East Grand Forks – Workforce is a top priority in East Grand Forks and the City’s Economic Development Board will support programs and incentives in place to help small businesses in need.
One of them is the Northwest Small Business Development Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston. The city’s director of economic development, Paul Golte, said the NWSBDC offers a free service to advise people who want to start a business.
“They help us discuss how to start a business, how to run a business, and how to help keep the business alive,” Golte said.
According to Gorte, having a service that provides both business and financial planning is essential to ensure business success.
“We think it’s important,” he said. “If you have the idea of starting a business, we want it to be profitable.”
The center is funded from state and local endowments. According to Gorte, the EDA is offering his $10,000 annual fee.
The city also works with the Northwest Private Industry Council, a private, nonprofit organization that provides training services to businesses in northwest Minnesota.
Continued support for the business community is one of EDA’s top priorities for 2023 and was a priority for the city last year. City officials regularly meet with business leaders to discuss issues they face. EDA manages a $1.5 million to $2 million revolving loan program for businesses this year.
In addition to supporting local businesses, another top priority for EDA in 2023 is the continued support of Northern Valley Careers and Wave Academy. Both are aimed at getting high school students interested in careers available in the area.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022, the Northern Valley Career Expo will bring together nearly 1,800 high school students from northwestern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota to explore the region’s high-paying, in-demand careers.
The Wave Academy has been in place for three years and operates through East Grand Forks High School. The academy helps connect students with local employers in careers that students may desire. Students enter the Academy as freshmen and graduate as seniors. Over the course of four years, you’ll learn how to apply your interests to your career and gain access to job shadowing and internship opportunities.
Several other priorities for 2023 were approved at the EDA Board meeting late last year. These priorities include:
- “Childcare.” The need for parenting has also been emphasized throughout the last year. The city has begun working with the Rural Child Care Innovation Program, which is run by the nonprofit First Children’s Finance and jointly funded by the Minnesota Department of Social Services and the Michigan Department of Education. At a public input meeting held in early 2022, parents and caregivers shared their thoughts and developed a community solutions action plan. Work is underway on implementing a parenting foundation with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.
“Increase in industrial space – land and buildings” Golte said expanding industrial space is a top priority, but there needs to be a way to finance the expansion. The goal is to work in tandem with the founding of companies. This will provide a portion of the funding so that the costs do not have to be borne locally.
“You have to tie it to something that makes money,” Golte said.
- “Sale of City Land” The city owns several residential properties and would like to continue to sell them.
- “Bridges and Infrastructure” Continued support will be focused on the proposed Intercity and Merrifield Bridge projects, adding two more connections between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Golte said other infrastructure needs are related to ensuring the city has adequate infrastructure to serve the city’s commercial and industrial areas.