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GFDA Top Eleven 8-18-13

1) We closed a creative $983,000 loan package to finance the downtown Arvon Block development in partnership with Prairie Mountain Bank. The financing will support the historic renovation and the use of historic tax credits, as well as the two new businesses that will occupy the renovated property, the Celtic Cowboy restaurant and a boutique hotel. We used four of our financing tools to make the project work, including loans from our Brownfield fund, Downtown fund, Centene MicroBusiness fund and EDA fund. Dick Anderson Construction is the project's general contractor.
2) Worked with a business on financing for their proposed expansion. Worked with a new entrepreneur on possible financing structures to purchase an existing business. Worked with another entrepreneur on financing options for a proposed new downtown business. Began working with a local entrepreneur on a grant application for equipment to be used in their business.
3) The City's Planning Advisory Board approved annexation and zoning for the Talus 216-unit apartment complex development near Centene, and a minor subdivision for another phase of the Great Bear Innovation Park near MaltEurop.
4) The University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research issued the Diversity Index Report we commissioned. The BBER developed the index to help us track our progress in diversifying the Great Falls economy. The 2010 index, that we will use as a baseline, shows that the Great Falls Metro Area (Cascade County) is about half as diverse as Missoula and Yellowstone counties. Download the report here: GFDA Diversity Index Final Report
5) We submitted a letter in support of the University of Great Falls' STEM Success Initiative proposal to the National Science Foundation. This initiative would strengthen math and science curricula at UGF and further integrate students into the Great Falls business community through internships.
6) Facilitated another PeerSpective Roundtable session for the Great Falls Entrepreneur Elite. If you want to learn more about our Growth Initiative tools to support your rapid growth, including Thought Patterns, PeerSpectives or GrowthWheel, contact Rebecca Engum at or 406-771-9032.
7) Montana Workers Compensation insurance rates dropped another 5% this summer, marking a 27% drop in the last three years!
8) We emailed our draft Strategic Plan to GFDA investors for review and comment. The plan focuses on five core areas to drive economic growth, diversification and high wage jobs: Business Recruitment; Existing Business & Start-ups; AgriTech Park; Financing; and, Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives. Investor survey responses are due by August 26th. If you missed the email or have any questions, contact Jolene Bach at or 406-750-4481.
9) We're working to expand our Brownfield clean-up efforts to get more commercial properties redeveloped. If you know of potentially contaminated properties in Cascade County (including lead paint or asbestos) that have redevelopment potential, join us this Thursday, August 22nd at 10:00 AM in the downtown US Bank 2nd floor Boardroom, 300 Central Avenue or contact Lillian Sunwall at or 406-771-9024.
10) This coming week's Start-up Spark! for anyone interested in starting a new business is Wednesday, August 21st at noon at GFDA, 300 Central Avenue, 4th floor. This Monday, August 19th, we're holding planning meetings for the October AACC agri-processing show at 11:00 AM and the September Oil Sands Show at 3:30 PM, both at GFDA. If you can't make it but want to tie-in with our exhibiting and networking at these shows, contact Jolene Bach at or 406-750-4481.
11) If you plan to participate in the Montana Economic Development Summit in Butte on September 16-17, register now at With the help of Senator Baucus' staff, we're setting up one-on-one meetings for companies interested in meeting with summit speakers. Contact Jeremiah Johnson at or 406-750-3285 if you're interested.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the new Roadrunner Terrain Park at Roosevelt Elementary!

Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
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PO Box 949
Great Falls, MT 59403