February 2019
Prosperity Initiative
Region Nine in partnership with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) and Faribault Diversity Coalition, is recruiting minority-owned business leaders for a new cohort of Its Prosperity Initiative.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 29% of Minnesota's population in 2040 will be people of color, an increase from only four percent in 1980. In response to this rapid growth, the Prosperity Initiative was designed to provide education and business resources to minority-owned businesses and educate resource partners on the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter.
Shawn Scholesser Joins Region Nine
Shawn Scholesser joins the Region Nine team as the new community and business development specialist. His work is in regional and local transportation, economic development, community development, and workforce development.

Prior to Region Nine, Shawn served as the Veteran and Military Affairs Representative for Congressman Tim Walz from January 2010 until January 2019. During his career in the military, Shawn served in a variety of positions as both a Non-Commissioned Officer and a Warrant Officer at locations such as Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Seoul and Teague Korea; and Heidelberg Germany. He served as UH-60 Blackhawk Instructor Pilot, Pilot in Command, and Operations Officer for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Helicopter Flight Detachment in Belgium, directly supporting the Office of the Supreme Allied Commander – Europe. After 23 years in the military Shawn retired in 2009 and now lives in Saint Peter, Minnesota with his wife and two sons. Shawn holds a Bachelor’s degree in public management from Austin Peay State University and a Master’s degree in public administration from Murray State University. Shawn is an alumni Policy Fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and alumni of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) Program at Southwest Minnesota State University. Shawn is the past Board President at the Arts Center of Saint Peter.
SMIF Awards $5,000 to REV Program
Region Nine was awarded a $5,000 Opportunity Grant from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) for the Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) Community Coach for the 2019 calendar year. Linda Wallace, Senior Financial Accountant of Region Nine, is the coach for the City of Le Sueur which is entering its second year. Wallace will continue to work with Samantha DiMaggio, Le Sueur Community Development Director, and its Economic Development Administration (EDA) members who will be providing outreach and resources to local entrepreneurs and businesses. Region Nine and Le Sueur are excited to continue the REV program into its second year!               
Creating a Resilient Agricultural Community
Doctor preaches resiliency through farm stress

NORTH MANKATO — During his presentation on how farmers can and must take better care of ourselves, Dr. Amit Sood said addressing high stress levels begins in the initial moments of our days.

Sood founded the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Resilient Mind program and has authored books on stress management, background which made him a fitting speaker for a local series centered around agricultural resiliency. The Region Nine Development Council organized the Friday event at South Central College in partnership with the college, the state Department of Agriculture and Minnesota State University.

Noting how farmers are navigating stressful financial and technological environments, Sood drew a clear distinction between the matters in and out of their control. An individual farmer can’t do much about economic policies and grain prices, he said, but they can change how these uncontrollable factors impact them.

“Resilience isn’t that we won’t experience adversity,” he said. “It’s that we’ll recover faster.”
Did the Snow Keep You From Attending Last Week's New Technologies Session?
Fear not, the full video presentation is now available!

Join Brad Redlin, program manager for the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program and author of multiple publications, as he discusses new technologies in agriculture during his presentation, Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification: Certifying that Minnesota’s farms and waters can prosper together.

This presentation was part of a larger agriculture resiliency series hosted by Region Nine, the Minnesota State Department of Agriculture, South Central College, and Minnesota State University, Mankato in an effort to support farmers throughout the region.
Ag Resiliency Series: Local & Global Markets
Being a federally-designated economic development district, Region Nine is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and South Central College to host informational sessions to support farmers in the region.

Join Josh Reinitz from East Henderson Farms, Dan Kapernick from Little Big Sky Farms, and St. Peter Co-op staff on local and global markets including organics and niche markets, traditional practices, and sustainability.

This event is free to attend and open to the public, light refreshments and soup provided.
Today, February 27th
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

St. Peter Co-op
228 Mulberry, St. Peter, MN
Amazon on Local Commerce
Friday, March 8th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MSU-M College of Business,
Center for Innovation
& Entrepreneurship
424 N Riverfront Drive, Mankato, MN
Matthias Leyrer is a freelance writer, designer/developer and Amazon consultant. He worked previously for a division of the Taylor Corporation managing Amazon listings, optimizing paid campaigns and keyword descriptions. Today he works on general e-commerce consulting, web development, and copy writing.

He will be presenting on the effects of Amazon on local commerce, a brief overview of how Amazon works and strategies for selling on Amazon.

This event is FREE and open to the public. 
How to Write Effective Web Content for Small Businesses
Friday, March 29th
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Best Western Plus
2101 S Broadway Street, New Ulm, MN
As a small business, deciding where to spend your limited time on marketing can be challenging. Having a clear understanding of your audience is critical to determining which channels you should create content for and how to create effective content for those channels when the time comes. This session will focus on gaining a better understanding of your audience and how you can use that information to create effective content for the right channels.

Ashley Flitter is a digital marketing professional who specializes in marketing automation, SEO, and project management. She is also a productivity consultant and loves tackling big, complex problems + projects. Ashley also enjoys spending time with her family and doing community outreach. She lives in Mankato with her husband, children, cat, and her true love, Gilly the Beta Fish.

This event is FREE and open to the public. 
In the Media
Tackling the child care crisis at all levels- Read the Marshall Independent article

New bills address child care crisis- Read the Eco Press Editorial article

Two bills, one goal, aims to create long-term solutions to Greater Minnesota's child care shortage- Read the Greater Minnesota Partnership article

Free business coaching for minority-owned businesses- Read the Albert Lea Tribune article

Free Help for Minority Owned Businesses in Southern Minnesota- Read the KRFO Radio post
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Community Innovation Grants

The Bush Foundation provides Community Innovation grants of $10,000 to $200,000. Community Innovation grants of $500 to $10,000 are available from their intermediary partner organizations:  Headwaters Foundation for Justice (MN) The Consensus Council (ND)  and the  South Dakota Community Foundation (SD) .

There are no application deadlines for the Community Innovation grants. Organizations are welcome to apply anytime using the online application system.

No Application Deadline
Clean Energy Community Education Grant Program

The Minnesota Department of Commerce State Energy Office (SEO) has developed the Clean Energy Community Education Grant Program to promote clean energy education at the community level. This small grants program is intended to increase participation in educational initiatives that promote the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, address climate issues, and empower, inspire, and motivate a new generation of energy leaders—of all ages and backgrounds—in communities around Minnesota.

This program will award up to 12 grants of up to $2,500 each to plan and implement energy education initiatives to be showcased within the Energy Exhibit at the Eco Experience of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 22-Sept. 2).

Deadline: April 1 , 2019
Calendar of Events