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Top 12 for 2-10-2013

1) Five Great Falls business owners have accepted the Entrepreneur Elite opportunity exclusively offered to them as part of our new Growth Initiative. These business owners will participate in the first Great Falls Peerspective Roundtable designed to aid in better, faster decision-making for high growth.

2) Alison Fried, owner of Dragonfly Dry Goods is the 2013 Inspire Fire Within award winner. Alison started her business in 1999 and today has the largest specialty store in Montana. Her tireless community work is truly an inspiration to all of us. Tracy Perry, owner of the Blue Rose, is the 2013 Aspire Fire Within award winner. Tracy, who opened her business in downtown Great Falls in 2008, has shown amazing skill in operating her business and giving back to the community. Join us on March 28th to recognize our award winners and celebrate the success of women owned business!
3) We completed the incentive package proposal for a potential 250 person full service operations center in Great Falls.
4) Networked with energy leaders at the Renewable Fuels Association annual meeting.
5) Closed a $489,000 SBA 504 loan to help finance a business acquisition. Our SBA 504 loan product is avaiulable to businesses statewide, offering 20 year, low interest, fixed rate financing in partnership with your bank. Contact Tamariel Christopher for more info at 750-8474.
6) The Great Falls City Commission approved annexation and zoning for the ADF Group steel fabrication plant. We secured an $832,500 Big Sky Trust Fund grant from the MT Dept. of Commerce for 111 high wage jobs in the first phase of ADF Group's project.
7) The City Commission approved heavy industrial re-zoning for General Distributing and part of Calumet Montana Refining. The rest of Montana Refining's rezoning request is moving forward as proposed PUD zoning.
8) Helped a local business work with the SBA to become 8(a) certified for government contracting. Worked with several business to prepare to compete for US Forest Service fire season contracts.
9) The EPA completed a free environmental clean-up assessment of the Arvon Block in downtown Great Falls. If your proposed redevelopment project could benefit from a possible free assessment, contact Lillian Sunwall at 750-1253.
10) GFDA's Growth Initiative has openings for 15 established companies for GrowthWheel, an innovative tool focused on 20 key indicators of business to better enable strategic decision-making for owners, managers and management teams. The tool offers frameworks for discussions, worksheets to get to solutions and a customized 360 degree growth plan. Contact Rebecca Engum,  781-6832, to get additional details on how this tool could work for your business.
11) The SBA is bringing e200, an MBA-style program, back to Montana. The no-cost seven month course will be offered in Helena beginning in April. Contact Tom White at SBA  406-441-1078. If your manufacturing company has lost sales to imports, contact Lillian Sunwall to learn about federal grants and other assistance,  750--1253.
12) GFDA's mission has 3 parts, Growth, Diversification and High Wage Jobs. Why do we target support to companies creating high wage jobs? Out of our 12 benchmark cities, Great Falls places last in average hourly wages. Here are the rankings for December: Casper $24.49; Bismarck $23.62; Grand Junction $21.55; Idaho Falls $21.38; Billings $21.36; Missoula $21.01; Yakima $20.96; Grand Forks $19.54; Rapid City $19.54; Logan $18.41; Couer d'Alene $18.13; and Great Falls $17.88.

Have a great, prosperous week!


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300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403