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GFDA Top 21 for 9/15/15

Here's the GFDA Top 21 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) The Hotel Arvon opened in downtown Great Falls after the successful sale of historic tax credits for renovation of the Arvon Block, our city's oldest surviving commercial building. Check out this beautiful, unique boutique hotel at or on Facebook. Congratulations to the development team on a fantastic job!
2) We closed a $1,644,000 loan to Pacific Steel & Recycling to help finance the infrastructure in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. We've committed another $356,000 to complete the financing package. We wired $585,000 to BNSF to pay for the installation of a switch to their existing track and realignment of their track to enable future development on both sides of 18th Avenue North. Falls Construction started work on the sewer lift station. The AgriTech Park was the number one Most Popular Montana Land listing on Loopnet this week!
3) Downtown Great Falls has been advanced to the Designated Member Tier in the Montana Main Street Program by the Montana Department of Commerce, a long-sought milestone by the Downtown Development Partnership, including key partners the City, Business Improvement District, Downtown Great Falls Association, NeighborWorks Great Falls, and GFDA.
4) Construction is well underway on the entrances and exits to the Great Falls International Airport that will make it as nice on the outside as it is on the inside.
5) Provided a financing structure to an established Great Falls manufacturing company for a product line expansion. Discussed an opportunity with an in-state entrepreneur who is looking at Great Falls. Worked on financing options with an existing local small business. Worked with an out-of-state business owner considering relocation to Great Falls and scheduled a visit.
6) GFDA was awarded $1,120,787 in new loan capital by the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund of the U.S. Treasury! We utilized every single dollar paid by our fantastic investors that was available for match. In January, we set a goal of increasing our loan capital base from $10 million to $15 million to try to keep pace with overwhelming opportunity to fill gap and bridge financing needs throughout the 13-county Great Falls trade area, enabling projects to happen that otherwise would not. With this award, we've secured $1,670,787, one third of the way toward our goal. We're still short on capital so we'll keep working at it.
7) Assisted a local business with market research to identify government contracting opportunities, including the types of goods and services federal, state and local government agencies are seeking to purchase. Provided guidance on developing a capability statement for marketing the business to contracting officers.
8) Participated in the Montana Wind Energy Summit, networking with wind developers, transmission companies and government agencies. Montana is one of 10 states the American Wind Energy Association is focusing on because of our largely underutilized world-class wind resource. The U.S. Department of Energy says Montana could increase generation from today's 645 MW today to 30 GW by 2050, which would require about $50 billion in private investment. Perhaps we can make a bit of that happen in our region.
9) Our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director, Jason Nitschke, participated in the national SBDC conference and became a certified GrowthWheel advisor. The GrowthWheel is a highly productive visual tool to spur entrepreneurial thought, decision-making and action. Check out this great resource by contacting Jason at
10) Join us on the 17th for Third Thursday, an opportunity for entrepreneurs to have great conversations and ask questions. Join Rob Cook of the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, Rebecca Engum and Jason Nitschke of GFDA, and many others at Electric City Coffee at 6:30 AM or at Mighty Mo Brewing at 6:00 PM. For more details, contact Rebecca at or 1-406-771-9032.
11) The North Industrial Area Task Force will meet on September 22nd at 1:30 PM in the downtown US Bank building at 300 Central Avenue in the 2nd floor Board Room to get an update on plans to improve 36th Avenue NE and discuss how improvements on Highway 87 are working. Contact Lillian Sunwall for more info at
12) If you have a property, site or building which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous contaminant, GFDA's Brownfields program partners with developers, property owners and interested parties to redevelop these type of sites with assessment and clean up funds.  For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406) 771-9024 or
13) Our new monthly introduction to business strategies workshop, The Launch Point, officially launches Thursday, September 24th. The workshop runs from 12 noon to 1 PM in the GFDA learning center at 300 Central Avenue, Suite 406. Attendees will learn many of the structures involved in planning a successful entrepreneurial effort. For more information or to register, contact Jason Nitschke at
14) Registered to exhibit at the 2015 Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA) annual conference in Great Falls on December 1-3. MGGA is comprised of producers and agribusiness partners working together with a common goal to improve the profitability of Montana grain. GFDA will be there to promote our published agri-processing business case opportunities and network within the industry.
15) The Montana Organic Association has asked for us to present The Opportunity for Sprouted Grains in the Great Falls Montana Region at their annual conference in Bozeman in December. During the presentation, we will highlight the competitive advantages of this emerging functional ingredient processing as a strategic business opportunity in our market.
16) A very special and fun small business event will be held in downtown Great Falls on Friday, October 2nd, 7:30-9:30 AM at NeighborWorks Great Falls, 509 1st Avenue South. We're bringing back Barbara Wold, by far the most popular speaker at the Montana Economic Development Conference we hosted last spring. Barbara is a retail, tourism and downtown guru who gives entertaining, eye-opening presentations around the world. Her talk is titled, "Get Your Doors Swinging and Your Cash Registers Singing." Make plans to participate in this event, made possible and offered free by support of the Downtown Development Partnership, Business Improvement District, Downtown Great Falls Association, NeighborWorks Great Falls, and GFDA.
17) We made our annual investments this week in some valuable partnerships, including the Montana Defense Alliance, Downtown Development Partnership, Great Falls Visitor Information Center, and Montana Associated Technology Roundtables. We joined the International Economic Development Council's Economic Development Research Partners to support research into improving the effectiveness of economic development efforts. We are always looking at ways to best utilize our local investors' dollars to produce the greatest possible short and long-term impact on the Great Falls region and these partnerships have proven to be very effective.
18) Startup Week will be in Great Falls October 6-9. Each evening from 5:30 - 8:30 will be workshop style learning opportunities on developing a team, market research and marketing, operations, financial planning, and resources to help along the way. You will also hear stories from entrepreneurs who have accomplished their dreams! Joins us each night and start a business or attend the session most interesting to you. For more details, contact Rebecca at or 406-771-9032.
19) GFDA was chosen by the International Economic Development Council to be featured in an October webinar titled, "What's Up with Economic Development Financing."
20) The Montana Technology Innovation Partnership will hold a Rural Innovator Roundtable in Great Falls on September 24th, 5:30 PM in the Founders Room in the Student Center at the University of Great Falls. The Roundtable is free, but you should register by emailing More info at
21) We're looking for a dynamic business development leader to be our new Manufacturing Partnership Director. Help us spread the word about this outstanding opportunity. Here is a copy of the JOB POSTING.
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