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GFDA Top 15 9-21-14


Here's the GFDA Top 15 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) Worked with site selectors for a prospect looking at 4 potential states for a substantial manufacturing operation. Met on site with a rural entrepreneur to discuss plans for a proposed new primary sector addition to his business operations.
2) Worked with a client to create customer reports to use in marketing efforts. Started work with an entrepreneur to assess the feasibility of a start-up business. Worked with a long-term client to review progress on their multi-stage project and offered suggestions to improve marketing efforts to drive greater sales.
3) Reviewed a project update with an expanding business. Discussed the items still necessary to complete and how to keep moving forward.
4) Met with a local banker to discuss potential SBA 504 loans to help finance the purchase of machinery and equipment for two businesses. SBA 504 loans can be used to finance machinery and equipment -- 10 year low interest loans with as little as 10% down. Contact Jennifer Rogers for more info: or 1-406-350-1204.
5) Called Chicago area site selection consultants in preparation for a Chicago event we're participating in with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Billings and Missoula economic development organizations. Spoke with a number of site selectors about the business investment successes and opportunities in the Great Falls region.
6) Submitted a new Target Brownfields Assessment application to the EPA for the downtown Rocky Mountain Building.
7) Construction will begin soon on the $20 million Montana Air National Guard hangars needed for the new C-130 cargo plane mission. James Talcott Construction has been awarded the construction contract.
8) Thank you to the Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District for becoming our first major sponsor of the Montana Economic Development Conference Spring 2015 that will be held here in Great Falls!
9) Continuing a trend that started back in January, this August set another month employment record in the Great Falls metro area. Our unemployment rate was 3.9% and we hit the highest employment level ever for the month of August. The last time we had an unemployment rate in August under 4% was back in August, 2007.
10) Great Falls College MSU was featured in an article by the League for Innovation in Community Colleges highlighting the College's Simulated Hospital, the Online Science Lab (one of only 3 in North America), and the statewide Strengthening Workforce Alignment in Montana's Manufacturing & Energy Industries project.
11) The U.S. Census Bureau released 2013 American Community Survey results for Cascade County this week. Our labor force participation rate climbed to 65.4%, the highest it's been since 2009. Good news for employers looking for workers, we still have room to grow the participation rate to reach our peak in 2009 that was 67.6%. Getting back to our 2009 rate would bring almost 1,500 residents back into the workforce.
12) Join us to help determine what displays should be included in the Great Falls Visitor Center to increase the length and enjoyment of visitor stays, bring visitors back more often, and attract new residents and entrepreneurs to our community. Two sessions are available: this Monday, 9/22, 3-5 PM at the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce or this Thursday, 9/25, 9-11 AM at NeighborWorks Great Falls. RSVPs helpful but not required to You can also provide your thoughts online here:
13) Spread the word to entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs to participate in one of our Start-Up Spark! sessions coming up on Friday, September 26th, Monday, September 29th and Tuesday, October 14th. All sessions are held at noon at GFDA, 4th floor, 300 Central Avenue (downtown US Bank building). No registration required. Free, Fun and Informative! For more info or to arrange to call or Skype in, contact Rebecca Engum at or 1-406-771-9032.
14) The United Way is looking for volunteers to help with the 8th Grade Career Fair it's planning. Contact Cristina Capriato at or 1-406-727-3400.
15) Montana's average weekly wage in the first quarter of 2014 was 3.3% higher than in the first quarter of 2013 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Forward our Top 10 to your friends and colleagues so we can keep building the Great Falls team! If you know anyone who would be interested in being added to our distribution list, just send me their email addresses or have them email me.
Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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