Five Organizations Receive Economic Development and FEAST! Smart Start Grants

Owatonna, Minn – July 10, 2018 Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) approved five grants totaling $65,000 to support education and technical support for new or existing entrepreneurs and businesses, and to build resources for creating a sustainable and resilient food economy for southern Minnesota.

A total of $45,000 in Economic Development Grants, designed to support new collaborative initiatives for entrepreneurial and business growth, were awarded to three organizations:

  • $15,000 to the Faribault Diversity Coalition to promote economic growth in downtown Faribault by providing an attractive and functional co-working space for start-up entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking an affordable and client-friendly work environment.
  • $20,000 to Red Wing Ignite to unify entrepreneurial activity efforts in southern Minnesota by supporting entrepreneurs through an individualized growth accelerator program with customized mentoring.
  • $10,000 to Winona Port Authority to provide a series of training sessions and resources for entrepreneurs, co-working space members and any interested public.

A total of $20,000 in FEAST! Smart Start Grants, a program designed to provide assistance to food entrepreneurs, were awarded to two organizations:

  • $10,000 to Region Nine Development Commission to provide support to farm and food entrepreneurs through a structured technical assistance and transformational coaching process in their nine-county service area covering Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan counties.
  • $10,000 to the Cannon River Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota to launch a regional brand to identify food produced in the area, and to build a committed group of producers, food entrepreneurs, and allied businesses well-equipped to partner in a vibrant local food economy in the Cannon River region covering Dodge, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Rice and Steele counties.

“We are excited to fund these new initiatives to support the development of new companies in our region,” Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development at SMIF. “Thanks to these communities and partnerships southern Minnesota continues to springboard new ideas creating pathways to grow innovative entrepreneurs.”

For more information on SMIF’s grant programs, contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at 507-214-7040 or .