Archives for May 2017

Stewartville, MN Receives $9,000 SMIF Grant for New Business Incubation Program

Article by: Joya Stetson

The Stewartville, MN Economic Development (EDA) was recently notified that they have been awarded a $9,000 Incentive Grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).  Joya Stetson, the CEDA team member serving the City of Stewartville, successfully authored the grant for the implementation of a new business incubation program that the City’s EDA is launching this summer.

The new and exciting program will encourage the creation and support of new for-profit businesses that contribute to a sustainable and diverse business climate within the City’s business/commercial districts. The program will provide business owners with CEDA coordinated education and tools to promote long-term success while filling currently vacant commercial properties in Stewartville.  Although the EDA will not have a central incubation space, the provision of rental assistance over 18 months is expected to aid startup success rates.

New businesses leasing eligible, vacant properties may receive rental assistance at a decreasing rate for 18 months in accordance with the following scale: Months 1-6: 50% subsidy or $830/month max; Months 7-12: 33% subsidy or $560/month max; Months 13-18: 17% subsidy or $275/month max.

A series of entrepreneurial educational classes will be mandated for participants and will be open for existing businesses to attend as desired free of charge. The following 90-minute courses will be mandatory for participants in the program: Business Planning and Financial Projections (Prerequisite), Market Research, Pricing and Inventory, Marketing Strategies, Customer Service and Business Etiquette, Online Marketing, Websites and Social Media, Basic Bookkeeping, and Legal Considerations for Small Businesses. All courses will be coordinated by CEDA Senior Vice President and Small Business Development Center Counselor Cris Gastner.

Businesses accepted into the program will also be required to participate in quarterly meetings with open financials and to deliver a public presentation after one year outlining challenges, achievements, and plans for future sustainability.

The generous grant from SMIF will allow the City to fully commence the program and leverage resources to maximize benefits to the businesses and the community as a whole.

“[The City] is pleased to offer this tool as a part of our economic development efforts,” said Mayor Jimmie-John King. “We understand how difficult the first year of business can be, and are hopeful that the assistance being offered here will be advantageous for new businesses locating to our community.”

CEDA Welcomes Kasson, MN and Goodhue, MN

CEDA is happy to announce that the team will now be serving the City of Kasson, MN and the City of Goodhue, MN as a part of the organization’s Community Support Program.

CEDA Community and Business Development Specialist Rebecca Charles began work in Kasson in May.  “Kasson is a great community that prioritizes quality of life for its businesses and residents,” Charles stated. “I feel lucky to be a part of the research, planning and program administration that will lead to even more success for the City!”

The City of Goodhue, MN will begin its contract with CEDA this June.  CEDA Community and Business Development Specialist Donna Mack will be leading the organization’s efforts there.  “We’re really looking forward to working with the City of Goodhue,” said CEDA Senior Vice President Cris Gastner. “The community has so many exciting opportunities on the horizon; I cannot wait to see the progress we will make together!”

We look forward to working with both communities for the duration of 2017 and beyond!

Spring Grove Pilot Program Reflects on a Successful Year

Article by: Courtney Bergey

The City of Spring Grove recently extended its contract with CEDA to continue the Spring Grove Pilot Program, which began in July 2016. This new model vastly increased the City’s investment in economic development, moving from a one-day-per-week contract to four days a week. The program utilizes a team of CEDA staff working both in the community and remotely.

In the past year of the Pilot Program, the City of Spring Grove, MN (pop. 1,300) has seen visible improvements in the community. An 80-slot, state-of-the-art daycare opened last fall, five businesses have moved into the downtown district, and the EDA recently received an award letter for a $417,000 BDPI grant. The grant funds will be used to extend sewer to the undeveloped industrial park where the iconic local business Spring Grove Soda Pop plans to build a new 25,000 sq ft facility. 

“Our investment in CEDA has laid the groundwork for many exciting projects in Spring Grove, and we are excited to continue our partnership,” said Mayor Sarah Schroeder. “Many of these advancements would not have been possible without CEDA’s work in the community.”