Archives for October 2018

CEDA Staff Presents Project Updates to High School Students in Blue Earth, MN

Article by: Mary Kennedy

Ninth grade Human Geography students at Blue Earth Area Schools (BEAS) had a chance last month to learn about some of the exciting projects going on in their community when CEDA team member, Mary Kennedy was invited into their classroom to speak about local economic development.

Mary, who serves as both the City of Blue Earth, MN and Faribault County, MN EDA Specialist, was able to provide unique insight into local economic development efforts including a new housing development, two new business parks, and an exciting downtown redevelopment project. Mary was provided with the unit’s four (4) learning outcomes and was able to use those to guide her presentation to the students. Topics included: 1) acquiring, processing, and reporting information within a spatial context, 2) Geographic Inquiry, 3) distinguishing between physical and human characteristics that identify places, 4) identify, organize, and analyze areas of the earth’s surface.

The students were engaged, interested, and had thoughtful questions, while also providing useful feedback about what they feel is needed in the community and what they would like to see and do in the future.

Mary was able to walk the students through an activity using a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool. A favorite moment for both Mary and the students was when the class was able to see how GIS is often used to identify places, acquire information, process data, and create maps.

It was a great experience and great information was shared by both the presenter and the students!

Dodge County EDA to Launch a Business Resource Blog!

Article by: Stephanie Lawson

Every year the Dodge County, MN Economic Development Authority has hosted a summit on a topic that aligns with the priorities set forth by the board.  This year, due to a rapidly changing business environment, the board felt that it was imperative to address the challenges County businesses are faced with, providing the tools, strategies and best practices needed to be successful.  To ensure that the potential summit’s format was the most effective, CEDA team member Stephanie Lawson, who serves Dodge County, put together a survey to gauge interest of those in the business community.

Though survey responses were limited, they revealed that businesses had interest in the education opportunity that the County was looking to offer, however a summit setting was not one that they were seeking.  With this information the board went back to work looking for an alternative, one that would eliminate barriers, allowing entrepreneurs and business owners access to these tools without the need of being present.  Their solution, a blog!  Offering high-quality monthly content postings on various business related topics, the blog will allow viewers access to additional resources and implementation ideas from the luxury of their home or business office.

The blog, managed by Lawson, is anticipated to go live after the first of the year!


CEDA Team Member Helping to Incubate Childcare Business in Mabel, MN

Article by: Bryce Lange

In the City of Mabel, MN, there is a new building standing tall near the steam engine grounds. In early 2018, the Mabel EDA and the City of Mabel awarded a bid to Tollefson Construction, a local contractor, to construct the city’s first business incubator building. The purpose of the incubator building will be to help Mabel’s startup businesses test the market by leasing the building, before committing to buying or building their own building in the City. The incubator will also assist businesses that have good ideas, but a lack of financial backing.

The City of Mabel recognized the opportunities that exist within their City, and decided to play a proactive role in business development. Projects like these are very capital intensive, however, Bryce Lange, the CEDA team member in Mabel, was able to facilitate discussions and partnerships with both the Mabel Telephone Cooperative and MiEnergy Cooperative for bond financing that offered lower interest rates than the private market could, which ultimately helped the project cashflow.

The building was finished and ready for use on September 17th, 2018. The first tenant is Nisse Treehouse, a current childcare provider in Spring Grove, MN. Darcy Thorson, the owner, has stated that she has had numerous families interested in sending their kids to the facility in Mabel, long before the building was even completed. The incubator building, for childcare purposes, will be able to accommodate approximately 60 children.

Many Mabel residents believe that the incubator’s first tenant couldn’t have been a better fit for the community. Lange stated, “in most greater Minnesota cities, finding daycare providers is one of the largest challenges. Having a daycare facility or not, could mean the difference between a young family moving to one city or another.” Recognizing this challenge, the City of Mabel hopes to keep the ball rolling in terms of development and hopes to ramp up interest in housing developments and other business development in the area.