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GFDA Top 18 1/14/15

Here's the GFDA Top 18 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) Embark Credit Union became the exclusive sponsor of The Fire Within 2015! This is our premier annual event to celebrate the successes of local women business owners and network with future female entrepreneurs. Thank you Embark Credit Union for making it possible to recognize the amazing accomplishments of women with "The Fire Within" to succeed in entrepreneurial ventures! Mark March 26th on your calendar for this not-to-be-missed event!
2) Worked with a midwest-based manufacturing prospect which returned to Great Falls for another site visit.
3) Worked with an industrial manufacturing prospect out of Ontario, Canada to provide them with information about business expansion potential across Montana and specific information about the Great Falls region. Responded to an out-of-state consultant gathering rail-served property information for a client looking at sites in Montana.
4) US Bank and Accessible Space, Inc. closed on $8.3 million in loans and tax credit financing for construction of the Voyageur Apartments, a 38-unit, affordable housing development for seniors that will be constructed this year on the west side of Great Falls.
5) Helped a local business to calculate the maximum loan amount the business could support to finance a proposed expansion. Evaluated a local entrepreneur's business plan and cash flow projections for a proposed new business. Helped an existing company to calculate its permanent working capital needs to prepare for a bank loan application. To find out more about the financial services we have to offer, contact Jason Nitschke at
6) Selected and contracted with Neil Doty and Associates as the agricultural processing industry consulting firm to assist us in updating our identification of market-driven agricultural processing startup, expansion and attraction opportunities for the Great Falls trade area. Neil and his team will work with GFDA and our agricultural producer and processing partners to develop business cases that document our competitive advantages. We'll then target companies in the specific processing niches and meet face to face with them to present a convincing case for the companies to investment in our region.
7) Worked with a local strategic-focused growing company to help it develop marketing strategies for 2015. Worked with several businesses to assess their capability of going into government contracting.
8) Submitted two Community Development Block Grant applications to the City of Great Falls. One would add $50,000 in loan capital to our existing City CDBG business revolving loan fund as part of our 3 year effort to increase our loan capital by 50% to try to keep up with growing demand to fill financing gaps for business startups and expansions. The City funds would be a small but critical part of our $5 million effort by demonstrating local support. The second grant would provide $25,000 to enable us to launch new business technical assistance services to help fast-growing companies to develop new employee recruitment, screening and training processes designed to help the companies find the great employees they need to grow, and to connect low and moderate income residents with higher wage jobs with benefits.
9) Great Falls Public Schools announced that its dropout rate reached a record low of 3%, less than half what it was five years ago. Congratulations to GFPS, Graduation Matters, United Way and all the volunteers, businesses and organizations that have supported this effort! Most importantly, congratulations to the students who have stuck with it and graduated!!
10) GFDA's Board finalized our new Strategic Plan for 2015-2017. The plan builds on recent successes and pushes the envelope to pursue new opportunities to continue to grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy and support the creation of higher wage jobs.
11) GFDA's Board also approved our Business Development Plan for 2015. This year we will be focusing on; 1. strengthening our referral network to help more entrepreneurs and businesses in the Great Falls region; 2. increasing our market research to identify out-of-state companies in our target industries then trying to get in the door to meet with these companies face-to-face; and, 3. enhancing our digital presence.
12) Participated in the Friends of Canada event in Great Falls and networked with Canadian representatives and local businesses seeking to expand opportunities with Canada.
13) Thank you Montana Waste Systems and TD&H Engineers for renewing their investments in the Forward Great Falls effort at the Leadership level! Contact Brett Doney at or 1-406-750-2119 to learn how to join the Forward Great Falls team!
14) Attendance at Glacier National Park set an all-time record in 2014, attracting 2.33 million people, up 6.7% from 2013. The previous record of 2.22 million was set in 1983.
15) Encourage entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs to join us at one of our upcoming Startup Spark! sessions, noon at GFDA on January 14th, 21st, and 28th. Contact Jason for more info at or 1-406-771-9022.
16) There's still time to respond to our RFQ for a wide variety of professional services. Responses are due this Friday, January 16th by 4:00 PM. Here's a copy of the Professional Services RFQ. We encourage established firms and sole practitioners to respond.
17) Aspire and Inspire Award nominations for The Fire Within presented by Embark Credit Union are due by January 30th. These awards are given to women business owners who have achieved significant success in business innovation and growth for established businesses and newer startups. Contact Jason Nitschke for a nomination form,
18) Efforts have been underway to boost the Great Falls tourism industry by creating a National Heritage Area. We encourage all who are interested in learning more about this effort to participate in a reception and presentation on Friday, January 30, 6:30 PM and a workshop on Saturday, January 31 at 8 AM, both in the Missouri Room in the Civic Center. The events are free, but registration is required by calling 1-406-455-8414 or emailing
Lots more great news this week to start the year off that we'll include in the next Top 10. Help us spread the word by forwarding this to your friends and colleagues. We're always happy to add interested people to our Top 10 distribution list. Just contact any of our team members with names and email addresses.
Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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Home | Site Map | Policies | Employment | Contact Us Phone 406-771-9020
Fax 406-454-2995
Physical Address
300 Central Ave. Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401
Mailing Address
PO Box 949
Great Falls, MT 59403