Article by: Mary Kennedy
CEDA team members, Annie Leibel and Mary Kennedy, who serve Faribault County, MN and the City of Blue Earth, MN respectively, joined efforts to organize a workshop designed to inform local business owners and stakeholders about the importance of business succession planning.
Blue Earth, one of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) five Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) communities, learned through the REV program’s core team that planning for a successful business transition is lacking throughout the business community.
The Blue Earth REV core team collaborated with the Faribault County Economic Development Authority to plan and host the workshop, which took place on September 10th in Blue Earth. Speaker Jennifer Hawkins, from the University of Minnesota Extension Department of Community Economics presented research and information to over 30 attendees, and answered several questions.
“Board members from the Faribault County Economic Development Authority and the Blue Earth REV team attended every City Council meeting in the county to spread the word about the event,” Leibel said. “We also promoted the event on Facebook, worked with the Blue Earth Area Chamber of Commerce, and advertised in the local newspaper. It was really important to us to make sure that every business knew about the event.”
Kennedy explained that to ensure business owners made attending the event a priority, direct mailings were also sent out, and personal invitations were delivered by staff and board members. “We don’t want to lose even one business in our community. We saw an opportunity to help by making local businesses aware of what succession planning is, and provide them with tools to begin preparing for the future.” said Kennedy.