OWATONNA, Minn., December 12, 2018  Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) approved four Economic Development grants totaling $33,900 to organizations that participated in a “Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” event earlier this year. The goal of the grant is to fund projects that support the development of entrepreneurial cultures in communities that are in SMIF’s 20-county region.

Funding was awarded to the following organizations:

  • $5,000 to the City of Spring Grove for the Imagine Spring Grove Entrepreneur Toolkit and accompanying programming to equip entrepreneurs with the resources and information they need to address common business challenges, such as start-up procedures, financial management, succession planning and more. This grant will leverage the momentum started by Spring Grove’s participation in SMIF’s Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures (REV) program.
  • $8,900 to Community and Economic Development Associates for the Bluff Country Collaborative – Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative which engages youth in meaningful exploration of entrepreneurial career opportunities in Houston, Fillmore and Winona Counties. This initiative will inspire youth to explore entrepreneurship as a viable career option, providing access to educational opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.
  • $10,000 to the Development Corporation of Austin (DCA) for the Austin Food & Beverage Co-Manufacturing Feasibility Study. In partnership with Riverland Community College – Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, DCA will conduct an assessment of manufacturers, food industry experts and food entrepreneurs of gaps and needs to support scale-up-ready businesses.
  • $10,000 to Minnesota State University, Mankato for the Extension of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem workshop. A pilot collaboration between Rochester’s Destination Medical Center and Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, this high-quality design workshop will equip college students to develop solutions to real world problems with the goal of growing a culture of entrepreneurship by sparking innovative projects.

“We are excited to fund these new initiatives to support the growth of entrepreneurship in our region,” said Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development at SMIF. “Thanks to these organizations, southern Minnesota continues to be innovative in its approach to economic development.”

Additional funding for economic development projects is available. To inquire about this grant program, contact Pam Bishop at 507-214-7013 or pamb@smifoundation.org. For information about SMIF’s other grant programs, contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at 507-214-7040 or jenniferh@smifoundation.org.

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. The Foundation has provided more than $111 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 32 years. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.smifoundation.org.

Media Contact:

Katie Godfrey
Communications Coordinator