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GFDA Top 14 for 3/14/2016

Here's the GFDA Top 14 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.


1) As part of Women's History Month, every March we celebrate the success and importance of women entrepreneurs and business leaders in Great Falls and the surrounding region. There are over 10.6 million women entrepreneurs in the country, owning 30% of U.S. businesses. The number of women entrepreneurs increased by 73% from 1997 to 2015, growing at 1.5 times the national average. Join us in celebrating and supporting current and future woman entrepreneurs at two fun and inspirational events:

2) Fire It Up, an event to learn how to make the most of social events, is on March 23 from 5-7 PM. Join your host Embark Credit Union for appetizers and speed networking with pro-tips. Email Jolene Schalper, to RSVP or you can register when you register for The Fire Within!

3) The Sixth Annual Fire Within presented by Embark CU is on March 31 at the Meadowlark Country Club starting at 6 PM! Join us to celebrate women business owners, build business connections, and get ideas. Register online at: or email Jolene Schalper at

4) Presented Great Falls business investment and growth opportunities to Atlanta-area site selectors as part of a group from Montana that included the Governor's Office of Economic Development, Big Sky Economic Development Authority, the Missoula Economic Partnership and The Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District. While in Atlanta, met individually with site selectors and had follow-up discussions that resulted in making additional contact with a leading industrial site selection specialist in Pennsylvania to pitch Great Falls, Cascade County and the surrounding trade area.
5) Construction started on the downtown streetscape improvements. Project updates will be held every Tuesday morning, 9:00 AM at NeighborWorks Great Falls.

6) Earthwork started on the new East End Retail Center. Demolition started to make way for the new west side McDonalds. We published our updated Great Falls Growth Highlights.

7) Met with two new clients looking to purchase existing businesses in the Great Falls area. Helped create a 10-year pro forma for a client trying to purchase an existing resort in the region. Structured a deal that could refinance an existing business' debt, positively affect the company's monthly cash flow and save it $14,000 in interest payments. Continued work with two clients looking to open new businesses this summer. Provided marketing and product development guidance for two other clients strategizing to grow revenues. Could a business advisor help your entrepreneurial efforts? Find out how by contacting Jason Nitschke at

8) Closed a $380,000 loan to Great Falls Apartments, LLC to provide final bridge financing for the 216-unit Talus Apartment Homes. To find out more about the bridge and gap financing that GFDA has to offer, please contact Jennifer Rogers at or 406-350-1204.

9) Assisted a local client wanting to contract with a federal agency to navigate through issues related to their purchase of a business franchise.  Worked with a local business to understand government regulations on a bid with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

10) In an earlier Top 10, we noted that the average city taxes and fees paid per person in Great Falls is substantially lower than other large Montana cities. Several of you asked how Great Falls compares when income is taken into account, so we compared average taxes/fees paid per person with per capita income. Great Falls still comes in lowest at 1.78% of income ($441/$24,733), Helena is next at 2.18% ($644/$29,594), followed by Kalispell at 2.63% ($581/$22,054), Billings at 2.64% ($750/$28,364), Bozeman at 2.86% ($753/$26,350) and Missoula at 3.19% ($807/$25,275).

11) The Montana Ambassadors held there annual conference in the historic Arvon Block in downtown Great Falls. We organized tours of manufacturing facilities for conference participants. Congratulations again to Sen. Ed Buttrey who was recognized as one of the Legislators of the Year, and Dr. Susan Wolff who was awarded Educator of the Year!

12) Great Falls Public Schools has finalized its proposed Facility Action Plan to address a backlog of needed improvements at just about every school in the district. We encourage you to review the plan to learn about the details of this important issue.

13) We've begun planning for an upcoming business investment mission to the Midwest. The trip will focus on meeting with targeted companies with an emphasis on agricultural processing, and visiting headquarters of Great Falls companies. We will also be meeting with targeted site selection consultants. GFDA investors are encouraged to contact Jeremiah if you know of companies you think we should try to visit or if there is anything we can do on the trip to support your company. Contact Jeremiah at

14) The Main Street Montana key industry networks released their final recommendations. See the MATR article here to download the eight industry group reports.

Untame your entrepreneurial spirit!


Connect with me on LinkedIn to connect with other Great Falls business leaders.

Congratulations to Anderson Steel on winning the American Institute of Steel Construction's top safety award for 2015!

Quote of the Week

"The way to get started is to stop talking and start doing."

Walt Disney

Upcoming Events

Our next LaunchPoint for new(er) entrepreneurs is Tuesday, March 22, 4:00 PM at GFDA. Contact Jason Nitschke at or 1-406-771-9022 to sign-up for this fun hour!


The Montana Chamber's Business and the Law Conference will be held on March 22nd in Helena. More info at


Great Falls Job Fair will be held Tuesday, March 29th from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM at the Montana ExpoPark Exhibition Hall. Employer registration is now open. Visit the website or contact Barbara Hardy of the Great Falls Job Service at 791-5816 or


Montana Energy 2016 will be held in Billings March 30-31. More info at


Montana Technology Innovation Partnership's Innovator Training Tour will be in Great Falls on Friday, April 15 at 3:00 PM, Great Falls College MSU. Learn about intellectual property, funding your innovation and going to market. Free, but must RSVP by emailing


The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering another ExporTech training this Spring.  The nine-week session will feature three-full day workshops: April 13, May 12, and June 14 in Kalispell. Develop your own proactive export strategy and learn how to be successful in global markets.  ExporTech™ clients have seen dramatic increases in sales through exports ($770K on average per company within 6-12 months).  As a company, you will receive hands-on group workshops as well as individual coaching by local and national experts in order to develop an export plan by the end of the nine-week course. For information on the Spring 2016 ExporTech session (, contact Jenni West, MMEC associate director, at (406) 994-3876 or


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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