Business Development Update

The past few months have seen exciting economic development progress in our St. Cloud region. The GSDC has played a role in the following projects:

  • Grede Foundry and Dubow Textiles are expanding, and between the two are expected to add at least 50 new jobs.
  • Two local businesses, Marco in St. Cloud and Schaefer Ventilation Equipment in Sauk Rapids, have announced a change in ownership. Both companies will remain in the region and are planning to expand.
  • Four new hotels will be built in Waite Park over the next 2 to 3 years.
  • Major retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, plans to open a store in the old K-Mart building in Waite Park.
  • The St. Cloud Area YMCA completed their fundraising and will begin construction on a new $20 million Community and Aquatics facility in Whitney Park. This could not have happened without the cooperation of the City of St. Cloud and area cities through the ½-cent sales tax, all the individual and corporate donors, and major partner CentraCare Health. This project is a terrific example of a collaborative, regional effort.
  • Xcel Energy announced in October that it plans to shut down 2 of the 3 coal fired units at the Sherco plant in Becker and will be building a combined cycle natural gas plant and solar project on the site . Xcel’s goal is to have 35 % of their energy production mix come from renewable sources by 2030. 

    Unemployment in the St. Cloud region is about 3%. Full employment is good news, but it can also make it difficult for local employers to find needed talent.

STEP Grant Program
The Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) has funds available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for companies to participate in targeted trade missions. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program is administered by the MTO to provide financial and/or technical assistance to qualifying Minnesota small businesses with an active interest in exporting products/services to foreign markets. Participants can be first-time exporters or companies who currently export but are interested in expanding to new international markets. Eligible companies can apply for up to $7,500 in financial assistance. For full details on the STEP program, click here.

The STEP program will also assist companies interested in attending a trade mission to Germany and the United Kingdom on March 1 - 9, 2016. The Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG) is hosting the mission and is currently accepting registrations. Details on the mission are found on the CGLG The mission application deadline is December 18, 2015.

The mission is relevant to the sectors of: Agricultural Machinery and Equipment;  Medical Equipment;  Travel and Tourism;  Aerospace;  Information Technology;  Cyber Security;  Drugs and Pharmaceuticals;  Low Carbon Energy and Smart Grids;  Industrial Chemicals;  Automotive Parts and Services;  Safety and Security;  Sporting Goods;  Renewable Energies;  Sustainable Construction Products and Services.

Business Development Snapshot -

Expansion, Retention and Attraction Visits
Goal for 2015:  75 visits
Actual visits (thru Nov 30): 64 visits

Potential Business Projects:
Goal: 50 expansion and/or new projects in the pipeline
Potential business expansion opportunities currently in the pipeline: 45
Within 3-6 months: 17
Within 6-12 months:  17
Within 12-24 months: 11

Potential new business projects currently in the pipeline:  22

TOTAL projects in the pipeline: 67

Jobs Created or Retained: 
Goal for 2015: 600
Actual jobs created or retained: 655


Posted on December 17, 2015 and filed under Business Development.