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GFDA Top 10 for 11/29/15

Here's the GFDA Top 10 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.


1) NeighborWorks Great Falls broke ground on it first affordable rental housing development, the 12-unit First Avenue Estates. The Federal Home Loan Bank announced a $700,000 grant to NWGF that will enable the renovation of the 96-unit Vista Village affordable apartment complex to be renovated and remain affordable by the Wishrock Housing and Investment Group.

2) The Great Falls Planning Board approved renovation of the vacant Grace House to create a new transitional housing center for homeless veterans. The proposed 72 unit addition to the Talus Apartment Homes went through City design review.

3) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the barley starch pathway for the proposed Montana Advanced Biofuels project, culminating a 5+ year effort to become the first barley approved Renewable Fuel Standard pathway in the nation. The approval certifies that the ethanol produced at the plant will qualify for renewable fuel (D-code 6) RINs and for advanced biofuel (D-code 5) RINs. The wheat pathway for the plant was previously approved by EPA.

4) Worked with a regional business that is in the beginning stages of preparing to manufacture a patented product.  Several Federal Agencies have expressed interest in the product. Looked at market potential for other agencies and strategies to connect with the Contracting Officers. Started work with a developer interested in utilizing our Brownfield Clean-up program to help finance asbestos abatement on a proposed local project. For info on these services, contact Lillian Sunwall at or 1-406-750-1253.

5) The Sears Hometown Store opened at the Holiday Village Mall. KerMiTz children's clothing and gift store opened in downtown Great Falls.

6) Received SBA approval for a $96,000 SBA 504 loan to finance the purchase of an existing rural business. SBA 504 loans can be used to finance fixed assets and offer a variety of benefits to the borrower and banker, including low fixed interest rates. To find out more about these benefits and to see if your project qualifies, please contact Jennifer Rogers at  or 1-406-350-1204.  

7) NeighborWorks and GFDA co-hosted Lynne Egan, Deputy Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, and Jesse Laslovich, Chief Legal Counsel, for a presentation on the new MT Crowdfunding Laws. Download the slides:  Watch a video of the presentation: 
8) Began work with two new clients on business planning. Provided a cash flow and deal structure analysis for an entrepreneur looking to purchase an existing business. For guidance starting, growing or expanding your business contact Jason Nitschke at

9) Announced that Janet Duffy will be joining the GFDA Team next month as our new Development Director, leading the Forward Great Falls investment effort. Janet did an outstanding job as Executive Director of the Great Falls YWCA. She has a wealth of economic development and business support experience having served as Executive Director of the Laughlin Nevada Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Center Director, and as Vice President of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

10) Two great bits of news this week for Montana employers! The Montana State Fund announced a $35 million dividend to employers with good safety records, amounting to 27% of the premiums paid. The Montana Department of Labor announced that the unemployment insurance contribution rate will drop from an average of 1.52% of wages in 2015 to 1.12% in 2016, a 26% decrease.



To the Great Falls Clinic Hospital on achieving accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Hospitals and Health Systems!


Upcoming Events

The Great Falls Tribune will host our next Forward Great Falls Investor Development Coffee on Friday, December 4, 7:00 AM at the Tribune. Contact Jolene Bach for more info at


The next LaunchPoint event for new and experienced entrepreneurs has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 15th from 4-5pm at the GFDA offices at 300 Central Avenue, Suite 406. For more information or to register to attend, contact Jason Nitschke at or click here.


In Case You Missed It

With the holiday season in full swing you may have missed our Quarterly Investor Letter or the GFDA 3rd Quarter Index.


Volunteers Needed

The Great Falls Visitor Center plays host to over 10,000 visitors annually to our community. Great Falls Montana Tourism is looking for you to share your knowledge to greet visitors and help them discover the unique adventures that await them in Great Falls. Volunteer opportunities are available on Mondays and Thursdays for two hour shifts beginning in January. If you are interested in volunteering to greet visitors to Great Falls and help them navigate our alluring landscapes, call Rebecca Engum at 750-1198 today!


Untamed your entrepreneurial spirit!




Manufacturers: 20 or 31.5 acre, rail-served heavy industrial lot in Great Falls AgriTech Park ready for immediate construction start! Gas, electric, water, sewer, fiber, and rail all to your lot line for $30,000/acre. Join Pacific Steel & Recycling, Montana Specialty Mills, Helena Chemical, and Ruedebusch Development in this new industrial park. Contact Jeremiah Johnson at 1-406-750-3285 or



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Great Falls, MT 59401
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