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GFDA Top Ten for September 10, 2017

 GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 14 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen our regional Great Falls economy.

1) Cascade County was named a Top 10 mid-sized county (population 50,000-149,999) in the 2017 Fourth Economy Index. The Index highlights counties that understand the balance of factors it takes to retain and attract talent, support business growth, and create the environment for a vibrant place. Cascade County ranked high in Place, Sustainability and Investment. Congratulations team!
2) Met with corporate executives who visited Great Falls in the final stages of making a decision as to where to expand; worked on a package of tools we can bring to the table to win these jobs and capital investment. Continued work on a major facility expansion, assisted with zoning questions on a business acquisition, and discussed marketing and pricing concerns with two stabilizing startups. 
3) Worked with several food and agriculture processing clients. Need help funding planning, start-up, or expansion related to Montana food and agriculture? We have access to a wide array of resources, including the upcoming Montana Growth Through Agriculture grant round. Contact Jolene to discuss your project and potential opportunities, 406.750.4481 or
4) The C.M. Russell Museum opened the Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center, opened The Emma Josephine Trigg Collection exhibit, dedicated the Black Timber Bugler in the Russell Riders Sculpture Garden, and with the help of many community partners hosted the world premiere of the Montana PBS documentary C.M. Russell and the American West. Congratulations to all involved!
5) Great Falls was the same size as Billings in 1960. It's been a long struggle since then, but now we have momentum on our side. Let's keep it going! Support the proposed Cascade County economic development mill levy. For only $4.05/year for every $100,000 of home value, we can make ourselves more competitive in winning private investment that creates higher wage jobs and builds our tax base. Watch for your ballot in the mail in October. Here is a copy of the County resolution and ballot language.
6) A local business client that we have been working with on government contracting was awarded a $62,000 contract from Malmstrom. Assisted several businesses with getting their invoices submitted under federal government payment platforms. Worked with a business on getting information on cyber security software for their computers accessing federal reporting systems.
7) We're looking for developers and businesses across the state and out of state that are investing in downtown projects. We want to invite them to speak at the upcoming Montana Downtown Conference here in Great Falls on October 19-20. Why choose to build/re-develop in downtowns and what resources make it possible? How can our downtown communities make investing more attractive? We're also looking for Great Falls riverfront and downtown development and business opportunities to feature in the Opportunity Showcase we're hosting October 18-19 just before the downtown conference. Contact Jolene to discuss: 406.750.4481 or
8) Hosted 26 entrepreneurs from around the state in our first webinar, Understanding Credit Card Processing. The Small Business Webinar Series continues in partnership with MEDA and MSU-Extension on October 5. Jason will be presenting Getting Your Business Online. For more information or to register please email
9) Effective SBA 504 Interest Rates are Down for September! After months at or above 4.5%, the effective interest rates in September for SBA 504 loans are: 20-year real estate loan 4.37%; 20-year refinance real estate loan 4.42%; and, 10-year equipment loan 4.14%. Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan. If your business needs help financing commercial real estate or equipment please contact Mike Archer at or 406-284-1789 to find out more.
10) The City of Great Falls is hosting a great training opportunity on September 21. HUD's Davis Bacon and Labor Standards Specialist, Jennifer Scott, will be in Great Falls providing a Labor Standards Workshop. This information is invaluable if you are receiving any federal funds, such as CDBG/HOME Grants, and/or are wanting to apply for federal funds in the future. To register, email Maria Porter at mporter@greatfallsmt.netby Tuesday September 12th at 12 PM.  
11) Mighty Mo Brew Co. became our newest investor at the Community Division level, supporting our work to build the future of the Great Falls regional economy. Everything we do is made possible by the leading companies and organizations in Great Falls that invest in our economic development work. The Cascade County Commission approved its budget investing $50,000. Thank You! If you are ready to invest in growing the Great Falls region, contact Brett Doney at 1-406-750-2119 or
12) Jason attended 11 professional development seminars and networked with business advisors from around the nation at the America's Small Business Development Centers annual conference in Nashville.
13) Is Great Falls growing? Is there a plan for growing high wage jobs? These are some of the questions we hear out in the community. If you're interested in learning how we work together as a community to help businesses create economic growth and higher wage career opportunities, join us at your local neighborhood council meeting or invite us to share with your group/club. This week we will be presenting at Neighborhood Council 7 in the Civic Center Gibson Room at 7 PM on Monday, 9/11; Neighborhood Council 1 on Tuesday, 9/12, 7 PM at Meadowlark School; Neighborhood Council 2 at 7 PM on Wednesday, 9/13, at West Elementary; and, Neighborhood Council 9 at 7 PM on Thursday 9/14 at First Church of Nazarene. 
14) I've been invited to speak in two sessions at the International Economic Development Council's annual conference in Toronto later this month and at the National Community Development Finance Summit in Atlanta in November -- more good exposure to pitch the business case for companies to create higher-wage jobs and build tax base in our region.
Hungry to Grow the Great Falls region!


Brett Doney
Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

"When you surround yourself with smart people, they challenge you to think harder and in entirely different ways."
Marissa Mayer
Congratulations to Grain Craft on the 100th anniversary of its Montana Flour Mills building in Great Falls! See more details in Great Falls Tribune.
Cost-Effective Industrial Sites Available
If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, 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
GFDA Job Openings

Food & Ag Development Center Director. Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. Help businesses and entrepreneurs to start, grow and attract food and agricultural processing operations, develop new products, and break into new markets. Involves market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project advocacy and client business development services. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in food/ag processing, business development, and/or economic development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. Help us grow this important Montana industry sector. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, Open until we find a great candidate.
Commercial Loan Portfolio Manager. Exceptional professional sought to support the growth of GFDA's business and real estate lending and overall economic development efforts. Join our dedicated, passionate, fun, fast-paced, results-driven economic development CDFI team. Help us grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy and support the creation of higher wage jobs. Duties include loan portfolio risk rating and financial analysis, loan documentation and servicing, reporting to a variety of public and private funding sources, maintaining our loan portfolio management system and other specialized software databases, responding to client and partner inquiries, and business development. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, timely submission of reports, and strong computer and written/oral communication skills. Must be detail oriented, self-directed, and organized with the ability to be flexible to help achieve our overall team mission. Lending, finance, government grant management and/or accounting experience preferred. BA/BS or equivalent relevant experience. Salary range $40,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. Work with a great team, help us move Great Falls Forward, and make a difference in people's lives! EOE. Cover letter and resume to Lillian Sunwall atLSunwall@GFdevelopment.orgOpen until we find a great candidate.
Upcoming Business Events & Training
Join us this Tuesday, September 12th for the next Downtown Business Watch to learn more about safety in your community. Business Watch is brought to you by the Downtown Safety Alliance, a committee of the Downtown Development Partnership. The meeting will be held in the NeighborWorks Learning Center at 509 1st Ave South, beginning at 5:30 PM.
Profit Mastery workshops assist entrepreneurs to more efficiently manage the cash flow of their businesses. Our next Profit Mastery workshop is scheduled for September 13-14 at Great Falls College MSU. The two-day course is $125, which includes materials and lunch. Click for more info . We are also offering a QuickBooks basics workshop for $79 on October 11. Click for details:

Great Falls Tourism is offering a free workshop on Preparing Your Business for International Visitors, September 20, 9-11 AM at the C.M. Russell Museum. Register here, password "international."

Import 101 offered by Montana World Trade Center, September 21st, 2:00-5:00 PM in Missoula. More info at or

Montana Downtown Conference, "Attracting Private Investment to Your Downtown," October 19-20 right here in Great Falls. Sponsorship opportunities available, contact Sheila Rice at Come a day early on October 18th for a special Great Falls Downtown & Riverfront Showcase. Register here or email

Senator Daines will be hosting the second biannual Montana High Tech Jobs Summit in Missoula, October 8-9th.  To register or for more information, please visit the website at

Join us for the first annual Montana Food Show! This tradeshow will provide opportunities for food buyers and food producers to connect and find ways to get more Montana foods on Montana plates. Over 50 Montana fresh produce, meat, food and spirit companies will be showcasing their products in Bozeman on Tuesday October, 10, 2017. We invite food purchasers from schools, restaurants, hospitals, grocery stores, catering businesses, and other organizations to attend a private buying event from 10am-4pm. Doors are open to the general public from 4 to 7pm. Buyers can register and learn more at Questions? Contact Steph Hystad with the Montana Department of Agriculture at 406.444.5425 or
Employee Recruitment & Retention workshop in Billings on October 10th, 7:30 AM to Noon at the Big Horn Conference Center. Register here.


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