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The new field at the Great Falls Voyagers is ready for action. Thank you to the City of Great Falls for investing in its ballpark. Opening night this Tuesday!
GFDA's Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for the 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) Students of Great Falls Public Schools celebrated completion of the 45th High School House! See KRTV. Development of a 24-lot subdivision in Ft. Benton is making progress; see KRTV.

2) We were on hand to speak in favor of NeighborWorks Great Falls request to the Great Falls City Commissioners for HOME and HOME-ARPA funds for $2.15 million for the Baatz project. The Commissioners unanimously approved this project as it fits the intention of the HOME and HOME-ARPA funding perfectly and is critical for the renovation of the Baatz building to move forward. To learn more, read TheElectric story here.

3) Brett and Jake represented GFDA as sponsors and exhibitors at the Montana Housing Partnership Conference in Helena. We were able to make great connections, especially with firms pursuing tax credit housing projects in Great Falls. Jake was also featured on a panel describing the opportunity to partner with local economic development organizations, bringing valuable tools to complex projects. If you have a project that could use some support and would like to know more about available tools, please contact Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org

4) GFDA supports the Great Falls Library Mill Levy going for a vote in the special election on June 6. 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 VoteYesGreatFallsLibrary.org.

5) Patti Jo Lane has opened Folláin Physical Therapy at the Haute Hive co-working space in Great Falls at 721 Central, Suite 210. Patti Jo has practiced in Great Falls for 20 years and is excited to open her own practice. Learn more about ways the Haute Hive co-working space is an ideal location for Patti Jo Lane's practice in our Announcement of the Week. 

6) The State Small Business Credit Initiative 2.0 (SSBCI 2.0) low interest rate program is accepting new applications. If you have a project that could move forward with the benefit of low interest rate funding. 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 or 1-406-590-1056.

7) Rocky Boy Health Center is getting a new $11.3 million facility; see Missoulian. Teton Peak Assisted Living in Choteau has expanded, adding seven independent living rooms; see Choteau Acantha.

8) Our APEX Accelerator (formerly Procurement Technical Assistance Center) team met with Martin DeWitt, Senior Area Manager, Montana District Office from SBA. We discussed SBA Set-Aside Certifications, what is going on with government contracting in our region and what trainings are available for APEX to assist our small businesses. If you would like more information on how Set-Aside Certifications can give your business an edge in bidding on contract opportunities, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) We are working to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as pulse crops and fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). If you are a Specialty Crop producer in North Central, Montana we have resources that can help! Please contact Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.788.0860. 

10) GFDA completed a Phase I for the Carter Commons Project in downtown Great Falls. We are excited to see this much needed, affordable housing project take it’s next step towards completion. For more information on how Our Team can help you with your upcoming projects, please contact LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org.

11) The 341st Contracting Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base (MAFB) in coordination with the GF PTAC/APEX Accelerator office (GFDA) is holding a “Meeting With Industry” event for a potential Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC) with an anticipated aggregate capacity of $200 million. The event will be held at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center at 1100 5th Street South, Great Falls, MT, on 31 May from 9:00 AM to approximately 11:00 AM. Presentation topics will include the following: Capabilities of the PTAC/APEX Accelerator office, Mission and unique contracting requirements at MAFB, Roles of relevant agencies and personnel at MAFB, including the Small Business Program, and MACC general scope, estimated timelines, and “checklist items” for potential offerors. There will also be time for questions and answers. Attendees should bring copies of their capability statements and can reference the relevant Sources Sought posted to SAM.gov for more information. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org. To register for the event click here.  

12) Jake had the opportunity to feature the Great Falls housing demand in a webinar hosted by the Urban Land Institute on May 11. As a follow up, Jake is headed to Boise, ID on June 9th to meet with interested developers. If you have suggestions for meetings Jake should set up while he is in Boise, please connect with Jake at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) Great Falls Public Schools plays a pivotal role in preparing students for in-demand jobs in fields such as agriculture, health care and industrial technology. We are producing a series of videos featuring top employers in Great Falls. This week we highlight Ms. Reannon Medrano. Ms. Medrano relocated to Great Falls this year from Texas and teaches high school math at CMR and Great Falls High. Ms. Medrano talks about the excellent support system GFPS has for new teachers and staff. Watch the video here. Learn more about top employers in the Great Falls region at LiveinGreatFalls.com.

14) If you’ve ever wanted to buy a building or open a business in Downtown Great Falls, now is the time!  There are currently multiple buildings for lease and sale and we have the tools to help make your dream into a reality. Call Christian at 406-836-0136 and let’s discuss how we can help you Invest in Downtown Great Falls!

15) Are you a farm, ranch, or other agricultural worker that earns a wage but still has a hard time supporting yourself and your family? Rural Employment Opportunity's National Farmworker Jobs Program offers opportunities for workers, and/or their qualifying family members, to improve their earning capacity in agriculture or in careers outside of agriculture. Click here for more information or contact Katesha at 1-406-788-0860 or Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org

16) This week Tony will be heading east to Billings to attend the Montana Economic Developers Association conference. This is a great opportunity to connect and learn from leaders in the economic development community and to bring those ideas back to the Great Falls region. Do you know how to partner with economic developers to benefit your project? Reach out to Tony, our Small Business Navigator to learn how! Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org

17) Jake and Brett are on the road again this week. Next stop, Las Vegas, NV, for the International Council of Shopping Centers annual conference. This three-day event is an opportunity to connect with dealmakers and industry experts to bring more retail variety to the Great Falls market. Have a space you'd like to fill with a national or regional brand? Reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org

18) Help put together the new transportation plan for the Great Falls area. The Great Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization is developing the 2023 Great Falls Area Long Range Transportation Plan. They are holding a public open house on Monday, May 22, 4:00-6:00 PM in the Commission Chambers of the Great Falls Civic Center. More info on TheElectric.

19) We are grateful to our dedicated INVESTORS & public partners. Their investment paves the way for economic progress, innovation, and prosperity, and we are privileged to have them as partners in our mission.Learn more about them HERE. Recent investments include: Community Division-Hi-Line Moving & Storage. They are helping us to implement strategic initiatives, attract investments, and foster sustainable growth in our region. Contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how you can be a part of the team that is growing Great Falls!

Flew to Las Vegas at o'dark hundred this morning for three days of networking with real estate brokers, developers, retailers, restauranters, and hoteliers.

Make it an exciting week!


Brett Doney

President & CEO

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!

"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."

Francis Bacon

Edition 583

Download our GFDA Services and Staff Team handout or our GFDA 2023Q1 Quarter Index. View the We Are Great Falls video!

GFDA Staff Openings

We have two great career opportunities to join the GFDA staff team. Download info on Business Development Officer and Small Business Advisor -- Director Regional Small Business Development Center. GFDA is proud to be an 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 JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

May SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate (including all fees) is 6.020%; 20-year at 6.072%; 10-year equipment loan at 6.036%; and, 20-year refinance 6.090%; 25-year refinance 6.038%. 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

We launched the new Livability Great Falls Magazine. Find and share Livability Great Falls online or contact Lyndsay Bruno at Lyndsay@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 590 – 1539 for hard copies of the magazine. 

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

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

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

The 2023 Montana Food and Beverage Show, hosted by the Montana Department of Agriculture, is scheduled for October 16 in Missoula. The show allows Montana businesses ro showcase their food and beverage products to professional buyers from restaurants, hotels, bars, retailers, and more.

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.

Navy Week - Doing Business with the Department of Navy & GovMatch Event (Billings Depot on Montana Avenue) - Join the Montana APEX Accelerator (formerly known as Procurement Technical Assistance Center - PTAC) August 9th from 9 AM – 5 PM as they welcome Mr. David E. Walz to Billings. Mr. Walz is the Deputy Small Business Program, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport. He serves as the principal advisor and advocate to the commander, senior management, contracts, and the technical department on all matters pertaining to small business program. During this event, businesses will receive information on the following topics: 1. Department of the Navy (DON) Office of Small Business Programs' Achievements and Goals 2. The DON OSBP Mentor-Protégé Program 3. Preparing for the DON procurement process 4. Resources and assistance to help businesses 5. GovMatch event in the afternoon. You will be able to meet with various other federal agencies in the afternoon. To register, click here. If you have any questions, contact Shannon Clancy SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 to lower operating costs or to install renewable energy systems. Quarterly competitions will be held through September 30th. See MATR.net for more info. USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grants program is also open. This program helps independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer businesses to start or expand processing operations or marketing of processed ag products. Applications are due May 11. Contact Katesha Campbell if you would like help with applying; Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-788-0860. 

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

The Montana Department of Commerce has an open Recovery Destination Event grant round. Eligible Montana events that attract tourists could win grants up to $25,000.

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 Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org. For more information on the Notice, click here.

Are you working on a project that will not only bring new agricultural opportunities to Montana's rural communities but also provide education to youth and adults alike? Then the Montana Farmers Union Grant might be for you! Competitive grants are open to anyone in Montana. Deadline to apply is May 1, 2023; click here for more information or to apply. Additional questions, call 406.788.0860 or email Katesha@GrowGreatFalls.org.

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 kellie@downtowngreatfalls.net or 1-406-727-5430. See TheElectric for more details.

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 Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org. We also have some small business or nonprofit startup or expansion loan funds available for Glacier and Blaine counties.

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 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.

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 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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 RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org 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 Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-403-4937.

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.

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 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 and an SBA Women's Business Center in partnership with the University of Montana and the Montana Native Growth Fund.

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

For more info, click to our website.

Great Falls Development Authority | GrowGreatFallsMontana.org
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