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Great Falls Montana Development Authority
Releases Industry Cluster Analysis

This morning we are pleased to release the Industry Cluster Analysis findings for the Great Falls Montana trade area. The report was prepared by our Barber Business Advisors with the help of many business leaders and partners.

The cluster analysis is an important part of the deep-dive economic development strategic planning effort we launched last fall. We began the process with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis that involved hundreds of business and community leaders, partners, and residents. The SWOT analyses looked at both the region and at GFDA. Then we commissioned market assessments looking at demand for childcare (by Camoin Associates) and housing (by The Concord Group). We commissioned a COVID Industry Impact report from Chmura Economics to gain a better understanding of how the pandemic had affected local industries, particularly in regard to workforce. Next, the Barber Business Advisors team prepared analyses of our regional transportation and logistics, and defense industry.

The health and bioscience cluster analysis we commissioned from Tripp Umbach is underway. We expect that report to be published by early fall.

GFDA has already begun to work with our investors and partners to act on key findings of the strategic planning process. Over the coming months, we will be working with our partners to develop an overall regional economic development priority plan. GFDA's priorities will be a piece of this overall plan.

Below please find links to all of the strategic planning reports we have issued as part of this effort. THANK YOU to everyone who has invested time, energy and your hard-earned dollars in this effort!

We are determined to take this market information to guide and drive our regional economic development work so that we can help generate the greatest possible positive impact on creating greater economic opportunity that improves the quality of life in the twelve-plus county Great Falls trade area.

Cost of Living
Despite the inflation we are all dealing with, the Great Falls MSA has actually increased its affordability compared to the rest of the nation. First quarter cost of living data released by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) indicates that in 2022Q1 the cost of living in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) was 86.7% of the national average, dropping from 89.5% in the last report. Local housing costs are at 77.7% of the national average. Bozeman cost of living came in at 122% of the national average.

The Otto Bremer Trust
I'm excited to announce that yesterday the Otto Bremer Trust awarded GFDA a $50,000 grant to support our economic development efforts to create economic opportunity and improve quality of life in the Great Falls Montana region!

These funds will help make it possible for us to continue to offer the expanded entrepreneur and existing business services we ramped up at the start of the pandemic.

The Otto Bremer Trust a bank holding company and a private charitable trust based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, that works at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. Created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, it is today one of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations and is committed to supporting a better quality of life for residents of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. OBT is the majority owner of Bremer Financial Corporation, a regional financial services company; manages a diversified investment portfolio; and operates Community Beneficial Financial Company, a financial resources subsidiary. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $841 million in people, places, and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Visit ottobremer.org.

Enjoy a fantastic weekend!



Brett Doney
President & CEO

Our Mission
Grow diverse economic opportunities that enhance quality of life.

Great Falls Region Community Vision
The Great Falls Region will be a proud, positive, and vibrant community, which welcomes new people, new investments, and innovative opportunities while celebrating its authentic and diverse Montana culture. Our community will be a safe and inclusive place to raise families and will offer opportunities for individual growth and quality of life, which retains and grows our population.

GFDA Organizational Vision
Great Falls Development Authority will be a change agent, catalyst, and facilitator in the Great Falls region, fostering collaboration and partnerships to support diverse economic opportunities, innovation, and growth. Our economic development organization will be a high performing leader in attracting new investment and talent. Our work providing access to capital, consulting, training and resources for entrepreneurs, businesses, developers, and nonprofits will transform Great Falls and the surrounding 13-county trade area into a thriving regional economy that enhances the standard of living for our people.    

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 and Lenders.

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