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GFDA Top 13 for 5/15/2016

Here's the GFDA Top 13 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward. Have a college student coming home for the summer? See below -- we just posted two great paid College Summer Internship Opportunities at GFDA.


1) The Montana Dept. of Commerce approved a $112,500 Big Sky Trust Fund (BSTF) grant to Anderson Steel Supply to purchase equipment supporting an expansion that will create 15 new jobs. Thank you to Cascade County for facilitating the grant! If you would like more information on state grants for primary sector business start-up and expansion, contact Lillian Sunwall at  or 1-406-771-9024.
2) The Hi-Line Climbing Center opened in downtown Great Falls this week. Stop by and check out their amazing facilities at 608 1st Avenue South or visit The Tribune posted a great story on the new business. Let the climbing begin!
3) Published our 4th agricultural processing business case. This newest case details the opportunity to produce Pulse Butters, Dips and Spreads in the Great Falls region. Farmers in the Golden Trainagle produced 55,837,000 pounds of high quality chickpeas last year. We think it's time to start commercially manufacturing hummus and other similar products here. We've already published business cases in Pulse Crop Fractionation, Sprouted Grain Processing, and Specialty Malting Production. We have a new draft business case for Specialty Pasta Manufacturing that is being reviewed by our ag production and manufacturing partners. If you would like more information about these business cases and our efforts to grow agricultural processing in the region, contact Jolene Scalper at or 1-406-750-4481.

4) Hosted the 2016 Downtown Showcase that attracted over 60 business, real estate and community leaders. The event highlighted downtown development and business successes, promoted new opportunities, and described the many tools and resources we have available to support downtown real estate development and businesses.  Thank you to our event partners and presenters for a great event, as well as out host the Hotel Arvon's Darkhorse Banquet Hall!

5) Presented a Boots to Business pre-business workshop to 15 highly engaged veterans and transitioning military service members at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Special guest speakers at this quarter's workshop included Thad and Heidi Reiste, co-owners of Electric City Coffee (AFA retired) and Chamber of Commerce CEO Brad Livingston (MT ANG retired). 

6) Approved a $10,000 micro business loan for a start-up Great Falls business. Stay tuned for more details! Started to underwrite a gap financing loan for a business on the hi-line. We have gap and bridge financing available to make your start-up, expansion or real estate project happen anywhere in the Golden Triangle. Contact Jill Kuntz at

7) Provided marketing and networking assistance for a local Made in Montana manufacturer. Reviewed the status of a loan package with an entrepreneur looking to purchase a local franchise. Completed financial projections with a business owner working to purchase the property his company operates on. Reviewed a purchase proposal and financial projections for a local company's expansion. Reviewed a startup's online presence. Provided an initial review of a local company's pricing structure to address perceived profit problems. Could a financial review identify if your company is leaking profits? Contact Jason to ask about the Profit Mastery 'Road Map' at

8) Published our GFDA Index for the 1st quarter of 2016. Updated our Great Falls Growth Highlights, a brief summary of growth projects and statistics.
9) The great progress being made by the new Maclean Animal Adoption Center was detailed in a Tribune story. Check them out at Congratulations to all who have been involved in this great addition to our community!

10) GFDA's free pre-business workshop, LaunchPoint, is open to all interested entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs this Wednesday, May 18th from 4-5pm at GFDA. RSVP to attend at or contact Jason Nitschke at

11) The SBA 504 loan 20 year fixed interest rate this month is 4.32%, including all fees. The 10 year rate is 4.194%. We can do 504 loans statewide for your business real estate or equipment purchase, expansion or start-up. 504 loans allow you to invest as little as 10% equity. Contact Jill Kuntz for more info at

12) In 2015, tourists visiting Montana from out of state spent an estimated $3.657 billion, according to reports released this week by the University of Montana's Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. 11.7 million out of state visitors came to Montana, averaging stays of 4.59 nights. 86% of the out of state visitors were from the U.S., 13% from Canada, and 2% from overseas. The number of visitors increased 8% from 2014, but the expenditures dropped 6%. Gas stations grabbed the biggest share of tourist expenditures at 20%, followed by restaurant/bar 18%, retail 11%, and hotel 11%. Reports available at

13) Montana gained 4 spots in the annual best states for business ranking by Chief Executive magazine, climbing from 29th to 25th. The ranking is based on a survey of 513 CEO's.

Have a great week and Untame your Entrepreneurial Spirit!


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

Quote of the Week

"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."

Helen Keller

Paid Summer College Internships

GFDA is offering two full-time well-paid internships this summer for exceptional self-motivated college or graduate students who are passionate about helping us grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy. Responsibilities include working with our partners to grow our email database, write and secure content for a new web site, clean and organize our files, conduct market research of our manufacturing supply chain, and support our economic development staff team. Requires ability to work with minimal supervision in a professional manner, and excellent writing, communication and office technology skills. These internships offer an excellent opportunity for students seeking to pursue business, communications, non-profit and/or community development fields. You will be interacting with a wide variety of the top business and community leaders in the Great Falls region. Preference will be given to college students entering their junior or senior year, and to graduate students, who are considering Great Falls to begin their professional career. The Great Falls Development Authority is a public/private regional economic development partnership supported by over 150 businesses and institutions in the Great Falls 12-county trade area. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President,  Open until filled.

Great Job Opportunities

GFDA has three great job openings for Loan Portfolio Manager, Business Development Leader, and Loan Officer. Please pass the word to friends and colleagues. Help us find some amazing new team members! GFDA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Great Falls AgriTech Park

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 Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or

Upcoming Events

Attention Non-Profits Board members! Great Falls Development Authority and High Plains Financial welcome our non-profit colleagues and directors to join us for a free Best Practices of Non-profit Boards workshop presented by the Montana Nonprofit Association. May 26 from 2:30-4:30 PM with a reception to follow. Please RSVP here Contact Jolene Schalper with any questions, 406-750-4481,


The Hotel Arvon, C.M. Russell Museum, and Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art are being recognized with Preservation Awards by the Great Falls-Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission. The awards will be presented at a public reception on May 26, 5:30-7:00 PM in the Missouri Room of the Great Falls Civic Center.


The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a training on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP on June 9th in Great Falls. The training will cover the history, purpose, Pre-requisite Programs, and steps to implementation. Participants will gain understanding of HACCP in order to promote it to Montana food manufacturers and learn more about the Food Safety Modernization Act Preventive Controls for Human Food. There is a cost of $25 that covers materials and lunch. Register or learn more here:


GFDA and partners will host a special Workforce Recruitment Summit the morning of Wednesday, June 29th, prior to our Investors Annual Meeting lunch. The Summit will present ideas of what other communities in Montana and across the country are doing to attract workforce to relocate to their cities. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for this important, lively discussion. We've confirmed some great speakers for the event.


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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Great Falls, MT 59403