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Congratulations to the Monarch-Neihart Historical Group for renovation of the historic Monarch Train Depot! See Great Falls Tribune. Photo by David Murray of Great Falls Tribune.

1) Per capita personal income in Cascade County grew almost three times greater than the national average in 2022 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Per capita income locally grew by 4.5% in 2022 compared to 1.6% across the nation. Cascade County outperformed Lewis & Clark County which saw per capita personal income growth of 2.1%, Flathead County at 2.8%, Missoula County at 3.2%, and Silver Bow County and Yellowstone County at 3.4%; all the urban counties except for Gallatin at 6.5%. Per capita income in Cascade County reached 87% of the national average which puts us above cost of living which is at 85% of the national average. We still have work to do to reach the Montana average per capita income which is at 93.5% of the national average. The rural counties in our trade area did well in 2022, recovering from lower per capita incomes in 2021 due to drought affecting agriculture earnings.

2) Congratulations to Brooke Thompson on opening Novo Medical Spa in Lewistown; see Lewistown Argus News.

3) Christian Leinhauser participated in the Urban Land Institutes Emerging Trends in Montana Real Estate event in Bozeman where he connected with more than 50 developers and brokers who are operating in our region. This engagement provided him with valuable insights into the current preferences and requirements of developers in today's market. Additionally, Christian successfully established significant connections with key developers, further enriching his network within the real estate community and garnering interest in downtown Great Falls. If you know of any developers that would be interested in the downtown Great Falls market, call Christian at 1-406-836-0136 or [email protected].

4) Congratulations to Calumet's Montana Renewables on winning a BNSF 2023 Sustainability Award!

5) Interviewed three finalists firms for the Downtown Great Falls Market Demand Assessment and Economic Transformation Strategy that we plan to start soon with the Downtown Development Partnership.

6) Linda Michaels Salon & Spa moved to downtown Great Falls two short years ago and are already expanding their downtown location to offer clients additional services and beauty treatment options. Learn more in our Announcement of the Week.

7) Lyndsay participated in the Young, Smart and Local Conference in New Orleans. Young, Smart, and Local is a three-day conference designed to inform and engage leaders from higher education, business, government, economic development, and community organizations on best practices around talent attraction, growth, and retention. If you need help with talent recruitment, contact Lyndsay at 1-406-590-1539 or [email protected] to learn more about our tools and resources to help you with workforce development. 

8) Jill and I were also in New Orleans meeting with SBA leaders at the annual SBA 504 trade association conference, NADCO. There are some great new opportunities for businesses to use SBA 504 loans for refinancing, energy efficiency and renewable energy, property and equipment acquisitions, and expansions. We also are bow able to use GFDA interim gap financing to help local lenders approve more deals. According to Kiplinger, just 20% of small-business loan applications are getting approved these days, roughly half the rate in 2019. We can work with you and your bank or credit union to fill gaps and oftentimes lock in lower interest rates. Contact Jill at 1-406-590-1056 or [email protected].

9) Great Falls Public Schools is adding a new component to its career and technical education program in January. BuildMontana is a heavy equipment program created by the Montana Contractors Association and implemented in Billings. This pathway is currently led/taught by industry partners in the Billings area, according to GFPS officials; see TheElectric.

10) USDA announced that it is initiating a new effort to further support the U.S. specialty crops sectorand increase the competitiveness of its products. If you are a specialty crop producer or processor and would like to know what resources there are to support your business, reach out to Anna at [email protected] or 1-406-590-1301. 

11) Mega site development, innovative negotiation strategies, team leadership, project management were some of the many in depth topics covered by site selectors, university professors, and economic development professionals at the Advanced Economic Development Leadership course this week. Jolene was able to attend and earned certification as a Master Economic Development Practitioner. 

12) The City of Great Falls is committed to constantly improving its development processes and takes pride in providing an efficient and collaborative approach to development in our community. To maintain high standards of service, the Development Review Team, consisting of staff from Planning and Community Development, Public Works, and the Fire Department, is currently conducting a Development Review Audit survey. The purpose of the audit is to identify areas for improvement in City development processes, your input is welcome! 

13) Small Business Saturday is on November 25. Supporting local businesses not only benefits the local economy, but it also benefits YOU! Check out the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce business directory and Destination Downtown Great Falls for a listing of retail locations and Small Business Saturday promotions.

14) GFDA participates in the Montana State Small Business Initiative (SSBCI 2.0) program that helped provide a lower interest rate on 50% of the funding. We've been partnering with local banks and credit unions to put together some creative financing packages for business startups and expansions, but this low-interest money is vrey limited and first come, first serve so contact us today if you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a SSBCI 2.0 loan participation. Contact Jill at [email protected] or 1-406-590-1056 or Brett at [email protected] or 1-406-750-2119.

15) GFDA is currently soliciting response to three Requests for Proposals: a Transportation and Logistics Assessment Strategy, an Energy Production Opportunity Assessment and Economic Development Strategy, as well as for Brownfields Professional Services in conjunction with our FY2023 Assessment Grant. All active RFPs are available on our website, and any questions can be directed to the team members whose contact information is provided within each RFP. Deadlines are fast approaching!

16) The Great Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is continuing its efforts to develop the 2023 Great Falls Area Long Range Transportation Plan. The plan will assist the planning partners and broader community in guiding transportation infrastructure investments based on system needs and anticipated developments over the 2045 planning horizon. The planning team has recently published the Goals and Objectives Memorandum outlining updated goals and meaningful action items to help guide improvements and implementation of the transportation plan. These goals and objectives were developed to ensure consistency with local, state, and federal planning efforts while reflecting evolving community values and priorities. The memo is now posted to the plan website ( The planning team will continue to collect and consider all public comments as the Plan progresses.

17) Regional economic development is a team effort. Our investors and public partners play a crucial role. Their annual financial contributions support our work, alongside the industry knowledge expertise needed to successfully grow the economy. Discover more about who they are here. They are the driving force behind our community's remarkable progress. To learn about the priorities in our economic development strategy and ways to assist us in reaching our goals, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 1-406-781-9499 or [email protected]. Together, we can build a sustainable and vibrant community.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Brett Doney

President & CEO


[email protected]


Connect with me on  LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls Montana region. Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

Subscribe to the Grow Great Falls Montana YouTube channel!

"To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well."

Isaac Asimov

Edition 608


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 [email protected]


NEW! SBA Rates

November SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) is 7.019%; 20-year at 7.020%; 10-year equipment loan at 7.207%; and, 20-year refinance 7.050%; 25-year refinance 7.048%. 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 1-406-590-1056 or [email protected].

Events, Business Trainings & Opportunities

The Montana Department of Commerce has reopened applications for the Montana Manufacturing Automation Loan Program offering 0.0% interest loans for up to 50% of the purchase price of automation equipment. If you are short of cash, we may be able to finance the other half as well as installation expenses. These are one-time funds so apply today. Let me know if you need help.

Are you planning any international marketing activities in 2024? The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) run by the Export Montana team at the Montana Department of Commerce has a host of export support services and federal grants available for businesses up to $12,000. They're awesome to work with! Our Small Business Advisor, Rich Gannon, can help too and he is also awesome! [email protected] or 1-406-836-2078.

Have you created or updated your Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) profile? A strong profile can significantly boost your contracting success by increasing your visibility to local, state, and federal agencies seeking goods and services. If you would like more information on how to create or update your DSBS profile, contact Shannon Clancy at [email protected] or 1-406-590-1184.

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 [email protected] or 1-406-403-4937.

USDA has launched a new online tool to assist small businesses in identifying procurement opportunities; see USDA's Procurement Forecast.

Zero to 5 has launched the Montana Child Care Business Connect website to help support the startup and expansion of early childcare businesses. 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 [email protected] or 1-406-836-2078.

One of the many tools we have for renovating your building in Downtown Great Falls is the City's Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Grant. This 50% match grant can help with Façade, Building Code Compliance, and Safety & Security. One of the biggest uses of this grant is Fire Suppression and updating the face of your building. To find out more about this grant, call Christian at 1-406-836-0136 or email [email protected]. Let's discuss how TIF and other tools can help you change the face of Downtown Great Falls. 

Employers, are you looking for timely data on our local workforce? JobsEQ for Workforce is a software tool that provides timely data on our local workforce and employers—including demographics, occupations, wages, certifications, and more. Contact Lyndsay Bruno at [email protected] or 1-406-590 – 1539 to be connected with a JobsEQ-trained Business Advisor today. To learn more about GFDA's other talent attraction tools, visit our website

We launched the new Livability Great Falls Magazine. Find and share Livability Great Falls online, or contact Lyndsay Bruno for hard copies of the magazine: [email protected] or 1-406-590-1539. 

Recruiters, are you hiring for a job position that is:  

  • High level 
  • High salary 
  • Out-of-the-box/unique/creative? 

Help us attract workforce to move to Great Falls - send a one-sentence description of the job, 3-5 of your company's top employee benefits, salary (if listed), and a link to apply for your job to [email protected] to be included in the Hot Jobs in Great Falls blog post.  

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.

The Montana Department of Commerce has extended the application deadline to December 31st for the Montana Cybersecurity Program, which will provide up to $8,000 reimbursement for your cybersecurity expenses. 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.

USDA opened a new round of Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants and loans. Rural small businesses and agricultural producers can use the funds to make energy-efficiency improvements, lower operating costs, or install renewable energy systems. Quarterly competitions will be held through December 31st. See for more info. Or for help applying, contact Anna Flies: [email protected] or 1-406-590-1301

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center has launched the Certified Manufacturing Associate Apprenticeship program. This one-year program combines on-the-job training with online technical classes on safety, math and measurements, manufacturing processes, and quality control.

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), 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 to provide with your Sources Sought reply? If not, contact Lillian Sunwall at 1-406-750-1253 or [email protected]. For more information on the Notice, click here.

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 [email protected]. We also have some small business or nonprofit startup/expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

Do you have open government contracts? Is your registration 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 1-406-590-1184 or [email protected] 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.

The Montana TechLink Center at MSU is offering a new round of workshops on how to win Small Business Innovation Research funding.

We have migrated our pre-business workshop for early stage and pre-venture startups to a self-paced, video-facilitated, online format called Business Basics for Startups. If you’d like to check out the content and provide feedback, we’d appreciate it. We also provide monthly Business Strategy Webinars, which are recorded and available for viewing online at any time. Looking to start, innovate or grow your business? We offer a variety of training options to ensure your success. Click here to check out all of GFDA's training resources. For more information or to give feedback about these programs, please contact Rich at 1-406-836-2078 or [email protected].

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.

Join our Trailing Partner Email Group specifically for local 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.

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.

Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: "LivePlan is Awesome!" The LivePlan tool is helping 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.

Grow diverse economic opportunities that enhance quality of life.

GFDA is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a 501(c)3 charitable organization. High Plains Financial is a certified Community Development Corporation that offers SBA 504 loans statewide. GFDA and High Plains Financial are Equal Opportunity Employers, Lenders and Providers.

GFDA is proud to host a Montana Small Business Development Center, a Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center, and a Montana Food & Ag Development Center. We are also proud to provide office space for MSU's Montana Manufacturing Extension Center.

GFDA was the first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to earn accreditation from the International Economic Development Council.

Great Falls Development Alliance |

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