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We are excited about the Bayview housing development proposed along the Missouri River in Great Falls. Housing production is our top priority to provide quality housing for residents and keep our community as affordable as possible. In fill development is the most cost effective way for the city to increase housing without having to service additional areas.

1) GFDA has committed a $323,200 brownfields clean-up grant to Great Falls Public Schools for the CM Russell High School Auditorium renovation. We're excited to be able to support this great community project!

2) Four companies have now signed purchase agreements on lots in the Great Falls AgriTech Park! If your business needs a site zoned heavy industrial with all utilities and rail, contact Jolene Schalper at 1-406-750-4481 or [email protected]. We still have about 200 acres available with customizable lots.

3) Congratulations to the University of Providence Women's Basketball team on winning second place in the NAIA National championships! Read more from the Argos.  

4) This week, our Great Falls Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted another business technical training session. Ten entrepreneurs joined us for a few hours on Wednesday morning to discuss their businesses' digital marketing footprint. Establishing and maintaining a strong digital presence in today's market is increasingly important. Don't let your business fall behind in the digital age, if you’re struggling with digital marketing reach out to our SBDC business advising team for assistance, contact Rich Gannon at [email protected] or sign up directly for one on one business advising here.

5) Hometana has doubled its space in Downtown Great Falls. See KRTV.

6) Enough has changed since 2021 that we partnered with the Home Builders Association of Great FallsNeighborWorks Great Falls, the Great Falls Association of Realtors to commission an updated housing market demand assessment by the Concord Group. We will be releasing the study, hearing about recent housing developments, and hearing from companies driving the demand on April 17 at Great Falls College. Register for the 2024 Great Falls Housing Summit!  

7) Our own Showdown Montana local ski hill was featured in the new Powder Pup movie released on March 26th  Check out the trailer

8) We hope you will join us at this year’s Fire Within Awards, taking place on Thursday, April 18th from 5:30-7:30 PM at the Haute Hive. This year we are celebrating a record 31 women business owners! Help us celebrate these incredible women by registering here!

9) The State Small Business Credit Initiative 2.0 (SSBCI 2.0) low interest rate program opened their application portal on March 22nd. The application portal is only open until April 12th. These funds can be used for business purposes including purchasing real estate, equipment or working capital. If you have a project that could move forward with the benefit of low interest rate funding, contact Jill Kohles at [email protected] or 1-406-590-1056.

10) A second round of Ag Infrastructure funding will open on April 1st. If you are an ag or food manufacturing business looking to purchase equipment, to upgrade your facility, or hire consulting services and have a clear project in mind, please reach out to Anna Flies. She can go over the funding guidelines and discuss eligibility. Reach her at 1-406-590-1301 or [email protected]  

11) Jake went down to East Helena to look at an innovative housing development being done by Habitat for humanity and their partners. Learn more about this exciting project on KTVH

12) Join employers across diverse industries at a hiring fair and career exploration on April 24 from 11 AM to 6 PM at the Mansfield Convention Center. Employer booths available fur $25 Great Falls Area Chamber Members and $50 Non-Chamber Members. Admission is free for attendees. Sign up for the event here

13) Anna and Nicki met with businesses who will be selling at the Farmers Market. The Great Falls Farmers Market opens on June 1st from 8:30am-1:00pm. New this year, there will be a night market on Thursdays, starting July 11th from 6:30pm-8:30 PM at Lions Park by the new Aim High Big Sky Aquatics Center. If you are looking to start or grow your own food and ag business and would like to know more about resources to support you, reach out to Nicki at [email protected] or 1-406-750-2099. 

14) Are you considering bidding on contracts related to the upcoming Sentinel Project? Are you aware that it takes two years to become approved as a vendor for these contracts? If you haven't initiated the process yet, it's essential to connect with Great Falls APEX to begin. For further details, reach out to Lillian Sunwall at [email protected] or call 1-406-750-1253.

15) Managing Cash Flow: The Lifeblood of Any Business. For any business, ensuring a healthy cash flow is essential for not only survival, but growth and success. Cash flow is the amount of money moving in and out of a company at any given time. Even a highly profitable company can get into trouble if it does not have enough actual cash on hand to cover its expenses and obligations. Remember, cash Is king!

Negative cash flow, where more cash is going out than coming in, can cripple operations and growth. Businesses need to be proactive about monitoring cash flow through good planning and practices. Here are some tips for better cash flow management:

1.Create a cash flow forecast. One of the most important things you can do is develop a cash flow projection that looks ahead 12-24 months. This allows you to see when cash shortages may occur so you can plan accordingly. Include accounts receivable projections, estimated expenses, loan payments, and any other cash outs. Review and update the forecast monthly.

2.Encourage customers to make early/prompt payments. On the revenue side, encourage customers to pay their invoices quickly by offering a small discount for early payment. You can also include late payment penalties in your policy. The faster money comes in, the better your cash position will be. 

3.Manage inventory carefully. For product companies, inventory can freeze up a lot of your cash. Do not let inventory get beyond needed levels. Lean practices and just-in-time ordering from suppliers can minimize cash tied up in inventory.

4.Stretch out payments. On the expense side, take advantage of any options to stretch out payment terms with vendors and suppliers. Ask for net-60 or net-90-day payment windows, if possible, instead of net-30. This gives you more runway to collect revenue before expenses are due.

5.Find the right financing. Having a line of credit can provide a valuable cash flow cushion when money is tight. Shop around with lenders for the best rates and terms. Equipment leasing is another option that can free up cash compared to buying equipment outright.  

6.Trim expenses. Always be looking for ways to cut unnecessary expenses and eliminate waste. Review all expenses closely and cut anything that is not critical to operations or growth. A lean mentality is key for cash flow.

7.Monitor and prioritize. Cash flow management requires constant monitoring and prioritizing where every dollar goes. Establish processes and automation to track receivables, payables, and cash balances in real-time. Prioritize expenses when cash is tight, such as making payroll the top priority. You can use accounting software like QuickBooks or WaveApps to do so.

By following practices like these, businesses can maintain a positive cashflow cycle and keep the cash flowing in a healthy direction. Good cash flow management is the key to putting your business on a stable, sustainable path. Want more information on managing cash flow, tools to use, or how to use QuickBooks and Wave? Please reach out to Al Gohary at [email protected] or 1-406-750-0314.

16) We are pleased to announce that we are the recipients of $90,000 in grants from the FHLB Des Moines match program. Thank you to Stockman Bank for providing the match granting us an additional $80,000 and First Bank of Montana for submitting us for an additional $10,000. These funds will support our work in creating an Angel Investor Network and the launch of our Regional Local Foods Partnership. We couldn’t be more excited for the impact this will have on the region and are thankful for the support. We are still awaiting notice from three other bank partners.

17) The deadline to submit a proposal in response to GFDA’s Request for Proposals for an Energy Production Opportunity Assessment is this Friday, April 5 by 5:00PM MST. Electronic submissions and any questions regarding the RFPs can be directed to Tyler Menzales at [email protected] or by calling 1-406-217-7862.

18) We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Jesse Waldenberg of Central Plumbing, Heating & Excavation to the GFDA Board of Directors. Jesse brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team, having joined Central in 2005. We're privileged to have him at the table, where his insights and strategic acumen will undoubtedly contribute to the continued success and prosperity of our region. Welcome to the team Jesse!

19) We Are Growing Our Awesome Staff Team. Download a description of openings for Loan Officer and Communications & Marketing Specialist.

20) Community investment plays a crucial role in economic development by fostering an environment where businesses can thrive, jobs are created, and local economies are strengthened. We extend our thanks to all GFDA investors and public partners for their continued support. Learn more about them by viewing this short video. Recent investments include: Community Division—Action Plumbing & Construction LTD Co. Their contributions are fundamental to our mission and the positive impact we create in our community. If you’d like to learn about our economic development strategy and be a part of the growth in our region, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 1-406-781-9499 or [email protected].

I'm headed back to DC Monday to meet with federal leaders in our continued effort to bring more resources to Great Falls and the surrounding 13-county rural and tribal region.

Happy Easter!



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!

"You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination."

Ralph Marston

Edition 626


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]


March 2024 SBA 504 Loan Interest Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) is 6.281%; 20-year at 6.36%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.587%; and, 20-year refinance 6.39%; 25-year refinance 6.31%. 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

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.

The Montana Department of Commerce has extended the deadline for businesses to apply for a cybersecurity grant up to $8,000. Apply by April 30th. More info here.

We need your help! We are looking for accredited investors to join us at Great Falls Development Alliance’s inaugural Angel Investor Networking Event. The purpose of this event is to connect those who are looking for strategic investment opportunities within the Great Falls region with real estate developers, start-up entrepreneurs, and expanding businesses who are seeking equity. If you are an accredited investor looking to put your money to use in the Great Falls region, contact Tyler Menzales at [email protected] or call 1-406-217-7862

We have set the date for the initial cross-border partnership visit with Economic Development Lethbridge for May 8th through the 10th. This partnership will focus on creating an agri-food corridor to promote cross border trade and agri-business investment into North Central Montana and Southern Alberta. If you would like to learn more or are a business leader interested in traveling on this visit, please reach out to Anna at [email protected] or at 1-406-590-1301. Manufacturers, if you don't get the monthly newsletter from the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center you are missing out on great training and other resources. Check out MMEC's February Newsletter.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is partnering with the USDA and the Agricultural Marketing Services to help strengthen the resiliency of Montana food systems. Is your food company focused on middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, or distribution of targeted agricultural products? If so, there is a new funding opportunity for your projects. Discuss this new opportunity and check your eligibility with Anna by reaching out at [email protected] or 1-406-590-1301.

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 Jake Clark at [email protected] or 1-406-403-4937 to be connected with a JobsEQ-trained Business Advisor today. To learn more about GFDA's other talent attraction tools, visit our website

We still have a few copies of the 2023 Livability Great Falls talent attraction magazine. Find and share Livability Great Falls online, or contact Tracy Heggem for hard copies: [email protected] or 1-406-788-1192. 

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.

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 March 31st. For 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.

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 Christian Nichols at 1-406-788-9385 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 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.

Our Mission

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 APEX Accelerator, and a Montana Food & Ag Development Center. GFDA is a certified Montana MicroBusiness Development Corporation.

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

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