Eight local employers are partnering to get it started, but more are needed. Thank you to Sysco, Meadow Gold Dairy Farmers, Gusto Distributing, City of Great Falls, REIC – Midway, Warden Paper, Holman Aviation, Hoven Equipment for partnering with the college! See CDL Business Partnership Framework. Congratulations to the College, Great Falls Job Service, Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and industry leaders for putting this together! Contact Tammie Hickey for more info at 406-771-5104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re co-hosting 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 supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Download preliminary agenda. Sponsor a session! Contact Rebecca Myers at email@example.com or me at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org.
The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announced the inaugural Worlds of Work! (WOW). WOW is a career expo pioneered by West Alabama Works. Though NOT a typical job fair, this event opens new avenues of opportunity for middle school students they never knew were possible. The Chamber’s goal this first year is to have sixteen Worlds, each representing one of Montana’s sixteen recognized career pathways. On October 18th, 2022, WOW will be held at Great Falls College – MSU and the University of Providence (inside and outside) from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Area 8th graders will be divided into groups and will have a navigator who will guide them to each of the worlds, where they will explore for approximately 20-25 minutes before traveling to the next world. WOW Varsity, the block for high school students, will be in the late afternoon, and will include sophomores only for this first year. Check out the West Alabama WOW. Contact Scott Wolff for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Montana Food & Beverage Show will be held November 7th in Missoula. Register at: AGR.MT.GOV/FOOD-AND-BEVERAGE-SHOW.
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 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 RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.
Montana Rapid Retraining funds are available to help more people enroll in workforce training programs and expand industry-driven accelerated workforce training courses. The Great Falls Job Service can assist with Rapid Retaining Efforts. Contact Beth Schmidt at 406-791-5869 or email@example.com. For business strategy/planning help to take advantage of this one-time opportunity, contact our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) regional director, Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org
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 https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/. For more information on starting the verification process, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.
The best resource we scan daily to stay abreast of business and community innovation is MATR.net (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 Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.
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 Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.
Looking to take control of your business’s financials, increase profit, and improve your bottom line? We have had interest from businesses in scheduling a Profit Mastery course. These courses are scheduled by demand. If you are interested in taking this two-day workshop, contact Jason Nitschke at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org or call (406) 750-0314.
Visit our relocation website LiveInGreatFalls.com. 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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.
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.