Economic Development Resources
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Below you will find a comprehensive guide to business assistance programs offered through Dodge County, Regional Initiatives, the State of Minnesota, and Federal Government. You'll also find information to help you start or grow your business in the links below. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Dodge County EDA - we're always happy to help!

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PLANS and REPORTS



DODGE COUNTY PROGRAMS and RESOURCES

Dodge County Revolving Loan Fund Program
  • The Dodge County Revolving Loan Fund is a "gap financing" tool used to assist in the financing of business projects which would otherwise lack the required funding. This program is designed to work in combination with private sector financing (banks) and is not intended to be a source of primary financing. The Revolving Loan Fund program provides gap financing at loan amounts of up to $25,000 per project.
  • The Revolving Loan Fund may be used for land or building acquisition, site improvements, new construction, renovations, machinery, equipment, fixtures, inventory, working capital (with certain limits), workforce development and utilities or public infrastructure.
  • Revolving Loan Fund Guidelines
  • Revolving Loan Fund Checklist
  • If you are interested in a Revolving Loan, please contact Dodge County EDA Staff to review project eligibility.

Dodge County Commercial/Industrial Property Inventory
The Dodge County EDA maintains a comprehensive inventory of commercial and industrial sites throughout Dodge County. If you're interested in finding a certain type of commercial or industrial property in Dodge County we can help out. If you're looking to sell or lease your commercial or industrial property, we invite you to fill out the "Submit a Property" form and let us know your property is available! Please contact the Dodge County EDA Staff with any questions!


Dodge County Community Development Blog
The Community Development Blog features articles that help you get the most out of living, working, and playing in Dodge County. We aim to promote Dodge County community development news, whether it be new projects or programs available to local businesses. Check in every once in a while to see what programs or news we have for you!


Dodge County EDA Facebook Page
The Dodge County EDA maintains a Facebook page to help keep the business community up to date on the latest news and resources. We often post links to business seminars, blog articles, and events. We also share information from relevant organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and MN Department of Employment and Economic Development. Give us a follow and stay in the know!


SE MN REGIONAL PROGRAMS and RESOURCES

FutureForward
FutureForward is a networking tool designed to facilitate in-depth connections between students, educators, and local business professionals. Developed by Southeast Service Cooperative, the FutureForward tool addresses issues of workforce development, attraction, and retention. 

The FutureForward tool is free to use for employers and makes it easy for local businesses to engage with schools, students, and educators. Create a company profile on the website and your business will be able to add dates for student tours, hiring fairs, and view the school calendar for events like business fairs. 

Related links:

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF)
SMIF is a donor supported foundation that invests in economic growth in the 20-county region of Southeast Minnesota. Some key initiatives SMIF works to support are economic development, early childhood development, and community vitality. The following is a list of a few programs SMIF operates to support their regional initiatives:

  • Loan Funds
    • Business Loans: Loans of up to $200,000 targeting several key industries (manufacturing, technology, local foods, agriculture and health care)
    • Building Block Loans: Loans of up to $15,000 to support the businesses of family child care
    • Small Enterprise Loans: Micro loans up to $35,000 provided through a partnership with the SBA to support small business owners or start-up entrepreneurs who create service, retail, local foods, and manufacturing businesses
  • Equity Funds
    • Seed Funds: Up to $25,000 to support start-up stage businesses that need capital, business expertise, and networking opportunities. This fund helps companies perform research and analysis, patent opinions and filings, and product testing and analysis
    • Southern Minnesota Equity Fund: Up to $100,000 in financial capital and expertise to early stage and start-up companies. The Fund partners with other organizations and individual investors to leverage capital and expertise to grow innovative companies who will provide economic opportunities for Southern Minnesota

Southeast Minnesota SCORE

SCORE, America’s premier source of free, confidential small business advice, was founded in 1964 as a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Southeast Minnesota Chapter of SCORE provides free and confidential one-on-one business mentoring tailored to meet the needs of your small business and your personal objectives. The chapter also offers Local Workshops for a modest fee, for both start-up and in-business entrepreneurs. Clients have access to dozens of local face-to-face mentors and hundreds of e-mail mentors throughout the country.

Related links:

Southeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
The SE Minnesota SBDC offers no cost, confidential consulting to help businesses in the region identify, understand, and overcome the challenges of starting a business, running a successful business, and developing exit strategies. The SBDC provides professional expertise and guidance that every small business owner needs to flourish in today's business world. The SBDC can work with business owners and financial institutions to prepare documentation that lenders require for business loans. The SBDC also hosts business seminars to keep you up to date on business trends and solutions.

Related links:

504 Corporation
The 504 is a non-profit organization certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide financial assistance to small businesses. The 504 Corporation works with the SBA and lenders to deliver the 504 loan program to small businesses. The primary goal of the 504 loan program is to create and retain jobs, as well as to increase the property tax base, expand manufacturers, expand rural economies, and assist women, minority, and veteran owned businesses. 


Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI)
RAEDI assists existing and potential businesses in the Rochester area secure the private and public resources needed to execute their growth plans. Since its inception, RAEDI has assisted hundreds of businesses that have generated more than $2 billion of local economic activity and have created thousands of jobs. RAEDI services include financial packaging, business planning, site/location support, and business/community advocacy. 

Related links:


STATE PROGRAMS and RESOURCES

Starting a Minnesota Business
Starting a business in Minnesota is not a single decision but a series of them, each one an important step on the road to a successful launch. MN DEED's Starting a Minnesota Business website will help you tackle the most common questions in the order you're most likely to need answers. Some resources and information you'll find here about starting a business include: before you start, organizing a business, business plans, accounting, taxes, insurance, and more.


Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants

Launch Minnesota is a statewide collaborative effort to accelerate the growth of startups and amplify Minnesota as a national leader in innovation. Launch Minnesota innovation grants are targeted to the most promising scalable technology startups. Innovation grants are awarded on a competitive, ongoing basis and include:

  • Business operations expenses:  up to $35,000
  • Housing/child care expenses:     up to $7,500 SBIR/STTR
  • Phase 2 recipients:                            up to $50,000
Relevant links:

Minnesota Job Creation Fund
The Minnesota Job Creation Fund program provides financial incentives to new and expanding business that meet certain job creation and capital investment targets. Companies deemed eligible to participate may receive up to $1 million for creating or retaining high-paying jobs and for constructing or renovating facilities or making other property improvements. For extremely large projects, companies may be eligible to receive up to $2 million. Award amounts depend on job creation and investment levels.

The program is available to businesses engage in select industries including manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and technology-related industries, among others. Businesses submit an application which must include local government supporting documents. Projects that begin prior to becoming designated by DEED are not eligible for the Job Creation Fund. Visit their website for a full list of requirements, eligibility, available benefits, application materials, and more.


Minnesota Reservist and Veteran Business Loan Program
This program provides loans to companies that are affected when certain employees are called to active military duty. It also gives loans to individual veterans who have returned from active duty and want to start their own business. The program provides one-time interest-free loans of $5,000 to $20,000. 

Business loans are for existing small businesses that have an essential employee called to active service in the military reserves for 180 days or longer on or after September 11, 2001. The business must be injured substantially due to the employees absence. Startup loans are for veterans who were on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, seeking financial assistance to start their own business. 


STEP Grant Program: Export Assistance
The STEP Grant Program is a matching grant program that provides financial and technical assistance to qualifying small and medium-sized business with an active interest in exporting products or services to foreign markets. Participants may be first-time exporters or companies that are currently exporting but are interested in expanding into new international markets. Businesses must be pre-approved in order to be eligible for reimbursement.

Financial assistance is available to Minnesota businesses, who may apply for reimbursement of up to $500 for export training or up to $7,500 for approved export development activities, including participation in trade missions, exhibiting at trade shows, translation of marketing materials, and development of foreign language websites among other actives. 


Angel Tax Credit
Minnesota's Angel Tax Credit provides a 25% credit to investors or investment funds that make equity investments in startup companies focused on high technology, new proprietary technology, or a new proprietary product, process, or services in specified fields. Investors, funds, and businesses must be certified by MN DEED in order to participate in the program. Key features of the Angel Tax Credit include:

  • A 25% tax credit for investments in small, emerging businesses
  • A maximum credit of $125,000 per person per year
  • A state refund if credits exceed tax liability
  • Focus on high-tech businesses or those with a proprietary product, process, or service in select industries
Apply online and find complete program information at the link above.


Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program
The Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program provides tax benefits to businesses located in Greater Minnesota that increase employment. Qualifying businesses that meet job-growth goals may receive sales tax refunds for purchases made during a seven-year period. To become certified to participate in the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program, a business must meet the following qualifications:
  1. Increase employment at the business's facility by a minimum of two full-time equivalent (FTE)  employees or 10% of the current number of employees, whichever is greater, within three years
  2. Pay compensation, which includes wages and benefits not mandated by law, which on an annualized basis equals at least 120% of the federal poverty level for a family of four, to all employees at the business' facility (see website for annual amounts)
  3. Be in operation for at least one year within a city, or a county if an agricultural processing facility, in Greater Minnesota, which generally excludes the seven county metropolitan area
  4. Meet prevailing wage guidelines at the business facility if a construction or improvement project is undertaken and if the business is awarded a sales tax refund (about prevailing wage requirements)
  5. Does not sell goods or services primarily to local markets; the program is for businesses with sales and customers primarily outside Minnesota (i.e. the business is in a "traded sector")
There are further conditions listed on the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion website. To help determine if your business is eligible, fill out the initial assessment form. If you can answer 'yes' to all the questions on the initial assessment form, you may be eligible for the program.


Research and Development Tax Credit
If your business paid certain research and development (R&D) expenses in Minnesota, you may qualify for the Credit for Increasing Research Activities. The R&D credit is equal to 10 percent of qualifying expenses up to $2 million, and 2.5 percent for expenses above that level. Qualifying expenses are the same as for the federal R&D credit - defined in Section 41 of the Internal Revenue Code - but must be for research done in Minnesota.

Examples include R&D-related wages, supplies and research contracted outside your business. Contributions to qualified nonprofit organizations that make grants to early-stage technology businesses in Minnesota also may qualify.


MN DEED Training Grant Programs
MN DEED offers grants through a variety of programs to offset training-related expenses incurred by businesses to develop new-job training or retraining for existing employees. 
  • Partnership ProgramProvides grants of up to $400,000 to educational Institutions that partner with businesses to develop new-job training or retraining for existing employees.
  • Pathways ProgramProvides grants of up to $400,000 to educational institutions or nonprofit organizations that partner with businesses to provide training, new jobs and career paths for low income people.
  • Job Training Incentive ProgramProvides training grants of up to $200,000 to new or expanding businesses located in Greater Minnesota.
  • Low Income Worker Training ProgramProvides grants of up to $200,000 to public, private, or nonprofit entities to help low-income people gain new skills necessary move up the career ladder to higher paying jobs and greater economic self-sufficiency.
  • Automation Training Incentive Pilot ProgramProvides training grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses that are implementing new automation technology.


FEDERAL PROGRAMS and RESOURCES

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development

The U.S.D.A. Rural Development Office, has an extensive list of programs to assist new and existing businesses with construction, equipment purchases, renewable energy production, and energy efficiency upgrades.

Rural Development has over 15 programs, ranging from competitive grants to guaranteed loans, designed specifically for small businesses and agri-businesses in rural America.


Small Business Administration (SBA) - Loans
Banks and other lending institutions offer a number of SBA guaranteed loan programs to assist small businesses. While the SBA itself does not make loans, it can guarantee loans made to small businesses by private and other lending institutions. Below is an overview of the SBA's programs:

  • General Small Business Loans
    • 7(a) Loan Program: The 7(a) loan program is the SBA's primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guaranty percentage and loan amount, may bary by the type of loan. Click on the 7(a) program link to view different types of 7(a) loans. 
  • Real Estate and Equipment Loans
    • CDC/504 Loan Program: The CDC/504 loan program provides financing for major fixed assets such as equipment or real estate. 
  • Microloan Program
    • The Microloan program provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000. Microloans can be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery, or equipment.