Recognizing Economic Developers in May
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
May 6-11 is International Economic Development Week (EDW). It’s an opportune time to reflect on the importance of local economic development efforts to building a vibrant and sustainable community.
The International Economic Development Council created EDW in 2016 to help raise awareness for the profession. Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) are often misunderstood because our activities happen behind the scenes, outside of the public eye.
EDW is a chance to recognize economic developers, the local leaders and organizations that work tirelessly to recruit investors, develop businesses, create jobs, enhance the tax base and ultimately improve the quality of life of their communities.
EDOs like the Red Wing Port Authority (RWPA) provide a comprehensive range of critical services geared towards building local economies and supporting area businesses.
Here are some of the primary ways we work to better our community:
Marketing and promotion
Economic developers are at the forefront of marketing our cities and regions to attract prospective investors and residents. We are experts at identifying community assets and business advantages in order to promote them to the world.
The RWPA website is a comprehensive online portal that includes a wealth of information for investors, businesses and potential residents will find useful regarding Red Wing’s amenities and advantages for business.
Assistance with workforce development
Finding skilled workers is one of the primary challenges for businesses today. That’s why economic developers work closely with our local partners to help build and maintain a strong local workforce. EDOs commonly help companies with recruitment as well as the development of specialized training for in-demand jobs.
General support for businesses
EDOs are a valuable resource for new and developing companies. Whether it’s educating entrepreneurs about business planning, assisting them with finding a location or helping them identify financing, such services are integral to helping early-stage businesses succeed.
There are a number of local resources to support Red Wing businesses as they start up and grow. Check out our entrepreneurial toolbox for more information.
Business attraction, retention and expansion
Port Authority staff are continually looking for opportunities to bring businesses to Red Wing to create jobs and expand the tax base. Because existing businesses are crucial to local economies, the Port Authority also offers services to help them succeed and expand. This might be as simple as offering advice or technical assistance. Or it might entail helping a company find or access funds to enable renovations, equipment upgrades or infrastructure improvements.
RWPA has an Entrepreneurial Fund to help attract businesses and help existing businesses expand. Loans from $500 to $50,000 are available for eligible businesses to use on expenditures such as startup costs, working capital, building rehabilitation and more.
Businesses like the Red Wing Brewery, P.S. I Love U Bridal and Live.Save.Give have benefited from this loan. Find out more about the Entrepreneurial Fund.
Sprucing up a storefront is easier with the RWPA Sign, Awning and Facade Grant (SAFG) Program. Businesses within a designated downtown, commercial or industrial zoning district are eligible for funds to improve their exterior signage and facade. Up to $2,500 is available for design, fabrication, installation and repair.
Backwoods Framing & Engraving is one local business that received money from the RWPA to remodel the front of its building using the program. Learn more about this grant funding.
The RWPA facilitates applications for low-interest loans through the USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program for development projects in Goodhue County or the Red Wing Regional Airport. Businesses like Capital Safety, Red Wing Cabinetry, Refined Skin Medi-Spa and Hedin Commons have been able to access this revolving loan fund.
The Port Authority acts as a conduit for a number of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development programs to encourage economic development, such as the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Creation Fund, which were both used for Capital Safety’s expansion in 2014.
In addition, RWPA oversees Tax Increment Financing and Abatement. Such incentives have been used for numerous projects in Red Wing over the years.