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GFDA Top Ten for 10/30/17


An aerial view of MaltEurop's complex in Great Falls, one of our many world-class food and agricultural processors.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 21 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen our Great Falls regional economy.

1) The University of Providence announced a major campus expansion and renovation plans. The $25 million Great Falls investment includes a new University Center, new wrestling facility and updates to the Student Union. Work will begin in November on renovations with groundbreaking of the 36,000 square foot University Center to be held in April. See more details and a cool fly-through video of the new facilities here
2) Celebrated the official announcement of our joining the Montana Food and Ag Development Center Network! This gives us more resources to work with businesses and budding entrepreneurs to grow this critical industry sector. Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate, especially Kim Mangold, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture. See full announcement here.
3) Join us in welcoming the Director of our new Great Falls Food & Ag Development Center, Eric Bergman. Eric has been a co-owner and operator of Groundworks Farm in Ft. Shaw since 2009. He serves as President of the Cascade County Farmers Union, has worked as a lobbyist for the Montana Farmers Union, and has experience as a certified water operator, education coordinator and field guide. Eric earned a B.A. in Biology and an M.Ed in Science from the University of Montana. He will start work with GFDA in November to lead our efforts to expand and diversify food and agricultural processing operations.
4) The City Planning Advisory Board/Zoning Commission voted to support a minor zoning change that would enable the proposed 90-room Town Pump Sleep Inn/Mainstay hotel to be built in 2018. It also supported annexation and PUD zoning for the 124-unit Rockcress Commons affordable rental development.
5) Our High Plains Financial Board of Directors approved an SBA 504 loan to help two female entrepreneurs purchase the local business they are working for so that their boss can retire and they can become their own boss. If you're interested in finding out how the SBA 504 loan program can help with ownership transitions or other commercial real estate and fixed asset purchases with down payments as low as 10% and below market, fixed interest rates, please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or email
6) Participated in the Montana State Chamber's annual meeting in Great Falls. The Chamber reported on the first year of its work implementing Envision 2026: A Plan for Montana's Future. Learn more about this important effort to make Montana more competitive here.
7) On November 11, 1930, Memorial Stadium was dedicated to the memory of ten former GFHS students who fought and died in service to our country in WWI.  On Friday, Great Falls Public Schools formally rededicated the Stadium to the memory of those who served our country in time of war and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their service. The field has recently been improved with turf and a new track. Great story about this in Great Falls Tribune.
8) We published our Quarterly Investor Letter. Spoke with two wonderful Great Falls clubs this week, the Sunrise Lions Club and a PEO Chapter. GFDA is happy to come discuss our community's strategies to grow and diversify the economy with your club or group, just give us a call! Jolene 406.750.4481.
9) Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute has acquired a Varian Edge Radiosurgery System, the first in the region.
10) This week we engaged SelectUSA of the U.S. Department of Commerce to help us set-up appointments with targeted Japanese food and agricultural processing companies for a trip we are planning next spring. As part of our visit, we plan to meet with the parent companies of Columbia Grain, Pasta Montana, and Helena Chemical to thank them for their recent investments in the Great Falls region. According to SelectUSA, 7,000 jobs in Montana are directly supported by majority foreign-owned affiliates.
11) From our friends at KRTV: Eli's Soup & Subs has opened at 1701 3rd Street NW, former location of The Feedlot. Thelma Taggart and her husband recently opened Mi Cocina at 215 9th Street North. They own the tamale truck that would park on the west side of town on the corner of 6th Street SW and 10th Avenue South.
12) Our business coach received notice of gap financing approval for a local business acquisition. Reviewed the initial draft applications for two companies applying for the Department of Agriculture's Growth Through Agriculture grant and loan program. GTA applications are due November 15th. Began work with three new startup businesses. All three are looking to address feasibility, financing, target markets, and operational policies. Continued participating in a cooperative conversion steering committee that has now elected its board of directors and will soon be collecting subscriber pledges. GFDA's Small Business Development Center works with entrepreneurs throughout the area to start, grow and expand. To request assistance, reach out to Jason at
13) A 219th Red Horse Squadron team of the Montana Air National Guard is helping with recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. To start, they have constructed three tent cities. See more details here.
14) Published our GFDA Top 10 Reasons for Voting YES on the Cascade County economic development mill levy.
15) Want to help pass the YES for Cascade County Jobs mill levy to keep our economic momentum going? We need sign locations! Please email or call Jolene, 406.750.4481 or Please share your support! We have a logo to post to Facebook, flyer, talking points, and information. A good starting point is to read and share the Tribune articlethat explains the request and the Tribune Editorial endorsement.
16) The Great Falls International Airport has installed new bison and bear sculptures by artist Wendy Klemperer. See more in KRTV article. Now we need a bobcat!
17) Join other GFDA Investors for the monthly Development Coffee at Stockman Bank, 711 3rd Street Northwest at 7 AM. Contact Jolene with questions 406.750.4481.
18) Efforts to create a National Heritage Area in the Great Falls region moved a step forward. The Upper Missouri River Heritage Area Planning Corporationhas raised $50,000 and selected a consultant to develop a feasibility study. There are 49 National Heritage Areas, mostly in southern states. The program was created under President Reagan to boost cultural tourism, to preserve our heritage, and to educate future generations about our roots.
19) A Great Falls Tribune open survey found that two-thirds of people were optimistic about the future of Great Falls. Lots of interesting responses to the survey. Read the full article here.
20) Great Falls wages have grown 13.1% in the past five years! Please help us spread success stories. We've put together highlights of the past five years. Click here to view.
21) The Montana Technology Innovation Partnership announced a new grant opportunity. Fast Phase 0 is designed to reimburse Montana small businesses for costs associated with applying to the Phase I SBIR/STTR program. FAST Phase 0 offers grants of up to $3,000. For more information and/or to apply, visit MTIP's website.
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.

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
William Jennings Bryan
Upcoming Business Events, Training & Resources
Our next The LaunchPoint pre-business workshops are November 8th and December 12th from 4-5pm at GFDA. Space is limited so register early for November 8 or December 12. For more information on trainings or one-one business coaching, contact Jason at
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a wide variety of valuable workshops and trainings this fall. Visit

Our Fire It Up! business networking event sponsored by Embark Credit Union will feature roundtable presentations and conversations led by experienced women business leaders. Topics include: marketing, packaging your business for financing, networking like a pro, legalities of hiring and firing in a nutshell, and creating a company culture to cultivate a work life balance. Join us November 14 at 5:30 PM in the Dark Horse Hall, lower level of the Celtic Cowboy. Register here
USDA opened a new round of its Value Added Producer Grant(VAPG) program that helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products. The goals of the program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. Eligible applicants include independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Visit here for more info or contact GFDA for help.
Cost-Effective Rail-Served 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 Opening
Loan Servicing & Data Processing Associate. Exceptional professional sought for new position to support the growth of economic development efforts. Duties consist of servicing closed loans including loan payments, payoff requests, file management, loan modifications, annual file reviews, and responding to client and partner inquiries. This position will be responsible for implementing new software systems and transitioning paper files into electronic copies. Must be able to maintain several different databases to be able to provide reports to funding sources and investment partners.
Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, timely submission of reports, and strong computer and communications skills. Must be detail oriented and organized with the ability to be flexible to help achieve our overall team mission. Lending, finance, CDFI, government grant management and/or accounting experience preferred. Salary range $35,000-$40,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Please send cover letter and resume to Brett Doney at Open until we find a great candidate.
Hungry to Grow the Great Falls region

Grow and diversify the Great Falls regional economy.
Create higher wage career opportunities.
Improve market competitiveness.  
The first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to earn accreditation from the International Economic Development Council.

GFDA is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a 501(c)3 charitable organization. High Plains Financial is a certified Community Development Corporation that offers SBA 504 loans statewide. GFDA and High Plains Financial are Equal Opportunity Lenders.
GFDA is proud to host a Montana Small Business Development Center
and a Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center.
For more info, click to our website.


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