• Engage Leaders: Greater Minnesota Partnership; Tackling Broadband Issues
  • Grow Business: Initiative Foundation’s Initiators Fellowship – Deadline is June 15
  • Expand Talent: Hiring International Students SCSU Webinar
  • Shape Tomorrow: Quarterly Business Review on June 17
  • Insights and Inspirations: St. Cloud’s 24th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Engage Leaders: Greater Minnesota Partnership; Tackling Broadband Issues

Minnesota is home to nearly 500,000 businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies to solo operations. With such a wide array of businesses and industries spread across Minnesota’s 87,000 square miles, it is clear that “one-size-fits-all” programs and policies do not always work for everyone. Oftentimes, it seems Greater Minnesota’s economic development interests are overshadowed by needs in the metro area.

That is where the Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP) comes in.

GMNP was established in 2013 to be a voice for economic development in Greater Minnesota. We are a non-profit organization consisting of businesses, chambers of commerce, initiative foundations, development commissions, higher ed institutions and cities with a collective goal: to advocate for public policies and state investments that stimulate prosperity throughout Greater Minnesota.

GMNP is at the forefront on issues such as child care, workforce housing, job skills training and infrastructure. Our staff and members work to identify Greater Minnesota’s current and emerging economic development needs and craft legislation to address those needs. We then meet with lawmakers, testify at legislative hearings, and engage the media and public in full-scale advocacy efforts.

While rural communities share many similar concerns to our metro-area counterparts, issues often impact Greater Minnesota differently. A prime example of that is broadband.

When our organization first began to tackle the broadband issue in 2013, only 32% of households in Greater Minnesota had access to broadband at speeds of at least 25 mbps download/3 mbps upload (the state’s 2022 broadband speed goals) — compared to 92% of households in the metro area. GMNP fought hard for a stronger state investment in broadband, which ultimately led to the creation of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.

This state program has helped bring reliable high-speed broadband service to more businesses and homes. Today, 76% of properties in Greater Minnesota have access to broadband speeds of 100 mbps download/20 mbps upload (the state’s updated 2026 broadband speed goals).

However, our work is far from over.

Needs continue to persist in the Greater St. Cloud region and other parts of Greater Minnesota. One issue we discovered is that while large swaths of Greater Minnesota appear to be covered at the 2026 broadband speed goals, the businesses and households in that area may not actually have that level of service.

In other words, just because your home or office has access to the fiber required for high-speed internet, it does not necessarily mean your local provider is serving you at those speeds.

As a result, many companies and families — particularly in smaller cities — are still not receiving the broadband service they need to conduct business, take online classes or access virtual health care.

GMNP is working hard to ensure that every corner of our state is served with fast, reliable broadband service, and we are excited to have the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation as a partner in this effort. We would love to get more businesses and organizations to join us in this fight. If you are interested in getting involved in the GMNP or learning more about the issues we work on, please visit our website at gmnp.org or contact me at scott@gmnp.org.

Scott McMahon, Executive Director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership

Of note, GSDC President Patti Gartland, was recently appointed to the Greater MN Partnership Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.


Grow Business

Initiative Foundation’s Initiators Fellowship – Deadline is June 15

The Initiators Fellowship program provides the next generation of regional leaders the opportunity to use their entrepreneurial spirit to address society’s needs while building the business and leadership capacity of Greater Minnesota.

The goal of the program is to strengthen each Fellow’s leadership within their respective communities and to support the growth and development of their social enterprise ventures.

Applications for the 2022-2023 Fellowship cohort are being accepted through June 15, 2021. Eight Fellows will be selected for Cohort 3 that will begin January 2022 and run through December 2023.


Expand Talent

Hiring International Students SCSU Webinar

Top Talent right here in St. Cloud ready and waiting for opportunities – Are you missing out?

St. Cloud State University currently enrolls over 1,000 international students seeking education to meet the needs of business. These educated, untapped individuals live right here in St. Cloud and are eager to join your team.

Find out how easy it is to recruit and hire these talented graduates for your organization at a free informational webinar hosted by St. Cloud State University Career Center and Center for International Studies on June 24th from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

The conversation will answer your questions and expel the myths associated with hiring international students.  You will hear from employers successfully engaging international student graduates in employment and the impact they are providing to their organization.

To register, contact Jackie Bauer, SCSU Assistant Director of Employment and Internship Development.

Shape Tomorrow

June Virtual Quarterly Business Report Review

Understanding the current state of our local economy and where we are going are key for St Cloud’s business leaders. 

King Banaian, Dean of the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs, will discuss the current and forecasted condition of the local economy on June 17 at 8 AM.

During the June QBR review, survey results discussing incentives local firms may be offering employees to get the vaccine, whether firms are monitoring who gets the vaccine, the extent to which unemployment compensation benefits is making it more difficult to attract qualified workers, the extent to which area firms have supply chain issues, and how COVID has permanently altered business practices will be shared.

If you have a question that you would like to have answered during the presentation, please submit it HERE.

Register for the event today!

QBR is presented by:

Insights & Inspirations

St. Cloud’s 24th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Join in the festivities for St. Cloud’s 24th annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 12, 2021 from 2 -7pm at Lake George.

Contact Our Staff Team

Patti Gartland, President
pgartland@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-2442

Leslie Dingmann, Business Development Director
ldingmann@greaterstcloud.com | 320-493-9003

Gail Cruikshank, Talent Director 
gcruikshank@greaterstcloud.com | 320-260-6775

Amelia Barkley, Communications & Program Specialist 
abarkley@greaterstcloud.com | 320-292-9296