June 2020
Region Nine has opened two new positions intended to foster diversity and economic recovery in both community life and business ownership. The Rural Equity Specialist and Economic Resiliency Coordinator will strengthen local economies by improving access to capital and business assistance, while simultaneously addressing racial, ethnic, and other disparities at the community level.

Specifically, the Rural Equity Specialist will work with community leaders to strengthen local economies, identify and reinforce social capital, diversify the regional workforce, and create more connected, resilient, and inclusive communities where all people have the support and resources to live fulfilling, productive lives.

The Economic Resiliency Coordinator, meanwhile, will work with lending organizations, business owners, and entrepreneurs to support innovation, improve business dynamics, offer technical assistance, and strengthen the regional workforce.

We view both of these positions as critical investments in our region as we seek to address two significant challenges: economic slowdown from COVID-19 and racial, ethnic, and other inequities. While neither the Rural Equity Specialist nor the Economic Resiliency Coordinator can resolve all of these issues on their own, our hope is that these individuals can bring meaningful change to the region for all people who live and work here.

Visit https://www.rndc.org/contact-us/#employment to learn more about these positions and to complete an application.
Provide input on Transportation Improvement Program
The Mankato/North Mankato Planning Organization (MAPO) seeks the public's input on its 2021 to 2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), a federally-mandated annual document that contains pedestrian, bicycle, transit, highway and other transportation projects recommended for federal funding during the next four years in the metropolitan area. The public comment period is from today (June 15) to July 17, 2020.

There are a variety of ways to provide feedback:

For more information or a printed version of the plan, please  contact staff at 507-387-8389. 
Get Tested for COVID-19
Sign up for an appointment time now. This helps us keep wait times short and give people plenty of space. Visit https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testmadelia.html

  • Open to everyone
  • Symptoms or no symptoms
  • Free, no insurance needed

Wednesday: July 1, 12 noon to 7 p.m.

Madelia High School 320 Buck Ave. SE, Madelia, MN 56062
Hágase la prueba del COVID-19
Agende la hora de su cita ahora. Esto nos ayuda a mantener tiempos de espera cortos y espacio suficiente entre las personas. Visite https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testmadelia.html

  • Disponible para todos
  • Con o sin síntomas
  • Gratis, no requiere seguro médico

Miércoles: 1 de julio, de mediodía a 7 p.m.

Madelia High School 320 Buck Ave. SE, Madelia, MN 56062
State Accepting Applications Small Business Relief Grants
The Legislature approved and Governor Walz signed a $60.3 million appropriation for grants for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with $31.25 million dedicated to small businesses in Greater Minnesota. DEED announced that the application period opened on June 23 and will close at 5:00pm on Thursday, July 2 in accordance with the 10-day application period contained in the bill.
This is a bill that the Greater Minnesota Partnership worked closely on in the final weeks of the regular session and leading up to the special session, and are pleased to see that the Legislature was able to pass it in the first hours of the special session last week. These funds are critically important to our communities, our entrepreneurs, and our families, and will help our businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  
The program will provide $10,000 grants to small businesses, those with 50 or fewer full-time employees, that can demonstrate a financial impact from the pandemic. Under the grant requirements:

·   $18 million is for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees
·   $10 million is for minority business enterprises
·   $2.5 million is for veteran-owned businesses
·   $2.5 million is for women-owned businesses
·   $2.5 million is for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis
To be eligible, a business must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.
All applications received by the July 2 deadline that meet the program’s requirements will be entered into a lottery to determine who will receive a grant.

Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found at DEED’s   Small Business Relief Grants page.
Region Nine Wants to Know What Is Important to Your Community
Region Nine will be collecting input from communities to update the regional economic development roadmap known as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

The CEDS is a locally based, regionally driven economic development planning process and document that guides regional economic development, encourages partnerships and collaboration, and improves economic outcomes and overall quality of life in the region. An effective CEDS allows the region to maximize its economic development potential, as well as engage with federal partners to receive infrastructure and technical assistance funding.

Region Nine will be hosting virtual sessions (which can be reached by clicking the date of the topic you would like to join) with representatives from private business, higher education, labor, education, government and community-based organizations in the following communities:

·         July 1 at 1:00 p.m.                 Topic: Economic Competitiveness,
Economic competitiveness requires communities to link assets to generate new knowledge, new businesses, and transform existing businesses into thriving 21st-century companies. Creating an attractive environment for growth is critical to creating jobs, raising living standards, and financing necessary public services. 

·           July 15 at 1:00 p.m.              Topic: Human Capital
In our global environment, people with knowledge and skills are becoming increasingly mobile with choices of where to live, work, and play. Growing, retaining and attracting talent, and then maximizing its potential, are critical for our communities.

·         August 12 at 1:00 p.m.           Topic: Foundational Assets
Foundational Assets include above-ground and below-ground infrastructure including transportation, utilities, and water. Managing the access to, maintenance, replacement, and growth of these assets is key to preserving and maintaining communities as well as providing for growth opportunities.

·         August 26 at 1:00 p.m.                   Topic: Community Resources
Maintaining our rural heritage while creating amenities that in return offer sustainable populations and become defining pillars of our culture.

For specific questions, please contact Shawn Schloesser at shawn@rndc.org or 507-389-8886.
Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence
The Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence facilitates relationships by engaging academic institutions with industry and provides educational outreach by inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These efforts shape the next generation of engineers who will solve real-world problems. The Engineering Center of Excellence fosters accessibility to the latest technologies, workforce programs, and post-secondary education. Collectively, advancing Minnesota’s engineering innovation and competitiveness by enhancing education, engaging industry and inspiring students.
In the Media
Solar power continues growth -Read the Free Press article

Welcoming Communities Project -Read the New Ulm Journal article

Region Nine Area, Inc. Utilizes Community Impact Grant From New York Life to Support Surge Youth Leadership Program -Read the RNDC statement

Floyd killing speaks to a moral imperative

Shining Bright: Solar Power Continues Growth - View the full Minnesota Valley Business June 2020 article.

Region 9 Issues Statement on George Floyd

BCBS of Minnesota Awards $20,000 for COVID-19 Response
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant in Minnesota

The primary objective of the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant program is to provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups through cooperatives and Cooperative Development Centers. Each fiscal year, applications are requested through a Notice published in the Federal Register and an announcement posted on Grants.gov .

Grants must be used to provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Examples of technical assistance are:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Business plans
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership training

Note that the cooperative or center can be located in any area, but the groups assisted must be located in an eligible rural area.

Deadline: August 10
Grants Support Farm to School Connections During COVID-19

The MDA anticipates awarding up to $124,000 through two new Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) mini-grants to respond to the disruptions COVID-19 has caused in traditional Farm to School markets.

AGRI Farm to School Rapid Response for Schools – Grants are intended for school districts to begin, diversify, and expand purchasing from Minnesota producers during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily during the summer and fall 2020. School districts may apply for $1,000 to $5,000 and there is no match required.

AGRI Farm to School Rapid Response for Food Vendors – Grants are intended to support equipment purchases for food vendors that will help them to meet the product needs of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agricultural producers (farmers, ranchers, agricultural cooperatives), restaurants, processors, food hubs, food distributors, and food service management companies are eligible to apply. Food vendors may apply for $1,000 to $5,000 and there is a 1:1 match requirement.

Deadline: August 12
Calendar of Events
About Region Nine
Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.rndc.org.
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