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Top Twenty-One 2/23/15

Here's the GFDA Top 21 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) Signed an agreement to sell an 11.5 acre lot in the Great Falls AgriTech Park for construction of a 58,148 square foot distribution center.
2) The High Plains Financial Board approved a $180,000 SBA 504 loan to help finance the $450,000 expansion of a local Great Falls business in partnership with First Interstate Bank. The Board also approved a $73,000 SBA 504 loan for a $194,000 startup business in Great Falls in partnership with Stockman Bank.
3) Worked with 8 entrepreneurs in varying stages of development. Reviewed 5 business plans. Assisted a client with market research on what products and services the government buys related to her business and the expiration of upcoming local contracts.
4) Met with an out of state manufacturing prospect looking into the possibility of Great Falls as a project location. Worked on operational improvements for a startup manufacturing company to improve inventory control. If your manufacturing company is interested in making operational improvements, contact Rebecca Engum at
5) Travelled to Dallas/Ft. Worth to meet with BNSF, meet with an international agri-processor considering investment in a new Great Falls manufacturing operation, and network at the Renewable Fuels Association annual conference.
6) Networked with regional retail and restaurant developers, and commercial brokers at the International Council of Shopping Centers' Mountain States Idea Exchange in Salt Lake City.
7) Prairie Mountain Bank announced plans to open a new branch and a retail development on the site of the former J Bar T in the West Bank Urban Renewal Area.
8) If you missed the workshop held this week discussing the potential to grow tourism by marketing the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, visit for more info and to download a copy of the report.
9) Great Falls College MSU announced an expansion of its engineering program partnership with MSU-Bozeman. Informational sessions will be held at the College in Heritage Hall this Monday, 2/23 and Tuesday 2/24 both at 5:30-7:00 PM.
10) 26 U.S. Ambassadors announced plans to lead delegations of foreign investors to the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC in March. GFDA and the Governor's Office of Economic Development have partnered to exhibit and network with companies at the Summit. Leaders of companies from 77 countries interested in investing in the U.S. have registered for the event.
11) Average airfares at Great Falls International were the lowest of all 13 Montana commercial airports during the 3rd quarter of 2014 according to the FAA. GTF fares were 27% lower than the state average, 35% lower than Helena, and 13% lower than Bozeman.
12) SBA is offering a business matchmaking event with federal and state contracting officers on March 16, 9:30 AM-3:00 PM at the Red Lion Colonial Inn Helena in conjunction with Montana Manufacturing/International Trade Day. There is no pre-registration or cost to attend the matchmaking event. For more info, contact Kelly Dixon at or 1-406-441-1085. For more info on the Trade Day, visit
13) We have a great new staff position open for a Lending & Business Development Associate. Duties include loan application screening, processing and closing preparation, loan fund reporting, loan documentation, database management, and website administration. Requires attention to detail, self-direction and the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities. Prefer commercial or mortgage loan processing experience. Join our fun, creative, fast-paced, results-driven team. Salary $30,000-45,000 depending on capabilities and experience, excellent benefits, flexible work environment, professional development and growth opportunities. Send letter and resume to EOE. Open until we find a great candidate!
14) March will be a busy month on the road. In addition to the SelectUSA Investment Summit, GFDA has been invited to give a presentation at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development agency's "Growing Alberta BioClusters" event in Edmonton, network with national foundation representatives at a foundation/economic development symposium organized by the Council of Development Finance Agencies and the Council on Foundations, and moderate the Revitalization session at the International Economic Development Council's Federal Summit.
15) Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Staybridge Suites joined the list of sponsors of the Montana Economic Development Conference May 4-6 in Great Falls.
16) Great Falls Public Schools is holding a series of tours and community meetings to hear ideas to address maintenance and repair needs of Great Falls schools. CMR High School on 2/25, Roosevelt Elementary on 3/2, Longfellow Elementary on 3/10 and Great Falls High on 3/25; tours at 4:30, 4:45 and 5:00 PM; listening sessions 5:30-6:30 PM. More info at
17) If you need gap or bridge financing to help get your spring project off the ground, contact Jennifer Rogers at
18) Mighty Mo Brewing is hosting a Homebrew Contest. Get more information at Mighty Mo or the Central Montana Homebrew Club's Facebook page,
19) The Montana Small Business Development Centers are hosting the annual Invest in Success conference April 29-30 in Helena. To attend or to find out how you could win $5,000 in the Shark Tank Competition, visit
20) The Montana Office of Tourism is holding a Real Montana one minute video contest with $40,000 in prizes. More info at
21) Montana maintained its 5th place ranking in the Gallups-Healthway's 2014 Well Being Index. The annual state ranking is based on 176,000 interviews across the country.
Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


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