A public-private collaborative is promoting a new regional approach to economic development in greater Minnesota.
The effort was announced at the annual retreat of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations in Brainerd earlier this month.
The effort is being coordinated by the Regional Economic Development group. Members include business groups, foundations, education systems, public sector agencies, nonprofits and others. Funding comes from the McKnight Foundation and Blandin Foundation. And the RED group members are committed to financial and human resources contributions.
The Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation serves 14 neighboring counties, including Crow Wing County, and is developing a model for a Collaborative Financing Process to focus on financing technology-based businesses.
The Initiative Foundation reports the effort requires partners in venture capital, law, accounting, banking and other areas to address due diligence, deal structuring, innovative financing, valuation of intellectual property and patents, market assessment and portfolio management. Emphasis will be on building regional capacity and collaborative efforts in responding to technology-based business opportunities through more efficient access to capital, the foundation reported.
"Great opportunities abound for technology-based companies and investors in central Minnesota," Kathy Gaalswyk, Initiative Foundation president, said in a news release. "New partnerships between the two will work to increase the region's quality jobs and economic growth."
The Initiative Foundation pointed to examples of success, including the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announcing the creation of six new positions for regional work force and economic development specialists and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system dedicating resources to coordinate its customized training network.
The fund will have at least $300,000 annually and be used to help coordinate planning and communication among institutions in a Minnesota Initiative Foundation region. There are six independent philanthropic organizations that make up the initiative foundations and promote economic and social development in greater Minnesota.
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