Greater Mankato Growth Blog

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 TourofManufacturing.com.

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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 EideBailly.com

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

MN Chamber Virtual D.C. Fly-in

This year’s Minnesota Chamber of Commerce “fly-in” is a virtual opportunity for business leaders to raise the visibility of Minnesota in our nation’s capital while exploring key issues integral to growing Minnesota’s economy and receive a timely update on business issues surrounding the pandemic. Participating business leaders have the opportunity to advocate and promote their own priorities with federal elected officials. All members of the Minnesota delegation have been invited and participants will have a chance to meet with their member of Congress by district in breakout sessions. The event will also feature key officials and agencies, and a trusted pollster, who can update on this year’s critical elections. 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: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-65.pdf.

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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:  https://www.co.nicollet.mn.us/800/Nicollet-County-CARES

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 tracktherecovery.org 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

Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline to host August 11 Webinar for Employers

This is a guest blog submission from Dan Solomon of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline is an innovative approach to address current and future workforce needs. The program works with employers to change the conversation from “How do we find workers with the skills we need?” to “How do we GIVE workers the skills we need?”

Pipeline exists to support employers in creating or enhancing a competency based dual-training approach where workers receive a combination of related instruction strategically paired with on-the-job training. Dual-training grants through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education provide funding for employers to create new and expand existing dual-training initiatives.  Pipeline focuses on the four industries of advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services and information technology.  In the Mankato area, Pipeline is thrilled to most recently support workforce training efforts at Jones Metal, Dotson Iron Castings, V-Tek, Inc. and Mankato Clinic. 

Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline is here for business and available to provide consultation with employers interested in setting up dual training any time throughout the year.  In addition, Pipeline hosts industry forums to bring business leaders together to share information and provide updates as well as hosts a speaker series with a variety of topics of interest to employers.  Pipeline also hosts 101 Webinars for those brand new to the program who would like to learn more.  The next Pipeline 101 webinar is on August 11 from 9am to 10am and you can sign up at the following link here:  https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/workforce/pipeline-events

To learn more about Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline or to contact one of the Pipeline staff, visit https://www.dli.mn.gov/pipeline .

Buy Local: Facemasks and other PPE

Recently Greater Mankato Growth distributed 66,000 face masks in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties in response to the statewide mandate. The intent was to assist businesses in welcoming customers, keeping employees safe, and assisting in keeping costs down for area businesses. See full news release here. Read More