Greater Mankato Growth Blog

Untapped Talent: Refugees, Asylees and Immigrants

In May 2020, we published the first of a two part series in Connect Business Magazine. Our initial article spoke to why businesses should incorporate refugees, asylees and immigrants into their workforce. In the upcoming issue of Connect Business Magazine, part two will be published, which outlines some key community resources that can help businesses with this effort. As our initial article was published while businesses across our region were closed, we have received permission to republish a portion of the article below, for those who may have missed it:

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Additional Nicollet County Grant Funds Available to Help Small Businesses and Non-Profits

A second round of grant funding is being offered to small businesses and non-profits in Nicollet County that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first round of funding was offered in September.

Grant awards will be provided to businesses and non-profits that experienced interruption, closure or significant revenue loss as a result of the public health emergency.  Grant awards will be up to $10,000 based on eligibility.  Businesses and non-profits with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees can apply.  The first grant round was limited to businesses and non-profits with up to 20 full-time equivalent employees.

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The SBA and Treasury Have Just Announced an Expedited Forgiveness Process for PPP Loans of $50,000 or Less

The US Small Busines Administration and Department of the Treasury have announced that an expedited process has been created to apply for loan forgiveness for those who received Paycheck Protection Program Loans of $50,000 or less. With the exception of employers who, together with their affiliates, received loans totaling $2,000,000 or more, those who received loans of $50,000 or less can utilize SBA Form 3508S.

This new process has waived the reduction in loan forgiveness for eligible employers who did not maintain their employee headcount or were forced to reduce wages. Employers are also no longer required to show the calculations they used to determine their loan forgiveness amount. It has also reduced the amount of documentation required to be submitted along with the loan application; however, all records related to the PPP loan must be retained for six years after the loan forgiveness date as representatives of the SBA can request to view the file.

For businesses needing assistance with this form we recommend partnering with the Small Business Development Center. Businesses can receive assistance by going to and choosing “Apply for Services”.

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Kicking off the 2020 Tour of Manufacturing

The South Central Tour of Manufacturing Partnership has been working hard to bring manufacturing to the public and to schools in a virtual format. Virtual tours can be viewed at

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Blue Earth County’s Business Assistance Grant Program Eligibility Expanded

At today’s Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners voted to expand the eligibility of the Business Assistance Grant Program. The program will now be offered to home based businesses (provided conformance with other criteria). The maximum full-time equivalent (FTE) employees has increased from 20 to 50.  Lastly, there is no longer a cap on annual revenue.   Read More

Recently Released PPP Loan Forgiveness Updates

Member guest blog post, submitted by EideBailly. This article originally appeared on

The government has released several updates to its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness guidance over the last few weeks. Here is a brief summary to help guide you through the PPP loan forgiveness process. Read More

Payroll Deferral Guidance from the U.S. Chamber

The following blog was shared by the US Chamber of Commerce with its members regarding the recent changes to the payroll tax.

On Friday evening, August 28, the IRS released its first notice regarding implementation of the President’s executive order on payroll tax deferral. The document, which is just over two pages, can be found here:

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Zoom Meeting: Resources for Minority Business Owners

Starting or growing a young business can be challenging, but minority owners often face unique barriers to success. The Mankato Chapter of One Million Cups has put together a panel of people with experience working with and in diverse communities. Read More

Grants for Nicollet County Businesses

Nicollet County CARES funding is being used to provide assistance to small for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in Nicollet County adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants of up to $10,000 will be provided for eligible expenses to:

  • Businesses without employees (self-employed persons, sole proprietors, independent contractors, homebased business, etc.):  Grants of up to $5,000.
  • Businesses with 1-20 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in addition to the owner:  Grants of up to $10,000.

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Free PPE Supplies for Nicollet County Businesses

masksYour business or non-profit may be eligible to receive supplies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Funds to procure health and safety supplies are available as a part of the CARES stimulus package through Nicollet County.

Distribution of supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) will depend on available supply and community needs. The first application submission deadline is August 21, 2020. The county expects to offer additional weekly applications and distribution opportunities in early September. Please check back to their website for updates:

Eligibility overview: Read More

Greater Mankato Economic Status through COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Crisis, one of the most common questions we have received is “How is the economy of Greater Mankato doing?” Unfortunately, many of the primary indicators designed to show economic performance have a significant lag period, particularly when attempting to analyze an individual Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). For example, July unemployment figures at the MSA level are not scheduled to be released until September 2 and 2019 GDP figures at the MSA level are not scheduled to be released until December 2020.

In a collaboration between Harvard University, Brown University and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an economic tracker has been released that allows a much more timely and much more local look at the available data. While data has not been released for the Mankato-North Mankato MSA as a whole, we can look at data for both Blue Earth and Nicollet County. Data can be reviewed at or by viewing the report below, which contains data accessed on August 12, 2020 as well as a comparison of employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Consumer spending, small business revenue, and the number of small businesses open have all tracked up since their low points around April 1. Nicollet County is currently outperforming the state average in all three of these categories and small business revenue is currently up 14.6% relative to revenue in January. With significant fluctuations, Blue Earth County consumer spending and small business revenues, which outperformed state averages when data was first accessed one week ago, have currently dipped just below the state average, but are still showing significant improvements relative to April.

The two charts outlining change in employment and change in earnings among low-income workers have the biggest lag in this group and we look forward to seeing the change in these charts when they are updated to reflect the 3,000 jobs the Mankato-North Mankato regained in June.

Grant Available for Blue Earth County Businesses

The Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners recently approved allocating $2 million in economic support to organizations affected by COVID-19. This funding is from federal legislation: the CARES Act.

Small locally owned businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 may apply for a one time grant of up to $10,000 (per applicant) to cover expenses for up to three months through Blue Earth County’s Business Assistance Grant Program. Read More