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GFDA Top 18 11/21/2016


GFDA Top 18
Here's the GFDA Top 18 for the last two weeks, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward.
1) The Great Falls Rescue Mission opened its new Cameron Family Center downtown. Congratulations to all involved in this wonderful addition to our community and THANK YOU to all who gave so generously to make the $8.6 million project possible!

2) The City issued $4 million in building permits for Cargill's new Great Falls research and development facility.

3) Hobby Lobby and PetSmart announced plans to open stores in Great Falls in 2017, occupying 67,000 square feet of space at the Holiday Village Mall. Ulta Beauty announced plans to open a store in 10,000 square feet of new space to be constructed next to Dollar Tree in the Westwood Plaza. The City Design Review Board approved plans for the new Ulta store and for a new 3,800 square foot state headquarters for the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

4) Tacticality Workwear held its grand opening at 1812 10th Avenue South. The new store sells tactical gear, boots, work wear and gear for firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement, and military personnel. We are proud to have helped finance the new venture. Stop in and see what Lisa and John Chapman have to offer!

5) Great Falls inventor Thor Swensson secured a $500,000 equity investment and 5% royalty deal in his Tailgater company on the CNBC show "Make Me a Millionaire." See more detail in Tribune.

6) Met with a business owner looking to expand operations into his own building to work on alternative financing options. Visited with a loan officer about gap financing for an exciting new project in Cut Bank. If your business can't get all the financing you need from your bank, we may be able to help fill the gap. Contact Mike Archer at

7) Per capital personal income in the Great Falls metro area increased 3.4% in 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and 3.9% in 2014. The October unemployment rate was 3.7%, according to the MT Department of Labor.

8) Networked with agri-processing companies at the MSU Agriculture fall conference, Agriculture Production Trends and Changing Food Systems, and at the Montana Farm Bureau's annual conference. Began planning two January investment missions: one to Seattle/Portland and one to Spokane. What companies would thrive here? Who should we go meet? Call Jolene Schalper with your ideas, 1-406-750-4481.

9) Continued making progress on a downtown development project with an existing company considering relocation. Used ProfitMastery tools to analyze specific areas of focus for an existing business needing to address profit and cash flow problems. Presented details of a business valuation to an entrepreneur considering the purchase of an existing business. Walked through licensing and other startup requirements for a restaurant coming soon to downtown. Participated in a Growth Through Agriculture grant presentation with a new business working toward a Summer 2017 opening. Completed financial projections with another startup preparing for a loan application. 

10) Three members of our GFDA team attended the NADCO annual meeting in San Francisco to learn about changes and new developments in the SBA Grow (formerly SBA 504) program. The SBA Grow program offers low, fixed interest rates for 20 years on commercial real estate and fixed assets. We work with banks throughout the state to offer SBA Grow 504 loans with down payments as low as 10%.  To find out if your business project qualifies, please contact Mike Archer at

11) Participated in an international online Pulse Innovations forum, learning about market trends in pulse foods from leading and emerging industry experts. The Great Falls region is a perfect location for processing pulse foods and ingredients, including protein or snacks and pastas. Contact Jolene Schalper to learn more, 406.750.4481
12) Began financial analysis with a local business working to refinance existing debt. Worked with three other area businesses to address ongoing challenges including pricing, stress management, manufacturing quality, and marketing strategies. Completed an business valuation, using the income approach, for an entrepreneur considering the purchase of an existing business. Began work with two startup businesses to address issues specific to getting organized, challenges with partnerships, and building a strong foundation. Starting, growing and expanding a business is tough work. Whatever your challenge is, don't do it alone. GFDA's Small Business Development Center is here to help by providing constructive feedback, industry analysis and overall guidance. Contact Jason Nitschke at
13) Thank you TD&H for hosting our last three Development Coffees! The next one will be on Friday, December 2, 7:00 AM at GFDA.

14) Hosted five potential entrepreneurs at our November LaunchPoint, pre-business workshop at GFDA. Our 12th and final LaunchPoint of 2016 will be Wednesday, December 7th at 4:00 at GFDA. Space is limited so please register to attend or contact Jason Nitschke or visit

15) Signed an agreement to become a satellite of the Montana Cooperative Development Center to support existing and new coops in the Great Falls trade area. Began coop development training. If you'd like to see if a project of your own would work under a co-op, contact Austin Walker at 1-406-750-3285 or

16) Hosted EPA's Region 8 Brownfield Manager to give a tour of Great Falls Brownfield success stories and potential redevelopment sites. If you would like more information on our Brownfields assessment, cleanup and redevelopment tools, contact Lillian Sunwall at

17) Our New Markets Tax Credit partner, the Montana and Idaho Community Development Corporation, was awarded an allocation of $90 million in additional tax credit authority. If you are interested in learning how to put this powerful tool to work to make your project viable, contact Brett Doney at

18) The Montana Small Business Development Center Network's 2017 Shark Tank business plan competition will be held March 13-14 in Helena. The application period will open January 4th. Startups with less than a year in operations are eligible to compete. Cash prizes totaling $9,000 will be awarded. Start preparing your application today by contacting Jason Nitschke at
Untame Your Entrepreneurial Spirit in Great Falls, Montana!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Brett Doney
President and CEO
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
"My strength lies solely in my tenacity."
Louis Pasteur
Congratulations to TD&H Engineering for receiving top honors as the ACEC-Montana Grand Project Award for the City of Great Falls Multiuse Athletic Field and Intermittent Storm Water Detention Pond at UGF!

Congratulations to the 10th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB on winning the Gen. Thomas S. Power Award from the Air Force Association for best missile combat crew! Congratulations to SMSgt. Brian T. Newbraugh of the 341st Maintenance Group at MAFB on winning the Gen. Larry D. Welch Award-Enlisted for most significant impact of an individual on the overall operations, safety, security, and effectiveness of the Air Force nuclear mission!
Congratulations to the Belt Huskies girls volleyball team on winning the state championship!
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 


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