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GFDA Top 13 10/24/2016


GFDA Top 13
Here's the GFDA Top 13 for last week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) Pasta Montana announced that it has ordered a new production line that will increase capacity by 28%. That's 36 million pounds per year! The $6 million investment will be installed in March. The City Commission approved renewing the company's land lease. Pasta Montana employs 107 people in Great Falls, and purchased over $12 million from local agricultural producers in 2016, on top of purchases from local flour mills.

2) Total investment in the riverfront West Bank Landing project is expected to reach $65 million. Take a virtual tour of the showcase project on the Tribune's web site. More project details in two Tribune articles here and here.
3) FedEx Ground celebrated its grand opening in the AgriTech Park Friday. Great Falls citizens had the opportunity to learn how FedEx is impacting small business and improving international and domestic package delivery times from its new facility.
4) Dual enrollment of high school students at Great Falls College MSU increased 56% this fall. 314 students are simultaneously taking classes in local high schools and at the College. GFC MSU has established a Maker Space for high school students interested in robotics and other STEM applications. The Maker Space provides the space, tools, collaboration, and coaching for innovation and creation. The College's new Computer Programming and Coding degree program is full with 48 students. The new Industrial Technician program has 11 students enrolled.
5) GFDA's Board strongly supports Initiative 181, Montanans for Research and Cures, that would bolster the McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls, the Montana University System, and research at hospitals and private companies across the state. See Tribune editorial and
6) Signed an MOU with the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center to continue our strong partnership in growing and diversifying our regional manufacturing base.
7) Participated in a Montana Infrastructure Coalition planning session to discuss strategies to support road, water and sewer infrastructure improvements statewide.
8) Boots to Business Reboot is two weeks away. Do you know a veteran, active duty military or spouse of either who is kicking around the idea of becoming an entrepreneur? We have a star-studded lineup of specialists ready to guide you down the path of business ownership. Register to attend our free workshop on November 1st at Great Falls College MSU at or email Jason at
9) Embark Credit Union is the sole sponsor of the 2017 Fire Within, a celebration of women in business. Thank you to our friends at Embark for making this event possible. Save the date for 3/30/17!
10) Conducted a site visit and continued underwriting a loan to help a Great Falls business expand into a new building. GFDA offers SBA 504 Real Advantage loans  with low, fixed interest rates for 10 or 20 years and down payments as low as 10%. SBA 504 loans can be used to purchase real estate, fixed assets and refinance debt. If you have any questions about the SBA 504 Real Advantage loans or any of GFDA's other bridge or gap financing offerings please contact Mike Archer at
11) Montana Public Radio aired a story this week about the new Montana Protein Highway, detailing the abundance of pulse crops produced in our region and how they are serving as a major source of protein across the globe. Montana is now the top producer of pulse crops in the US. We spoke about the opportunities for pulse crop food processing opportunities here in the Golden Triangle. Our region is ripe for a pulse fractionation facility, specialty pasta manufacturing, and pulse snacks, butters, dips and spreads. Contact Jolene Schalper to learn more about our competitive advantages: 406.750.4481.
12) Reviewed the loan package for an existing business working to acquire a new building and expand its presence downtown. Continued work with aclient considering redevelopment of an existing downtown property.  Worked with a local manufacturer trying to scale up its production to the national market. Performed a brand analysis with a primary sector startup company planning to launch in January. Began work with another startup trying to acquire fixed assets. Began income valuations for two potential business purchases in rural Cascade County.  Discussed how best to pivot with a young company working to absorb a competitor. What kinds of challenges does your business face? Are they internal, related to competition, or access to capital? Find out how GFDA's Small Business Development Center can help grow and expand your venture by contacting Jason Nitschke at
13) Keynote speakers were announced for Senator Jon Tester's 17th Small Business Opportunity Workshop: Helping Vets and Business Connect, Thursday, October 27, 8:30-12:30, Great Falls Civic Center in the Missouri Room. Major Jeff Gilmore, an Air Force Veteran and Emerging Services Operations Lead at Facebook, along with Anne Meree Craig, the Executive Director of the COMMIT Foundation will keynote the event, which also features 3 panels highlighting business assistance available in the Great Falls region and across the stateAgenda and registration here.
Untame Your Spirit in Great Falls, Montana!

Brett Doney
President and CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
Albert Einstein
Congratulations to the Great Falls Rotary Club which is once again delivering dictionaries to 3rd grade students throughout the region! 1,489 dictionaries this year!
Congratulations to Bear Paw Development in Havre on winning an Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations!

GFDA Job Openings
We're looking for two great team members. Openings for Development Director and reposted Commercial Loan Portfolio Manager. We offer competitive salaries with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and a flexible work environment. Work with a great team, help us move Great Falls Forward, and make a difference in people's lives! GFDA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or 
USDA Rural Development workshop for rural agricultural producers and small business owners to introduce and familiarize you with the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Get info on how to apply for REAP grants and guaranteed loans for your renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 1:00-3:30 PM, Moose Lodge, 617 South Main, Conrad. RSVP by October 28th to Lea McGiboney at 406-727-7580 ext. 4 or
Constant Contact Workshop: Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media will be held Wednesday, November 16, in Heritage Hall at Great Falls College MSU from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. To register, contact the Center for Lifelong Learning at Great Falls College MSU by calling 406.268.3734, or visit and click on the link for upcoming events.


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