City of St. James awarded Small Cities Development Program grant

Friday, August 31, 2018

The City of St. James was recently awarded a grant totaling $663,320 which will help with an important issue in the community. Housing. The City of St. James first began the application process to receive the grant many months ago when a grant opportunity became available through a federal grant program called Community Development Block Grant Program. In Minnesota, the grant program is called “Small Cities Development Program,” and the City decided to pursue the grant to make improvements for the community. One of the things that the City did to help secure the grant was to hire Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to help...
Great River Energy expected to buy St. James Spec Building

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The City of St. James is drafting a purchase agreement and speaking about terms to sell their EDA Spec Building. Maple Grove, Minn. — Great River Energy has agreed to purchase a new 20,000 square foot steel building that is currently being constructed in the St. James Industrial Park. The City of St. James Economic Development Authority approached Great River Energy about buying the building and site from the city as a way to attract and grow local business. “This site is ideal for Great River Energy,” said Jud Goerss, manager, field services. “It’s strategically placed for serving our member-owned distribution substations...
Workforce diversity is becoming more of a reality in southwest Minnesota

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Diversity is a competitive advantage. According to the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), “research shows organizations with employees of different ages, races, genders, religions, physical abilities and thinking styles perform better.” Diversity can help to attract and retain quality employees, expand the customer base for a business and enhance performance and innovation. The reality is the workforce in southwest Minnesota is becoming more diverse, and to survive employers will need to embrace diversity. That was the message offered earlier this summer when SWIF, in conjunction with a number of regional groups, hosted “Changing Times – Changing Faces,” which addressed the reality of workplace diversity. Luke Greiner,...
MSU, SCC get grants for workforce training

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

MANKATO — Minnesota State University and South Central College are among those getting grants for workforce development. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development awarded $2.7 million in grants under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership to train 4,402 workers. Businesses initially meet with an accredited educational institution to explain their training needs and to learn options. Once they agree on a plan, the educational institution contacts DEED to determine eligibility for a grant. MSU and Gentle Touch Health Initiative received at $240,000 award. Gentle Touch operates independent, assisted living memory care and care suite properties in 40 Minnesota communities. Gentle Touch Health...
DEED awards Silver Bay area $500,000 grant

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Economic Development announced it awarded more than $500,000 to rehabilitate residential properties and commercial properties in the Silver Bay area. The grant is the result of a partnership among the City of Silver Bay, Lake County and the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. The grant would provide up to $24,750 for 10 "owner occupied" low- to moderate-income single-family homes. The money could then be used to make improvements on the home such as a new roof, siding or even rehabilitating a kitchen or bathroom. The money can't be used for any outbuildings, like a garage, but otherwise, the money can...

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lake Country Power representatives gathered July 31 for a special groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of its future new headquarters in Cohasset, Minn. Officials from Lake Country Power, Hawk Construction, Architectural Resources, Inc., and the City of Cohasset, were present with shovels in hand, hard hats and comments for the nearly 60 individuals in attendance. Other local officials were also present. “This is a long-term investment that will serve Lake Country Power members and employees for the next 50 years or more,” said Greg Randa, general manager for Lake Country Power. “It’s also a positive change for the co-op’s future as...
Chad Landmann joins Bremer Bank

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bremer Bank is pleased to announce that Chad Landmann has joined the Fergus Falls team as a business Banker. In his new role, Chad is responsible for client relationship management and new business development. Landmann has worked in the financial services industry for the past 14 years. He joined Bremer from American National Bank of Minnesota, where he served as a commercial and consumer loan officer. Previously, he worked as a member advisor at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, and earlier in his career, he was an underwriter at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.  “Chad is a wonderful addition to our team,” said...
“Wherever you are going, we are going too”: Transit Alternatives’ Otter Express more than just a jingle

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

‘Wherever you are going, we are going too’ “Wherever you are going, we are going too,” is a fun jingle that many people in the area would recognize as the Transit Alternatives Otter Express motto. It’s simple and yet couldn’t be more true as they seek to help people to get to where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to go. This program is all thanks to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Productive Alternatives, which is a non-profit social services agency, working together to provide the area with public transit. As President of Productive Alternatives, Steve Skauge explains, the program was created...
New Chamber-led platform innovates matching employers, job-seekers

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Minnesota Chamber Foundation has expanded its initiatives to help connect employers and candidates in the midst of today’s challenging workforce shortage. MN Job Match is a distinctive job-to-candidate matching platform that helps employers find the right fit in qualified candidates. “Businesses are only as strong as the talented people they employ. And hiring the right people – with the right talent – is more challenging and important than ever before,” said Doug Loon, Minnesota Chamber president. “Traditional recruiting methods often require sorting through volumes of resumes, which is costly and time consuming. It often means settling for less than ideal...
County to apply for grant to fund more broadband

Monday, August 20, 2018

Aitkin County may have an opportunity to increase its broadband funding through the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRRB) community infrastructure grant. Upon recommendation from Economic Development Coordinator Ross Wagner, the board approved submitting an application for the IRRRB grant during its regular meeting on July 24. Last year, the county dedicated $450,000 for a three-year Aitkin County Broadband Development Grant, to be funded at $150,000 a year for local projects. This year, SCI Broadband, Inc. and Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (MLEC) submitted applications to the county. The Economic Development Committee recommended the county award its grant to SCI since it will...
Grand opening of new Bell Museum has link to Palisade company

Monday, August 20, 2018

Superior Thermowood of Minnesota’s Palisade wood treatment plant has been processing wood, making specialized parts, and negotiating new markets, all while working to rebuild after a devastating fire in July 2015. The business was open within 13 days of the fire to complete orders for lumber. However, according to owner and manager John Bieganek it’s been an unbelievable challenge for him and his employees, Gene Mejdrich, Vern Bishop, and Greg Kaczor to move forward with all the damage from the fire still so visible around them. Despite the challenges, roughly 360,000 board feet of lumber was processed in 2017. Rising from the...
Broadband initiative success stories shared with Blandin leadership

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Community leaders from Aitkin met with Bernadine Joselyn and Mary Magnuson of Blandin Foundation, and Bill Coleman from Community Technology Resources in Aitkin on July 21. The group met to share success stories and celebrate the first round of Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) success stories. The BBC program is an intensive, two-year partnership between rural Minnesota communities (cities, counties, tribes or other self-identified communities of interest or place) and the foundation. Selected communities work through a proven process to define their technology goals, measure current levels of broadband access and use, and seek technical assistance and resources to meet their goals. Each BBC...
In a tight labor market, Minnesota employers look to an under-utilized labor pool: workers with disabilities

Saturday, August 18, 2018

On the main floor of the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI), Karen Howson is busy arranging piles of flat plastic sheets and transferring them to a nearby production line. From there, her co-workers fold the sheets and then carefully place them under sonic welding machines to form corrugated plastic mail trays that will eventually go to the United States Postal Service. In July, Howson will celebrate her second anniversary as a full-time production line worker at MDI, which designs and manufactures plastic totes, trays, boxes and other products for big and small companies, including Amazon, Caribou Coffee, Best Buy and 3M. Continue to full article
This Minnesota Startup Built a National Directory for Women-Owned Businesses

Saturday, August 18, 2018

MAIA launched earlier this year with a straightforward, single-minded goal: to compile a huge list of women-owned businesses and turn it into an easily-searchable online directory. By developing a platform that made it easy to find women-owned businesses, MAIA founders Kateri Ruiz and Angel Rowell hope to make it easy for consumers to find and support female entrepreneurs across the country. Eden Prairie-based MAIA officially launched in late April, and now has more than 700,000 businesses from across the country listed on its site. But this is just the beginning, Ruiz and Rowell told Minne Inno. There are around 11.5 million women-owned businesses in the United...
Everything You Need to Know About Minnesota’s Startup Incubators and Accelerators

Friday, August 17, 2018

Getting a startup off the ground is hard work, but incubators and accelerators are there to help. They provide early-stage companies with essential resources such as a workspace, mentorship, and often times funding to give them a fighting chance. More and more startups are popping up in the Twin Cities, and right along with them are more accelerators and incubators to help them find success. Accelerators and incubators are similar, but not interchangeable. While incubators offer ongoing support, coaching and connections – operating like a co-working space with benefits – accelerators tend to be structured programs for a certain length of...
Midwest manufacturing growth slows, but still strong

Friday, August 17, 2018

Minnesota, Midwest saw an increase in June, but the rate has slowed Manufacturing growth, while still strong, slowed some in June as producers said they worried about the impact of U.S. trade tariffs and global trade wars. The monthly Mid-America Business Conditions Index, produced by Creighton University, tracks factory conditions in Minnesota and eight other central states. Results for June showed the growth index at 61.8, down from an unusually robust 67.3 in May but still far above the neutral growth 50. Minnesota's index fell to 58.8 from 64.2 in May, putting it seventh among the nine states surveyed. Continue to full article
Jobs Bounce Back in May – After Weather-related Hiring Pause

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Minnesota’s unemployment rate for May dropped to 3.1 percent, with the addition of 10,200 jobs.    With those gains, the state has added 29,188 jobs in the past year, a 1 percent growth rate. Sector details: Manufacturing gained 1,400 jobs in May. Minnesota’s over-the-month growth rate in manufacturing of 0.4% in May was again higher than the US average of 0.1%. Given revised April and preliminary May job numbers, 2018 bodes well for manufacturing. The past four months registered the longest streak of over-the-month gains since December 2014. Job gains were concentrated in Durable Goods manufacturing which gained 1,200 (+0.6%) over-the-month jobs, while Non-Durable...
Minnesota Business Firms Expect Unchanged Conditions for 2019

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Firms point to stability in the state’s overall economy ST. PAUL – Minnesota business services firms feel positive about the economy, with nearly 90 percent expecting sales revenue to increase or remain stable next year, according to a joint survey released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Business services firms are less optimistic, however, that productivity and employment levels will grow or remain stable in 2019. Sixty-eight percent expect their supply of workers to remain stable. That’s down from 77 percent last year. Only 7 percent of respondents anticipate labor availability...
Co-ops help strengthen the manufacturing sector

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Manufacturing is critical to a vibrant economy. It helps fuel innovation — for every $1 spent in manufacturing another $1.89 is added to the economy, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. East Central Energy (ECE) understands the value of supporting manufacturing. That’s why the cooperative recently approved two loans to support expansion projects at manufacturing facilities in Sauk Rapids and Cambridge. ECE is one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives. The co-op provides electric service to more than 60,000 homes, farms and businesses across 14 counties in east central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. ECE maintains an economic development revolving loan fund (RLF)...
Daikin Applied expanding its manufacturing presence in Minnesota

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

On its journey to become the No. 1 applied HVAC manufacturer in North America, Daikin Applied recently announced its proposal to expand production capabilities with a new state-of-the-art, built-to-order manufacturing facility in southern Minnesota, north of Faribault. Daikin selected Minnesota to host the $40 million project over competing sites in the southern United States and Mexico, due in part to infrastructure upgrade commitments made and financed through a partnership between the city of Faribault, Rice County and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Great River Energy is also assisting in the project by covering Rice County’s portion of the financial...
Illume to move its headquarters to Maple Grove Business Park

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Maple Grove's new 50-acre business park has found an anchor tenant. Illume Holding Co., which produces candles and other personal fragrance products, recently announced plans to consolidate its operations into a 288,000-square-foot facility in the Arbor Lakes Business Park being developed by Duke Realty. Bob Sandberg, vice president of power supply and business development for Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association (WH), said “the addition of Illume will help diversify the economy in the Arbor Lakes area, adding a new segment of development from the retail and apartments complexes which have driven development to date.” In addition, Sandberg noted, “the addition of Illume candles and...
Women collaborating, making strides in their industries together

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Women are playing an increasingly important role in the worlds of commercial real estate and economic development – and they are bringing with them a wealth of knowledge from previous jobs on their career path, as well as the strength of relationships built among each other along the way. Erin Sparks, economic developer with Great River Energy – a not-for-profit wholesale power cooperative based out of Maple Grove, Minn. – and Kylle Jordan, regional business development manager at Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), are examples of women making strides in their fields while working collaboratively to achieve both...
DEED approves job creation funding for five businesses

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Businesses commit to investing $20.7 million, creating 131 jobs ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) approved grants totaling nearly $706,000 to support five business expansion projects in Greater Minnesota.  Grants from the Job Creation Fund were approved for projects in Glenwood, Stewartville, Albert Lea, Monticello and Zimmerman. Four of the businesses are majority woman-owned firms.  "Supporting business expansions like these is exactly what the Minnesota Job Creation Fund is designed to do," said Governor Mark Dayton. "I congratulate these Minnesota businesses and their hard-working employees for their successes. We are grateful for their contributions to our economy and...
Rural communities see big returns with broadband access, but roadblocks persist

Monday, July 30, 2018

“For rural America there’s a major struggle to keep people and ideas in these small communities,” said a small town mayor. A contractor building high-end houses in Minneapolis swung by Greg Hull’s sawmill on Friday, a timber operation located in deeply rural Lake County, Minnesota. The builder had seen Hull’s website and driven nearly 250 miles to the mill to inspect Hull’s high-end lumber as potential building material for his homes. These days that’s not unusual. In the past year-and-a-half, Hull has seen orders balloon and interest grow, and a significant factor is his recent ability to gain access to high-speed internet....
Minnesota's youth labor force growing

Monday, July 23, 2018

New numbers from DEED show Minnesota has more teens working during the summer. MINNESOTA - Summer is almost here and that means kids are antsy to get out of school and start having more fun. But many teens will be busy working, some collecting a paycheck for the first time. Through Growing Good, about 50 youth will be digging in the dirt at community gardens in the Twin Cities. The program is run by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to teach kids job and life skills. "They're growing vegetables, herbs and selling them to local restaurants. They're learning how to create invoices, communication skills, and...
Growing Minnesota’s food industry

Friday, July 20, 2018

Agriculture and food processing have long been an integral part of Minnesota’s economy. The state’s agriculture and food production industries now account for $57.5 billion in sales and more than 147,000 jobs. Food manufacturers are increasingly harnessing advanced technology to move the industry forward. Two-thirds of the state’s food production companies are located in rural areas, which presents an opportunity for Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives. Great River Energy’s economic development services team is developing a cohesive strategy to help its member-owners capitalize on Minnesota’s growing food industry, with financing programs to support expanding businesses and shovel-ready sites to attract new investment...
Optimism grows among Minnesota manufacturers

Friday, July 20, 2018

The state of manufacturing is strong. A full 93 percent of Minnesota manufacturers are financially confident about the future, which is just a hair off last year's high-water mark of 94 percent, according to a recently released survey by Enterprise Minnesota. "There has never been as much energy in manufacturing as there is today," said the consulting firm's CEO, Bob Kill. "And that's a cool thing to say, because we face a lot of challenges." Kill unveiled the results of the 10th annual State of Manufacturing survey Thursday morning at the Radisson Hotel Duluth to a crowd of economic development professionals that welcomed...
Ranking of world's top 1,000 universities puts Minnesota, many from Big Ten in first 50

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A well-regarded annual ranking of 1,000 of the world’s universities is out, and the University of Minnesota is one of nine Big Ten schools landing among the top 50. The U came in 35th on the list released by the Center for World University Rankings. The center, based in the United Arab Emirates, is a global consulting organization providing policy and strategic advice, and consulting services to governments and universities. It has been publishing the academic ranking of universities since 2012. Continue to full article
How Minnesota farmers are using different plant varieties, and new techniques, to extend the state's growing season

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

When horticultural and wine scientists at the University of Minnesota apply for funding to research growing grapes in a climate better known for producing soybeans than wine, they often have to answer a common question: Why bother? “We get that pushback when we submit grants all the time,” said Matt Clark, who leads the University’s grape breeding project. The simple answer – why not? – smacks of the same spirit many Minnesotans adopt to handle long, cold winters. Yes, the climate presents challenges, but farmers and ag researchers also see opportunities: Breeding cold-hardy fruit varieties has made the university a lot of money...
Survey report suggests Midwest economy still steaming ahead

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. — The surging business conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states will be tested by trade conflicts and other factors that could slow growth, an economist said in a survey report issued. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index recorded its highest mark in 14 years last month, hitting 67.3 in May, compared with 64.5 in April, according to the report. The March figure was 62.1. This is the 18th straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0, pointing to strong growth for the region over the next three to six months. Continue to full article
The State of Internet Connectivity in Minnesota’s K-12 Schools

Monday, July 16, 2018

96 percent of Minnesota school districts had access to high-speed Internet in their classrooms. Here’s what’s left to do. Ninety-six percent of Minnesota school districts had access to high-speed Internet in their classrooms in 2017. This year, thanks to federal and state funding and local partnerships, we may see every school district in Minnesota on a scalable fiber connection to support K-12 education.  The Minnesota Legislature established goals to help Minnesotans improve the availability and use of broadband services in 2010. Shortly after, the Office of Broadband Development was created to “connect communities, policy-makers, providers, regional support organizations, and state and federal programs with each...
U.S. Treasury approves Minnesota Opportunity Zones

Friday, July 13, 2018

128 census tracts in Minnesota to receive the designation ST. PAUL – The U.S. Department of Treasury today approved 128 low-income census tracts in Minnesota to be designated as Opportunity Zones. All of the approved census tracts were recommended to Treasury by Gov. Mark Dayton in April following recommendations from cities, counties and tribal nations.  Opportunity Zones are a new economic and community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term economic development and housing investments in low-income communities nationwide. “Expanding access to good jobs and better opportunities has been a top priority for my Administration. These efforts have been...
Minnesota Exports at $5.3 Billion in First Quarter

Thursday, July 12, 2018

State companies set record for export sales in a first quarter ST. PAUL – Sales of Minnesota agricultural, mining and manufactured exports soared 9 percent to a first quarter record of $5.3 billion, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  The agency said Minnesota businesses exported 930 different products to 187 countries during the quarter. U.S. exports were up 8 percent during the period, with 45 states reporting increased export sales. “Minnesota companies achieved sales that were $450 million higher in the first quarter than in the same period a year earlier,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera...
New DEED Pilot Program Offers Interest-Free Loans for Startups

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs accepting loan applications through July 16 ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting loan applications through a new program designed to help early-stage businesses that are developing high-tech products or services in Minnesota.  Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE) is a pilot program that will provide interest-free loans ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. Businesses approved for loans under the program must have a 1-to-1 match from another funder and repay the loan within four years, with no payments required in the first year. The program is an initiative of the Minnesota...
Agronomy facility gets initial nod: Variance, CUP recommended to town board

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Two hearings marked progress in CHS Prairie Lakes' plan to build a new agronomy facility in Todd Township. At both hearings, CHS requests were questioned by residents of the area near Portage Lake, but township officials recommended approval. The Starbuck-based agricultural service firm, which has operated a facility for 50 years in the city of Park Rapids, hopes to store fertilizer, feed and seed on a 27.8-acre property at the southwest corner of County Road 48 and County Road 28. The company recently purchased the land from Todd and Tracy Hughes and had part of it rezoned from agricultural to commercial. Continue to full article. 
People, power costs keep indoor farming down to Earth

Monday, July 09, 2018

There’s a budding industry that’s trying to solve the problem of the limp lettuce and tasteless tomatoes in America’s supermarkets. It’s full of technologists who grow crops in buildings instead of outdoors, short-cutting the need to prematurely harvest produce for a bumpy ride often thousands of miles to consumers in colder climes. More than 30 high-tech companies from the U.S. to Singapore hoping to turn indoor farming into a major future food source, if only they can clear a stubborn hurdle: high costs. These companies stack plants inside climate-controlled rooms, parse out nutrients and water, and bathe them with specialized light. It’s all...
Steering students toward manufacturing

Friday, July 06, 2018

Victoria Erickson placed a welding helmet on her head and slid her hands into a pair of safety gloves, eager for her turn to practice soldering at Ridgewater College. “I love it,” she said after she finished. Erickson, 15, a sophomore at LeSueur-Henderson High School, began learning about welding this past year after enrolling in her school’s welding program. She said she likes “the hands-on experience. It’s really entertaining.” Erickson was one of about 165 area high school students who attended Ridgewater College’s Manufacturing Expo April 6 in Hutchinson. Tammy Jablonski, a machine tool technology instructor who helped organize Ridgewater’s sixth annual Manufacturing Expo,...

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Lake Country Power has selected Hawk Construction, a Grand Rapids area contractor, to lead construction of the electric cooperative’s new service center in Cohasset, Minn. The co-op will break ground on the $11.2 million project later this spring. Hawk Construction provided the lowest bid for the 68,000-square-foot facility. All bids came in under the co-op’s projected construction costs. The service center will be in Cohasset’s expanded industrial park, west of the co-op’s present location along U. S. Highway 2. “This is a long-term investment that will serve Lake Country Power members and employees for the next 50 years or more,” said Greg...
Schara joins WCI as marketing coordinator

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

West Central Initiative welcomes Rick Schara as its new marketing coordinator. He will work primarily on WCI’s Live Wide Open regional marketing campaign, helping businesses, communities, counties and organizations promote reasons for people to live and work in west-central Minnesota. Schara previously worked for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) as a business services representative. Prior to DEED, he was executive director of the 544 Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping support the mission of the Fergus Falls Area School District. He has a master’s degree in business communications from the University of St. Thomas and a bachelor’s in...
Market value up in county

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

The overall estimated market value of Aitkin County is showing its first substantial increase since the 2008 assessment. “This is good for a stable real estate market,” said Assessor Mike Dangers. The Certificates of Real Estate Value (CRV) is filed with the state each time a real property sale of $1,000 or more takes place. CRV volume has increased over 30 percent in the last three years. This is evidence of an active real estate market, Dangers said. Another indication of a healthier market is the number of sheriff sales and sales where banks are the seller continue to decline in the...
MLEC’s Zelenak: ‘Focus is on safety, efficiency, community’

Monday, July 02, 2018

The annual meeting of the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (MLEC) at Eddy’s Mille Lacs Lake Resort was attended by 93 members. Minnesota Senator Carrie Ruud attended the meeting briefly, as did David Saggau, CEO of Great River Energy (GRE). GRE is the wholesale supplier of electricity to the cooperative, which is one of 28 different distribution systems supplied by GRE. The full annual audit report of the cooperative’s financial statements can be viewed at the cooperative office. Board election Ballots were counted for the election of MLEC board members. Incumbents Bruce Robinson of Palisade and Michael Reem of Aitkin were elected for...
2019 Final Four to bring $142M, 94,000 visitors to Twin Cities, analysis claims

Friday, June 29, 2018

Event at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2019 will attract 94,000 visitors — and their wallets.  The economic impact estimate is in for the 2019 Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium, so let the debate begin. The number is $142 million. “We didn’t want the biggest number, we wanted the most credible number,” Final Four CEO Kate Mortenson said. The 2019 Minneapolis Final Four Local Organizing Committee commissioned the report by Pennsylvania-based Rockport Analytics, the same firm that did the pre-Super Bowl LII estimates and is now analyzing the actual financial gains from the NFL event. Trying to define a community’s financial benefit from hosting a...
Gov. Dayton Submits Opportunity Zone Recommendation to U.S. Treasury

Thursday, June 28, 2018

128 census tracts in Minnesota recommended for Opportunity Zone designation Gov. Mark Dayton recommended to the U.S. Department of Treasury 128 low-income census tracts in Minnesota to be designated as Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones are a new economic and community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term economic development and housing investments in low-income communities nationwide. “Expanding access to good jobs and better opportunities has been a top priority for my Administration. These efforts have been especially important in communities that are experiencing continuing economic disparities,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “The Opportunity Zones program provides Minnesota a great...
Pathways to Prosperity Awards $17.8 Million Statewide for 57 Workforce Training Programs

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Workers with employment barriers receive training for in-demand careers The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded 57 grants statewide totaling $17,884,007 under the Minnesota Pathways to Prosperity program. Pathways to Prosperity Competitive Grants fund programs and services designed to provide workforce development and training opportunities to adults in Minnesota experiencing barriers to employment. These programs help job seekers develop increased career awareness, participate in education training and skills-training programs, and connect to employment in high growth, high demand industries with long-term opportunities. "The Pathways to Prosperity initiative plays an essential role in the training of our state's workforce, and...
Four Companies Awarded Job Creation Fund Grants

Friday, June 22, 2018

Funding will support economic development in Barnesville, Cottage Grove, Norwood Young America, and Ranier Grants totaling more than $560,000 were approved by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for business expansion projects in four cities. DEED awarded the funding from its Job Creation Fund for projects in Barnesville, Cottage Grove, Norwood Young America, and Ranier. The grants were approved during the first quarter of 2018. The grants are expected to create 49 new jobs. "The Job Creation Fund plays an important role not only in job creation but also in enhancing a community's tax base by supporting these investments," said...
Ritz Machine Works to open first U.S. facility in Cambridge

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A tube bending and manufacturing services company based in Canada will open their first U.S. facility in Cambridge. During the Cambridge City Council meeting Feb. 20, Economic Development Director Stan Gustafson explained staff has been working with Ritz Machine Works from Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada, that will be starting its U.S. operation in a vacant industrial building located at 315 Garfield St. S., in the southeast Industrial Park. Following discussion, the council approved a loan agreement and promissory note for $50,000 to Ritz Machine Works. The loan will have an interest rate of 3 percent amortized over seven years. The building at 315 Garfield St....
Interior Department renews leases for Twin Metals mine project

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The U.S. Interior Department said it has reinstated the mineral rights leases for a company that wants to build a copper-nickel mine near Ely in northeastern Minnesota, reversing a decision to deny the renewals that was made in the closing weeks of the Obama administration. The department’s Bureau of Land Management informed Twin Metals Minnesota of its decision in a letter, company spokesman Bob McFarlin said. The move followed a legal opinion from the department’s solicitor last December that concluded that Twin Metals has the right to renew its two leases, which date back to 1966. President Barack Obama’s administration had cited the...
Hansen taking Northspan reins as Lasky retires; Palmquist promoted

Monday, June 18, 2018

The The Northspan Group’s Board of Directors selected Elissa Hansen to succeed Randy Lasky as president and CEO when he retires. “We’re excited to welcome Elissa to the Northspan team,” said Jeff Borling, Economic Development Lead at Great River Energy and chair of the Northspan Board of Directors. “It was a tough decision given the number of highly qualified candidates who applied for the job, but we are confident Elissa possesses the right combination of skills and experience needed to ensure Northspan continues to serve as an innovative leader in regional economic development and business consulting.” For more than a decade, Hansen has...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), in partnership with the University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development, brought Profit Mastery to Grand Rapids. The workshop was held April 24 and 25. Profit Mastery is a program developed by BRS, built around the core premise that to improve financial performance, it must be measured. Profit Mastery training is designed to help owners and managers of small business better understand financial management. The two day, hands on training included: basics of cash flow management; financial statement analysis; cash flow planning; overcoming common cost, volume and pricing issues; and preparation for growth. The cash-to-cash...
Allstar makes winning change; countdown begins for move into new facility

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Milaca-area wee ones who attend the Allstar Child Care Center are about to graduate to a different Milaca location and a brand-new facility designed especially for the needs of infant-through-school-age children.  Business owner Linnea Otto, Allstar Director Amanda Hoffman and the 20 other employees in the Allstar family are busy but beyond excited to be moving into the new facility. Continue to full article
Kwik Trip outlines plans for Milaca

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kwik Trip presented its plans at the March 12 Milaca Planning Commission meeting for a station and convenience store at 920 First St., just north of the Hardee’s, to be completed in the 2019 construction season.  Kwik Trip development coordinator Nate Byom said, “I just want to say how excited we are to come to Milaca.” Continue to full article. 
Expo shows off business emphasizes community

Monday, June 11, 2018

Milaca Chamber Director Andrea Mikla said she had 30 vendors booked but room for a few more in the 51st annual Business Expo and CommUnity Breakfast held March 24 at the high school, 500 Highway 23 West. The Expo ran until noon, but the complimentary breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs ended at 11:30 a.m. Mikla there are usually 800 to 1,000 breakfasts served, so that is a rough estimate of how many people came to the event. Businesses and organizations set up booth space around the gym and breakfast area to offer products, communicate information and meet people. Continue to full article.   
Daikin Applied proposes expanding its manufacturing presence in Minnesota

Monday, May 21, 2018

On its journey to become the number one applied HVAC manufacturer in North America, Daikin Applied announced its proposal to expand production capabilities with a new state-of-the-art, built-to-order manufacturing facility in Southern Minnesota, north of the city of Faribault. Daikin Applied is a division of Daikin Industries, the world's number one air conditioning company headquartered in Japan. As the global HVAC leader, Daikin Industries has more than 90 production bases around the world to meet the specific needs of regional world markets, including two successful US plants in Faribault and Owatonna, Minnesota. Daikin Industries' executives and team members explored multiple site...
New Minnesota USDA rural development director focused on improving quality of life

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Brad Finstad understands rural Minnesota. Having grown up in that setting and served in various capacities related to rural Minnesota in both the public and private sector, Finstad has a handle on the issues communities are facing. In addition, Finstad served as a legislative aid and then as a state representative, so he has an understanding of how government works. All of that experience will serve Finstad well in his newest role as state director of USDA rural development. “It is quite an honor for me to serve in this role,” said Finstad, adding he was appointed by President Trump. “My whole career has...
Chamber hosting Women’s Networking event

Monday, April 09, 2018

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a networking and development opportunity for women on March 15,  at the Best Western Plus/New Ulm Conference Center. Mingle With A Purpose: Heels And All, featured Molly Cox, was an opportunity for women to get together, network with other women, and leave with a re-energized outlook on home and work life. This was the 5th Annual Women’s Networking Event. The evening began at 5 p.m. with mingling, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. This was also an opportunity to take advantage of complimentary professional headshots sponsored by Citizens Bank that was offered.  There was a...
Business survival rate top in the nation

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Minnesota has the country’s highest five-year survival rate for new businesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Minnesota, of the businesses that launched five years ago in 2012, 57.4 percent of them were still operating. That’s the highest percentage nationwide. The five-year survival rate nationally is 50.2 percent. Many Midwestern and Plains states landed in the top 10 for their business five-year survival rate: 1. Minnesota, 57.4 percent 2. South Dakota, 56 percent 3. Massachusetts, 55.7 percent 4. Iowa, 55.4 percent 5. Wisconsin, 55.1 percent 6. Maine, 54.7 percent 7. Missouri, 53.8 percent 8. Ohio, 53.5 percent 9./10. California and Montana, 53.4 percent Continue to full article. 
Hutchinson businesses can showcase what they do at Expo

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Hutchinson businesses can showcase what their business does in the community at the Bring It Home Family Fun & Business Expo. The expo will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14 at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. All participating businesses/organizations must be located within a 10-mile radius of Hutchinson. The Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce’s Bring It Home Committee hosts this event to showcase what is in Hutchinson and to remind community members that there is no need to leave Hutchinson to purchase goods and services that they need. This one-day expo draws all age ranges. There are activities for children,...
Starting a business? Help is available

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The 2018 edition of “A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota” is available from the Small Business Assistance Office at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The guide, which is free of charge, provides a summary of issues faced by people starting a business in Minnesota. “Small businesses employ just over half of the private-sector workforce and create nearly two-thirds of the nation’s jobs,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “While starting a business is no easy task, this guide gives entrepreneurs the information they need to start a successful business in Minnesota.” The guide contains information for business success. It...
Venema appointed consumer account rep at Lake Country Power

Monday, April 02, 2018

Lake Country Power recently appointed Becky Venema of Bovey, MN as consumer account rep II in its Grand Rapids Service Center. Venema will be responsible for resolving a wide range of member inquires and concerns regarding issues such as billing, work orders, service orders and transfers. Venema most recently worked as an accountant at the Bigfork Valley Hospital. She has a bachelor’s degree from Rasmussen University in accounting. Continue to full article. 
Remer Northland School accepts more than $39,000 from Lake Country Power

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Lake Country Power recently presented a rebate check to Northland Community Schools in Remer, Minn., for $39,781, making it the largest commercial rebate the co-op has processed to-date. “It was a nice surprise to receive this money from Lake Country Power,” said Dan Switzer, chair of the school board. “There was so much going on during the building project that we didn’t know rebates would be available from the co-op.” The Remer Northland School installed high efficiency LED lighting, and variable frequency drives on the motors for its new building, qualifying the school for the rebate. These energy-saving products will help the...
Economic development services launches new website

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Great River Energy has launched a revamped website that highlights its economic development efforts in Minnesota that includes a comprehensive suite of user-friendly tools and information for site selectors, entrepreneurs and business owners. The new economic development portal is a comprehensive repository featuring data from Great River Energy’s 28 member cooperatives and their service territories, in-depth information on industry sectors, resources for businesses looking to relocate and more. The site was rebranded with an updated look and feel, featuring an interactive map of the cooperative service territories. Users can click on areas of the map to bring up individual co-op profiles with...
Faribault Foods expansion earns EDAM’s Project of the Year Award

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The City of Faribault recently received the 2018 Project of the Year Award by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM) for working diligently with Faribault Foods and La Costena Group to accommodate a large-scale expansion project involving complex public infrastructure needs and an aggressive timeline. EDAM hosted an awards ceremony as part of its annual winter conference to recognize projects and professionals in the economic development industry who have gone above and beyond or faced significant challenges in the last year.  The Project of the Year Award recognizes an individual or a group who worked to complete a project that...
Fergus Falls Area Entrepreneurs, Creators & Innovators approaches one year anniversary

Thursday, March 29, 2018

January and February are the months of annual reports for many organizations and for the Fergus Falls Area Entrepreneurs, Creators & Innovators (EC&I) it is not different. Formed in April of 2017, the Fergus Falls Area EC & I is a monthly gathering of entrepreneurs, technologists, veterans, students, investors, artists and anyone who is an innovation enthusiast. Participants come from multiple counties and attend when their schedules allow – translation: no membership requirements and notices are shared online via Meetup and Eventbrite. The question could be asked, do we really need another gathering? EC&I members over this last year have, after percolating...
Great River Energy certifies new round of data center sites

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Data centers have become integral to everyday life. They provide the security and bandwidth needed to store and process information, making tasks such as email, streaming video and transferring money possible. The demand for data centers will continue, as companies such as telecommunication providers, banking and healthcare institutions depend on fast, secure and reliable data transmission and storage. The Midwest is home to about 22 percent of the nation’s data centers, and Minnesota is emerging as a leading location for such facilities. The state has a number of attributes that lend itself to hosting data centers, such as a low incidence of...
Lambrecht helps market region for data center growth

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Many organizations and people play a role when it comes to promoting Minnesota as a place to do business, including Tom Lambrecht, economic development services manager at Great River Energy, who recently participated on a panel at the Utilities and Data Center Conference in Austin, Texas. There, Lambrecht touted the Midwest region’s capabilities for data centers and that, as a utility, bringing this type of business to Minnesota is a top priority for Great River Energy. As large-scale power users, data centers stabilize the demand for power and bring economic growth. They represent large capital investment projects, bring good jobs and...
Spurring business growth in Anoka County

Thursday, March 29, 2018

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” - James Cash Penney This apt quote by the founder of the department store chain JCPenney can be applied to economic development. Sustainable growth requires investment and engagement from a broad range of stakeholders. But gathering disparate parties to work in concert with one another toward a given goal requires leadership. A couple of years ago while attending GREATER MSP meetings, Bruce Sayler, principal of community and economic development at Connexus Energy, noticed the vast majority of big development projects in the region were taking place within the...
Local counties eligible for support from FCC’s Connect America Fund

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Nearly 17,500 rural homes and businesses in Minnesota that are currently unserved by high-speed Internet service could get connectivity in the near future. These homes and businesses are in unserved areas of Minnesota eligible for financial support from the next phase of FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF), which helps offset the high cost of extending broadband service into rural areas. The FCC will be distributing these funds through an innovative “reverse auction,” which is scheduled to launch on July 24. “Connecting the unconnected in rural America is my top priority,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I’m excited that our CAF auction will...
McGregor Baking Company 2017 Business of the Year

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mark and Stacy Bohn, owners of McGregor Baking Company and Café, were presented with the 2017 Business of the Year award at the annual McGregor Area Chamber of Commerce dinner held on Jan. 29. The Bohns opened the McGregor Baking Co. and Café in May 2006, a result of the encouragement of Stacy’s uncle Terry Babcock and his wife, Paula, who own a bakery called “A Sweet Affair” in Walnut Creek, Calif. Mark trained in the art of baking in the San Francisco Bay area in an effort to bring delectable baked goods to the McGregor area, while Stacy uses her creativity...
Business consulting services offered in Aitkin

Monday, March 26, 2018

The North Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Central Lakes College recently began offering its business consulting services at the Birchwood Center in Aitkin. The SBDC offers information, training and consulting to individuals who are interested in starting or purchasing a business and to owners of existing businesses who are looking to expand. The program is paid for through a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Central Lakes College. The center serves 11 counties in north central Minnesota with its regional headquarters in Brainerd. While the SBDC has been part of...
Priming 20 acres for potential industrial development

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Aitkin Action Alliance met on Feb. 14. Industrial Park Committee member Ross Wagner reported to the group that Aitkin County recently approved the land transfer for over 200 acres along the Mississippi River. Aitkin County Growth will retain 20 acres from the sale, and will use proceeds from the sale of 207.5 acres for site development through Minnesota DEED Shovel Ready program. Shovel Ready refers to commercial and industrial sites that have had all of the planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soils analysis and public infrastructure engineering completed prior to putting the site up for sale. The Shovel Ready program...
McLeod Co-op Power moving forward on new site

Friday, August 24, 2018

The McLeod Cooperative Power Board of Directors is moving forward to bring together its facilities onto one site at the Glencoe East Industrial Park. After about a year of negotiations with the city of Glencoe for an approximate 10-acre site, the co-op has the parcel it needs to remedy a too-small garage for today’s large bucket trucks; gain efficiencies by co-locating the pole yard, garage, and offices on one site; provide better access for customers; and serve power to itself through construction of a new facility. The parcel purchase is pending upon final approval of the purchase terms by both parties. “The...