The Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Princeton Economic Development Authority (EDA) have joined Grow Minnesota!, a distinctive, private-sector economic development program led by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Among its newest services is an online assistance and referral network, free to all Minnesota companies.
“We welcome the participation of the local chamber and look forward to a solid and continuing partnership,” said Bill Blazar, Minnesota Chamber senior vice president of public affairs and business development. “Our growing network of local chamber partners strengthens our state’s existing economic development effort by adding hundreds of additional eyes and ears, increasing our ability to address the needs of businesses in all corners of the state and to keep them growing in Minnesota.”
Grow Minnesota! is celebrating its tenth year of operations, having launched in 2003. Its primary focus is to retain Minnesota businesses and to encourage them to expand in the state. It also is an opportunity to thank companies for doing business in Minnesota. Visits to chamber and non-chamber businesses are carried out by staff and volunteers from the Minnesota Chamber and its 54 local chamber partners.
Volunteers conduct one-on-one conversations with owners and/or top management of businesses. Close to 1,000 visits were conducted during the 2010-11 program year, bringing the nine-year total to over 7,000. On average, one in seven visits has concluded with a request for some kind of assistance. That has translated into assistance for 122 companies this past year, directly affecting 4,900 Minnesota jobs. Over 900 companies have received assistance since the program started.
Information gleaned from visits also helps strengthen the Minnesota Chamber’s public policy agenda on behalf of the statewide business community at the Capitol.
“The findings from our visits are different from what you might see in typical surveys,” Blazar said. “The findings we deliver to policymakers are not based on mounds of statistics, but on what businesses throughout the state are actually saying.”
The Princeton Area Chamber, as well as members from the Princeton EDA, will be selecting and visiting chamber and non-chamber businesses on an on-going basis. Businesses also may contact the chamber directly at 763-389-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request a visit.