November 2019
Region Nine Innovation Award Recipient for Sixth Year!
L to R: Region Nine Commissioner Brad Ahrenstorff, Region Nine Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson,
NADO President Scott Koons, Region Nine Commissioner Mike Laven
Region Nine has received a 2019 Aliceann Wohlbruck Impact and Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for MedTech Connect.

MedTech Connect was motivated by the need to develop a conceptual framework that inventories and supports medical manufacturing activities in South Central Minnesota. The plan examines how and how well manufacturing and related industries leverage their geographic proximity to the medical manufacturing hub in the Twin Cities and innovations at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Results from this report indicate that South Central Minnesota is poised for growth in the medical manufacturing sector and has led to RNDC applying and being awarded a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to conduct a feasibility study for a Manufacturing Resource Center in Waseca, MN.
NADO is a Washington, DC-based membership association of regional development organizations that promote programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies. The association’s Impact Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. 
Award-winning projects were honored during NADO’s 2019 Annual Training Conference, held October 19-22 in Reno, NV. The 2019 class of award recipients consists of 100 projects from 66 organizations spanning 24 states. 
Lake Crystal Presents Strategic Economic Development Plan to Residents
The Lake Crystal Strategic Economic Development Plan is the result of an initiative between Region Nine and the City of Lake Crystal and creates a comprehensive picture of Lake Crystal's economy, position, and reputation within the region. A final public meeting was held on November 6, 2019 to present the plan to residents and discuss the future of Lake Crystal.

This plan will act as a guide and tool to aide Lake Crystal as they look to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities to create a more resilient community.
Waseca Makes 'Top 10 Towns Competing to be Winner of Small Business Revolution - Season 5'!
Located just 90 minutes from Minneapolis, Waseca often attracts tourists for weekend day trips, but small businesses are struggling to tell their unique stories. The town has rich traditions and history, but is seeing an upswing and resurgence of locally owned businesses driven to become a more progressive, growing city. With a population of 9,000, this resilient town and its community leaders are working toward becoming more progressive—and the marketing support to help tell their story.

What's Next?

  • Early-December: Small Business Revolution team visits towns on the Top 10 Tour.
  • Mid-January: Top 5 towns will be announced; voting opens.
  • Late-January: Winning town will be announced.
  • February-May: Business applications open; Small Business Revolution team selects businesses and gets to work!
Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures
The Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures (REV) is about to complete its second year and beginning the final year REV. So, “Where have we been and where are we going?” a quote from Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development for the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). In July and August 2019, Bishop interviewed all six communities in the REV program: Le Sueur, Blue Earth, Spring Valley, Lanesboro, Spring Grove, and Lake City. Also, she interviewed the three coaches: Alissa Oeltjenbruns, SMIF; Jennifer Hawkins, University of Minnesota Extension; and Linda Wallace, Region Nine Development Commission. After gathering all the information, Bishop created a Mid-Term Report called REV TOWNS: Building Strong, Sustainable Locally-Driven Economies in Southern Minnesota . Click the button below to learn about the REV report.
Why hiring people with disabilities will improve your bottom line
Steve Grove, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

Minnesota recently set a record for the number of job vacancies in our state, but that workforce shortage also is an opportunity.

Almost every business in Minnesota will tell you that our state’s growing workforce shortage is among the biggest challenges they face. Minnesota recently set a record for the number of job vacancies in our state — over 146,000 in the second quarter of 2019, according to data we released earlier this month.

But like any crisis, Minnesota’s workforce shortage also provides an opportunity. We’re seeing more businesses search for workers in groups they might not have usually considered. In fact, there’s one group that employers are increasingly hiring from at rates that far outpace the rest of the population: people who live with disabilities.
Need a Business Loan? Region Nine Can Help!
Need a business loan? Has a bank denied your request? Region Nine administers a Revolving Loan Fund program to assist existing businesses, as well as new entrepreneurs, in securing financing they are otherwise unable to secure through traditional channels. The primary goal of the program is to create new jobs, or retain existing jobs, in the region. Preference is given to businesses that will add full-time skilled or semi-skilled positions. Region Nine welcomes partnering with other lenders to assist local businesses to succeed and thrive.
LuAnn Vanderwerf
RLF Coordinator
507-389-8878 |
Digital Marketing: Display & Search Marketing for Your Business
Friday, November 22nd
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Best Western Plus,
2101 S. Broadway Street, New Ulm, MN
Digital marketing can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! In this presentation you will learn about:

  • Digital display & search marketing
  • Digital marketing platform options
  • Targeting your audience
  • Determine what is best for your business
  • Choosing a budget
  • Measuring campaign success
  • It’s not just about Google anymore

About the Speaker:

At Lime Valley Advertising , Brian Maciej has worked as production artist, graphic designer, art director, and account manager, and he has owned the agency since 1996. With this diverse background, Brian is able to guide staff and advise clients, resulting in award-winning and highly effective marketing communications materials. Brian is also a guest lecturer at local schools. He delivered the keynote address at MnSCU Design for Technology Conference in 2009. Brian is a runner-up for Connect Business Magazine‘s Business Person of the Year 2011.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Light breakfast provided.

Social Media for Nonprofits
Are you leveraging your social media platforms to increase donations and awareness for your cause? Learn how with Ashley Aukes, marketing professional and nonprofit director, during this Social Media Breakfast presentation. From your website to Facebook, Ashley will share social media best practices and tips as they relate to the nonprofit world.

About the Speaker:

Ashley is the owner of Beruck Studios, director of Bridging Brown County, and a digital marketing project manager for Redwood Valley Tech Solutions. Ashley is one of two Certified Public Communicators in the State of Minnesota. She has co-founded two Social Media Breakfast chapters in southern Minnesota and has presented on digital marketing at numerous state and national conferences.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Light breakfast provided.

Friday, December 13th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MSU-M College of Business,
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
424 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato, MN
In the Media
Assessing welcome in communities- Read the Crookston Times article

"Digital Marketing: Display, Search Marketing for Your Business" program is Nov. 22- Read the Journal article

RNDC receives national Impact Award of 2019 by NADO- Read the KEYC article

Region Nine Development Commission Receives National Association of Development Organizations 2019 Impact Award- Read the KTOE article

Lake Crystal strategic plan to be discussed at public meeting- Read the Free Press article

People gather for first-ever Southern Minnesota Equity Summit- View the KEYC article and video

Lt. Gov. Flanagan calls for more inclusive communities- Read the Free Press article

Public invited to City Hall for unveiling of Lake Crystal's Strategic Economic Development Plan- Read the KEYC article

Public Meeting set for Lake Crystal's Strategic Economic Development Plan- Read the KTOE article

Waseca recieves grant to help address employment gap- Read the KEYC article

Waseca gets grant to combat job loss due to Quad Graphics closure- Read the Free Press article

First-Ever Southern Minnesota Equity Summit Held Nov. 1st- Read the KTOE article
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants

Launch Minnesota, a statewide collaborative effort to accelerate the growth of startups and amplify Minnesota as a national leader in innovation, is now accepting online applications.

Innovation Grants are available in the following categories:

  • Business operations: Up to $35,000 for business operations, including research and development, direct business expenses and technical assistance.
  • Housing or child care: Up to $7,500 for housing or child care expenses.
  • SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) match: Up to $50,000 for businesses awarded a first-time federal Phase 2 SBIR and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) award.

Deadline: November 30, 2019
Paint the Town Grants

SMIF’s Paint the Town Grant Program grants are designed to engage volunteers, create a sense of community pride, and build collaborative efforts that beautify communities through "Painting the Town" with a new community mural, community welcome sign, or painting an historic structure.

Paint the Town grants are administered by SMIF in collaboration with 14 Ace Hardware stores located in the region.

Deadline: February 2020
Calendar of Events
November 28 - 29: Office Closed
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
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