See, for example, the financial assistance program Minneapolis conducted to remove all perc-based (toxic chemical) dry cleaning machines at private businesses.
Minnesota Main Street, a program of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, provides participating local Main Street organizations with the training, tools, information, and networking they need to be successful in their downtown revitalization efforts with businesses.
Made in Place: Small-Scale Manufacturing & Neighborhood Revitalization (Smart Growth America: 2017) presents the opportunity of small-scale manufacturing to grow local entrepreneurship and to revitalize downtowns and business districts. Small-scale manufacturers include breweries, furniture makers, textiles, local food production, 3D printing. By integrating manufacturing businesses into downtowns and other existing neighborhoods instead of locating them in industrial parks or standalone facilities, communities can build the character, appeal, property tax benefits and success of walkable neighborhoods.
The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Nebraska promotes the business development approach called economic gardening that aims to add one new job to each of 50 existing businesses rather than luring one new business with 50 jobs to relocate in town. In a related effort, the Project for Lean Urbanism is working with cities including St. Paul to create official Pink Zones in disinvested neighborhoods. A Pink Zone will have its own protocols generally involving a combination of streamlining regulations and coordinating efforts of property owners and residents so as to accelerate small-scale projects. See also USDA Rural Development Rural Business & Cooperative Programs.
Business retention and expansion strategies and assistance from the Univ. of MN Extension Center for Community Vitality, whose goal is to build local leadership and social capital in support of local economies.
The MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development's Manufacturers Supply Chain Database makes it easy for Minnesota manufacturers to find - and be found by - local and Minnesota-based suppliers. City economic development staff can promote keeping dollars in the state as they work with their businesses to keep purchasing and sales as local as possible.
Provide incentives such as targeted loans, grants, streamlined permitting processes, shovel-ready land parcels; participate in coordinated marketing and business assistance efforts, or provide similar support; actively support women- and minority-owned businesses; use/conduct a sustainable jobs and workforce capacity assessment.
Provide or link businesses to incubator space, local/MN suppliers, or other tangible assests.
Utilize an economic gardening approach; support the creation of co-operatively owned businesses (report retail food co-ops under action 27.4); develop workforce training opportunities with community colleges and job training centers to credential, for example, energy auditors.
Who's doing it
Albert Lea - 3 star
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Riverland Community College offers a solar installer certification and a wind turbine technician degree at its Albert Lea campus. These programs provide new workforce development for local green industry.
The City has provided a location for the La Surena Cooperative, an LEDC sponsored project. La Surena assists immgrows organic produce, which is sold both locally and in the Twin Cities. LEDC has become active with Vision 2020 and the City of Austin. As part of building these connections, LEDC has opened a regional office in Austin, the first such office in Greater Minnesota and is also developing a local advisory committee. Austin was initially approached by LEDC to assist in the effort to find a location. The coop members live in Austin and it is convenient to be located close to the produce to minimize transportation issues. This is an area of interest to the community and seems to fit well in Austin with our Grow Mower campaign. We hope to expand on this work.
Northhome Folk School is located partially on City property. The Folk School is a green non-profit business doing education and training on low-impact and traditional, local-resource-based, trades and skills. The Northhome School supports a variety of entrepreneurs in the community and the use of local resources.
Ever Cat Fuels LLC is a production and research facility that uses a variety of feedstocks to create renewable biodiesel. The City recruited this company. The company uses its patented McGyan process which results in efficiencies and environmentally friendly byproducts. The City of Isanti entered into a development agreement with Ever Cat Fuels LLC on October 17, 2007. The Development Agreement required the commitment of Ever Cat Fuels to construct a 9,000 square foot facility and to create 12 Jobs with wages of at least $15.00/ hour within two years. The City of Isanti incentive was two-fold consisting of the value of the land contribution ($299,050.14) and securing a Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) loan ($194,000) to assist with the capital investment. The feedstocks sources vary from local grease traps and waste cooking oils to seed crops.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Ever Cat Fuels constructed the 9,000 square foot production and research facility and it is currently manufacturing renewable biodiesel. The company currently employs 20 people with wages in excess of 15.00/ hr. and has satisfied the requirements of the Development Agreement. The project investment in Isanti was over 6 Million Dollars.
On June 21, 2011, the City approved a loan to St. John's Hospital for building improvements. The loan is part of a wider St. Paul Port Authority (SPPA) program called the Trillion BTU program. The program hopes to save one trillion BTUs of energy by providing large businesses with loans for energy efficiency improvements to their facilities. The $400,000 loan came from the City's general fund and the Economic Development Authority (EDA). The St. Paul Port Authority matched the $400,000 loan and X-Cel energy provided the final $75,000 in funding as a rebate.
St. John's Hospital is expected to repay the loan over a 5 to 10 year period.
In 2009 the City provided the Maplewood Mall with a sub grant of $10,000 for 107 parking lot lighting retrofits. The sub grant helped create a new green job at the mall and has an estimated savings of 135,802 kWh's a year.
Within the Partners in Energy, which the city of Maplewood is involved in with Xcel Energy, there are grants available for businesses to receive recommissioning studies. These recommissioning studies will receive a rebate from Xcel energy. This rebate will then be used to help implement changes within the businesses. This program will also help businesses receive information about other sustainability programs like stormwater, and waste prevention.
The City of Belle Plaine has links on its webpage to business assistance provided by Xcel Energy and MVEC (Minnesota Valley Electric Co-Op) both of which are energy providers within the City. Programs are designed to conserve energy and save operational costs. Information and programming includes rebates, energy audits & studies, and advice on energy efficient new/improved facilities. In addition the City has a link to the Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RECAP).
#25 - action steps 1, 6, and 7: Provided assistance to Harmony energy audit, solar awning and EnergyStar certification. Harmony participates in "buy local" campaigns.Wrote CERTS grant proposal, met with Harmony sustainability committee, assisted in implementation, did solar site assessment and awning design, etc.Installed solar awning; obtained EPA EnergyStar certification; conducted RE business forum, participated in sustainable places and MRES tours, Pioneer article. Ongoing - started Jan 2014 and continuing
Burnsville provides energy and waste reduction awareness and assistance to local businesses through the ARROW program: Awards for Reduction and Recycling of Waste. ARROW is a free, voluntary program for businesses in Eagan, Apple Valley and Burnsville, and is implemented by Dakota Valley Recycling. ARROW gives awards to businesses for their recycling and reduction of waste. Every year in the local newspaper, This Week, green business participants of the ARROW program are highlighted. The City links businesses to incubator space or other tangible assets by listing Site and Building Locations and Available Property/Space on the Burnsville's website. The City Economic Development Coordinator maintains a contact list of businesses and industrial building owners; these contacts receive notifications of potential space availability. Burnsville supports targeted workforce training opportunities with community colleges (Inver Hills Community College, Normandale Community College), univerisities Concordia University, University of St. Thomas, St. Mary's University, and the National American University), Dunwoody Technical College, and the Workforce Center. Through all of these partnerships, customized training and credit courses are provided.
The City is working with a new business, Oliver's Canoe Outfitters, to improve current access points and provide additional access points outside and within city limits. Assisting the business in this way will help the outfitter to expand business as well as create easier access to the river.
Cymbet developed a thin-film battery that is infinitely rechargeable and also can be used in solar systems. The Elk River economic development division offered the company low cost business financing to assist in the development of new technology, product research, and building construction
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Today, Cymbet still operates out of Elk River and is a terrific success.
Mankato offers a commercial rehabilitation program, which includes options for improvements for energy-efficieny. Projects are often in older, historic areas where outdated mechanical equipment in the businesses is common.
The Greater Northfield Sustainability Collaborative has a mission statement that includes facilitating initiatives related to green business and jobs. Their mission statement includes the quote,"Our goal is to facilitate and coordinate sustainability initiatives in the greater Northfield area and support the City’s efforts to implement the GreenStep Cities program."
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City staff currently meets with the GNSC to discuss initiatives they have facilitated. The GNSC also markets these activities on their website as they occur. Also, the GNSC has been instrumental in facilitating the implementation of the Northfield Community Solar program. (http://mncommunitysolar.com/northfield) This program is slated to start with a 1 mega-watt garden. This facilitation directly supports new and emerging green businesses and green jobs.
While Duluth doesn't directly offer incentives for green development, the City routinely acts as a grant applicant on behalf of such projects. Additionally, sustainability is weighted in various competitive permitting processes. In the upcoming Rebuild Duluth Housing Program applications will be scored based on 5 categories including Energy Efficiency and Landscaping and Storm-water Retention.