U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer recently visited the GSDC office to present President Patti Gartland (shown with husband Bob at right) a portion of the March 14 Congressional Record, in which the congressman recognized Patti for the impact she has had on the Greater St. Cloud region.

“Congressman Emmer is very generous with his comments, but he and I know everything we do in this community is a team effort,” says Patti. “The GSDC is fortunate to have the congressman as an important part of that team.”

Read the Congressional Record statement…


THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 7:45 – 9 a.m.

How will inflation affect local business sectors? How are local businesses handling employee turnover? What should we expect down the road?

Those are some of the topics that King Banaian, Dean of SCSU’s School of Public Affairs, and Mana Komai Molle, Chair of SCSU’s Department of Economics, will cover during the next St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report from 7:45 to 9:00 a.m. next Thursday, April 6.

The quarterly event, co-sponsored by the GSDC, will take place in the GREAT Theatre’s Helgeson Learning Lab, at 710 Sundial Drive in Waite Park. There’s also a Zoom option.

Register here…

The GSDC is joined by Magnifi Financial, BerganKDV, and Forum Communications Company as sponsors for the QBR publication and event.



KREWE Restaurant is a New Orleans heritage restaurant located in St. Joseph, MN. Co-owned by Chef Mateo Mackbee and Chef Erin Lucas.

The Brookings Institute recently published an article with this headline: “To Expand the Economy, Invest in Black Businesses.”  The information in that piece is applicable in the Greater St. Cloud Region.

Read the article…



With employee turnover showing no signs of slowing down, offering older workers a chance to delay full retirement may help slow the exodus—even if only momentarily, according to a survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

Retiring employees are expected to account for 28% of turnover in 2023, with U.S. hiring managers reporting among those at their company who retired in the past two years, most were 60 years of age or older (79%).

Read the article…



West Central, MN, high school students and adults with a new idea, plans for a new company, or who have a started a business in the past 12 months are invited to enter the second annual FastLane94 Trailblazer Challenge by the April 3 submission deadline. They could win up to $5,000 for their efforts.

The regional pitch competition allows teams of from one to four members to showcase their business ideas to accomplished entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders from across West Central, Minnesota. Judging of online presentations will be April 4 and 5 in divisions for Youth (grades 9-12) and Adult (18+), with five finalist teams in each division being announced on April 6.

“The finalists in our inaugural Trailblazer Challenge in 2022 created everything from advanced lawn mowing equipment and learning platforms for farmers, to prepackaged school kits, versatile golf equipment and cybersecurity solutions,” said Nick Tietz, Founder and CEO of St. Cloud-based ILT Studios, one of the competition’s sponsors. “In other words, any great idea is eligible for consideration, no matter what the industry, and we encourage those new trailblazers to apply by April 3.”

There are multiple levels of cash prizes for each division, with the top Adult team receiving $5,000 and the top Youth team up to $2,500 to further bring their ideas to fruition. Eligibility requirements, information about last year’s winners and application materials are at

The FastLane94 Trailblazer Challenge is organized by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC), in cooperation with Greater Fergus Falls, the Greater Fargo/Moorhead Economic Development Corporation and ILT Studios, as part of their combined efforts to build a stronger entrepreneur ecosystem in the region.

“The creativity and enthusiasm of participants in our Trailblazer Challenge remind us of all the innovation we have in the West Central, Minn., region,” said GSDC Business Development Director Leslie Dingmann. “People who enter this competition not only get a chance to showcase their ideas, they could receive resources that help make those ideas reality.”

The competition is open to people living in these counties: Becker, Benton, Clay, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Wilkin and Wright.

The top finisher in each division might also be selected to receive automatic semifinalist status in the University of Minnesota’s prestigious MN Cup Startup Competition.



•    Central Minnesota Difference Maker Grant Round application deadline is April 30 at 11:59 p.m.  Apply here.
•    GSDC President/CEO position.  Click here for job position profile. To apply, please send credentials to


•    10th Annual Diversity Conference is April 11. Register here by April 6.
•    Greater St. Cloud Community Workplace Well-being Information Sessions.  Virtual sessions on April 26 and April 28.  In-person events at Mahowald, 916 St. Germain St. W., St. Cloud on June 7 and June 28.  Click here to register for virtual  sessions or in-person events.

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Contact Our Staff Team

Patti Gartland, President | 320.260.2442

Leslie Dingmann, Business Development Director | 320.493.9003

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director | 320.260.6775

Tammy Campion, Communications & Program Specialist | 320.252.5185

Michelo Muleya, EPIC Coordinator  I  320.252.5203