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Regional Economic Development Organizations Come Together
During this time of uncertainty, peer organizations need to come together to share ideas and strategize.  Recently, the leaders of economic development organizations from some of Minnesota’s regional centers did just that. 

RAEDI President Ryan Nolander joined a coalition of leaders from regional economic development organizations including:  APEX (Duluth/Superior), Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, Greater Mankato Growth, and Greater MSP.  They started meeting regularly to strategize ways to manage the Covid-19 crisis and they see value going beyond the current situation. 

“Obviously, the situation we are currently facing was the impetus for the five us coming together, but in doing so we have realized the value in this collaboration moving forward,” stated Nolander.  They look to continue their conversations going forward and hope to be able to create a list of priorities that they can work together to achieve.

 
Rochester Area Organizations Unite to Offer Economic Support Options to Local Businesses and Nonprofits
To assist local businesses and nonprofits who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Rochester organized a local economic stability team.  The team – comprised of representatives from the City of RochesterRochester Area Chamber of CommerceRochester Area Economic Development (RAEDI), Olmsted CountyDestination Medical Center (DMC), and the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) – has engaged with a variety of city residents and business owners to identify business needs not currently being addressed by city, state, and federal relief programs.

On March 16th, Rochester’s City Council allocated funding to create Covid-19 programming and asked the economic stability team to create and manage the programming.  In response, the economic stability team has created the $250,000 Emergency EDF Loan Program, administered by RAEDI, and the $100,000 Keep it Local Grant program, administered by the RDA. 

RAEDI and the City of Rochester also worked with the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide additional funding so that the SBDC could increase their capacity for assisting local businesses through these difficult times.

 
Collider Foundation Offering Microgrants for Brick and Mortar Small Businesses

The ‘United We Stand’ Small Business Microgrant Fund, administered through the Collider Foundation, is providing emergency cash assistance for brick and mortar businesses in Rochester.
 
Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for qualifying businesses. Money in the funds is supported solely through sales of "United We Stand- Six Feet Apart" shirts designed and sold by local entrepreneur David van Eijl, and through donations directly to Collider's fundraising campaign for the grant.
 
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Rochester-based brick and mortar businesses critically impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for up to a $500 grant per business applicant. Grant funding will only be given for eligible expenses including rent, utilities, and other costs of operations for brick and mortar businesses in Rochester.  Learn more at
www.collider.mn/uws

Clean Plus, Inc. (CPI)
Produces Hand Sanitizer
RAEDI staff recently heard from one of its 2019 R.A.V.E. (Recognizing Acknowledging Valuing Entrepreneurs) honorees, CPI (Clean Plus, Inc.) out of West Concord, Minnesota.  CPI founder, George Coy, shared what they are doing during the Covid-19 pandemic.  “Since we manufacture soap, we are technically an “essential” business. We were drafted into producing and selling FDA approved hand sanitizers and surface cleaners beginning in early March," Coy said.
 
Coy shared that their lead time is about two weeks, that the company has a good source of raw material and containers, and they are approved for liquid only; no jelly or foam. “We ran out of pumps and spray dispensers in a week, so we sell “refill” bottles.  I thought offering only refills would kill our business -- It didn’t even slow it down!” Coy elaborated. 
 
CPI is currently shipping truckloads of sanitizers all over the U.S., yet Coy said locally, sanitizers were nearly impossible to find. So, after a COVID death in his community, CPI set aside a portion of their hand sanitizer production for area residents. CPI ran an ad in the Kasson paper recently as an attempt to do what they could to get the word out to local consumers. “So far, we have had a hundred local customers and will keep the program open a few more weeks. Local for us means anyone who needs sanitizers,” Coy said.
 
Coy said that the FDA says they can expect to make sanitizers at least through July.  If you are interested in purchasing hand sanitizer for your business or home, call 507-527-2233 to place your order and receive a pick-up appointment date. CPI hand sanitizer is available in 32 oz refill bottes for $7.00 or a one-gallon refill bottle for $26.00.

 
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RAEDI mailing address is:
Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI)
220 South Broadway, Suite 100, Rochester, MN
www.raedi.com   (507) 288-0208

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Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. · 220 South Broadway, Suite 100 · Rochester, MN 55904 · USA

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