As 2018 was coming to an end, Briana Mumme, Redwood County economic development coordinator, recognized that there were going to be funds left over in the EDA budget.

Mumme began talking with the EDA board to come up with an idea of how to best utilize that funding to enhance economic opportunities in the county.

“We went through a gamut of ideas,” she said. It was board member Al Kokesch who came up with an idea based on a program in Renville County that offers business innovation grants.

“We reached out to Renville County and got the guidelines for their program” said Mumme, adding it has been in existence for more than a decade.

Taking that concept, Mumme began to develop what has become the business development grant program. Mumme approached the county board with the idea of setting aside $25,000 for the program. 

Those funds would be used assist businesses in Redwood County with opportunities for development and growth. With county board approval, the program was further developed focused on the mission of the Redwood County Economic Development Authority to “be a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, business retention and improving the quality of life” in Redwood County.

According to Mumme, the first time business development grant program is serving as a tool in assisting businesses with grant funds. The minimum amount is $1,000 with a maximum grant of $3,000 available to those who apply and are accepted.

“This is a matching grant,” said Mumme, adding applicants will be approved to receive grant dollars by the county.

Eligible uses for the funds include equipment purchases or upgrades, capital improvements, the purchase, construction renovation or expansion of buildings, the development or production of new product lines, commercial blight, professional development or employee training (tuition only) and information technology upgrades. The window to apply for the grants is currently open and will close July 31. Following that, the decisions about how to allocate the grant funds will be made.

“To be accepted the business has to be located in Redwood County and you have to prove that your property taxes are in good standing,” said Mumme.

Work on the project described in the grant application can not begin until after the funds have been awarded, and those who are awarded grants will be reimbursed. The project must be completed within one year from the date that the applicant is awarded. Mumme said she has already been receiving applications for the funding, and she is hopeful that there will be a lot more of them before the July 31 deadline.

She is also hopeful that the funds can be spread across Redwood County.

Should the first years of the grant program be a success, the county board could opt to continue the program into the future.

“We want to use this program to promote business in Redwood County,” said Mumme.

To learn more about the grant program, visit the Redwood County Web site at redwood county-mn.us, or contact Mumme at (507) 637-1122 or via e-mail at Briana_m@co.redwood.mn.us.

– Image courtesy of the Redwood County Web site