Red Wing economic development: much more than ‘winging it’

Red Wing economic development: much more than ‘winging it’ Main Photo

3 May 2023


Economic development is a continuous cycle of understanding a region’s strengths and needs, matching its ability to support existing business operations and community development with building momentum toward growth opportunities. For Red Wing, MN, the ongoing, complex process is the complete opposite of just ‘winging it!”

Since 1985, the Red Wing Port Authority has been the economic development agency with the primary goal of helping companies take advantage of the opportunities to expand and grow in the vibrant economy of Red Wing. It is an ally to local businesses by forging close links between community and business leaders to help the economic, workforce and community development of Red Wing advance toward a thriving future.

Observation on economic development 

The International Economic Development Council recognizes the critical support structure and guidance from organizations like the Red Wing Port Authority with its eighth annual National Economic Development Week (EDW) from May 8 to 12. The week is an opportune time to reflect on the importance of local economic development efforts like those from the Red Wing Port Authority to build a vibrant and sustainable community.

EDW is a chance to recognize economic developers, the local leaders and organizations who work tirelessly to recruit investors, develop businesses, create jobs, enhance the tax base and ultimately improve the quality of life of their communities. Many resources are available for participating in this year's events. The IEDC’s 2023 Economic Development Toolkit offers many ideas, while using #EconDevWeek can help amplify the value EDOs have in a community. 

Calendar of events

Several events over the next month highlight the work of area resources like the Port Authority, Red Wing Ignite and others can offer for local businesses.

Customer Discovery: 2-Part Virtual Workshop

  • May 9 & May 23
  • 5 pm - 8 pm
  • Presented by Red Wing Ignite, this workshop will walk through the process of learning who your ideal customer is and where to find them, whether they will buy your solution and how many of those customers exist.

Welcoming Wednesdays for Startups and Small Businesses

  • May 10 (second Wednesday of each month)
  • 9 am - 4 pm
  • Open house sessions at the Red Wing Ignite office spotlight startup resources available to Minnesota entrepreneurs.

The BIPOC Hub at Red Wing Bicycle Co.

  • May 10
  • 5 pm - 7 pm
  • Presented by the Minority Owned Business Network, entrepreneurs and small business owners can hear from a local business owner’s journey through the entrepreneurial path. Additionally, the Red Wing Port Authority Minority Loan Program will be a featured discussion point. 

Red Wing WordPress Meetup

  • May 20
  • 10 am - 12 pm
  • Amber Hinds of Equalize Digital will illustrate how to test websites for maximum accessibility for people with disabilities. 

Launch Minnesota Friday Forums

  • May 26 (fourth Friday of each month)
  • 9 am - 10 am
  • A collection of public and private sector individuals discuss the topics facing Minnesota’s startup community.

Design Like a Boss: Canva 101

  • June 1
  • 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Build a Business Plan - 2-Day In-Person Workshop

  • June 12 & 14
  • 9 am - 12 pm
  • This workshop helps entrepreneurs turn their idea into a business reality by guiding them through designing a value proposition, conducting market research and testing an idea with potential customers.


Commitment to Red Wing development

The list of activities the Port Authority provides for the Red Wing community includes business retention, expansion and attraction, entrepreneurial and small business support, workforce development, marketing, promotion and more. Specific support services include:

  • A revolving loan fund with a portfolio exceeding $3 million to fill the financing gaps in business expansions and start-ups.
  • Partnering with government agencies and the private sector to coordinate financing to make projects a reality.
  • Administration of Red Wing's Tax Increment Districts.
  • Partnerships with organizations, such as the Red Wing Housing and Redevelopment Authority, to help facilitate the restoration of historic downtown Red Wing.
  • Issuing Industrial Revenue Bonds to finance, in whole or in part, the cost of acquisition, construction and reconstruction.
  • Owns about 50 acres of developable land, complete with infrastructure.
  • Operation of a riverfront bulk transfer facility for shipping bulk commodities via water transport.
  • Site selection assistance.

You can support Red WIng’s economic development too!

The Red Wing Port Authority is working to keep Red Wing growing and the ideal place to live, work, recreate and relax. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube to see what is happening in the great city of Red Wing!


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