We co-hosted Lunch & Learn with the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. Dave Skovholt from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry presented on the new Earned Sick and Safe Time laws that will be effective January 1, 2024. Please see the attached document for information regarding the new laws.

MN Earned Sick and Safe Time

Heartland Lakes Development Commission has been awarded funding from Northwest Minnesota Foundation to provide grants to eligible individuals to create additional childcare capacity in Hubbard County.

The funds are available for scholarships toward the educational requirements to become a childcare provider or for startup funding for a new childcare business to purchase supplies and/or equipment to open.

Individuals may apply for one or both of the funding opportunities. The funding will be made available on a first come, first served basis until the funds have been exhausted.

Additional program information and applications are available on the Heartland Lakes Development Commission website www.heartlandlakesdevelopment.org or by calling 218-732-2256.

Also check out our Main Street Economic Revitalization Program to fund economic development and redevelopment projects. Applications are available on the Heartland Lakes Development Commission website www.heartlandlakesdevelopment.org or by calling 218-732-2256.  Contact Mary Thompson for additional program information at mthompson@heartlandlakesdc.org or 218-699-7010

In this 1.5 hour interactive workshop, participants will learn and practice the processes and techniques to define and refine an idea’s core problem, solution, customer, and the potential opportunities surrounding that idea.

Most good ideas do not come fully formed. Even the best ideas need to be iterated, explored, and refined before they have a chance at becoming great business ideas. There is a process that can be taught and practiced to sharpen an idea–taking it from good, to better, and then to great.

This workshop will expand your innovation skills, and teach you innovation methods, formalizing your ideas through an immersive and interactive class experience.

Heartland Lakes Development Commission partners with ILT Academy in delivering this workshop for students, professionals and anyone wanting to learn and expand their skills.

Students will:
· Learn to assess/ refine and articulate an idea
· Learn/practice collaboration and innovation processes
· Interact with others to help refine ideas
· Be able to explain their idea in a problem/solution format
· Create an initial 1-page Problem/Solution/Customer/ Unique Value document to support next the steps in your startup adventure

Workshop to be held July 13, 2022 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Cost for this class is only $10/person!

Register Here: https://form.jotform.com/221714396842157

Sponsored by Heartland Lakes Development Commission, ILT Studios

DEED Announces Second Round of Main Street Economic Revitalization Awards

Today’s announcement identifies partners who will run the programs in their communities

May 17, 2022 Economic Development


St. Paul – Today, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced grantee partners for the second round of the Main Street Economic Revitalization Program. This $80 million statewide economic redevelopment program, distributed through two rounds of funding, awards grants to partner organizations to establish programs within specific communities that will, in turn, fund economic development and redevelopment projects. The second round of grants awards over $40 million to organizations across Minnesota.

“I’m thrilled by the range of creative and dynamic development proposals we got from main streets across the state,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “These investments will help re-build business clusters hit hardest by the challenges of the last few years – and they’ll create jobs and spark economic revitalization throughout Minnesota.”

This program provides grants to nonprofit partner organizations – to fund 30% matching grants up to $750,000, and guaranteed loans up to $2,000,000 to eligible recipients for eligible projects – that are designed to address the greatest economic development and redevelopment needs that have arisen in communities across Minnesota since March 15, 2020. That includes hardship suffered due to the pandemic, civil unrest, and other challenges for commercial corridors since that date.

The following 14 organizations have been selected as partner organizations through the second round of Main Street Economic Revitalization awards. These groups will implement Main Street Revitalization efforts in their regions:

  • Center for Economic Inclusion, Saint Paul, $1,000,000
    The Center for Economic Inclusion is a nonprofit organization focused on closing racial employment, income, and wealth gaps, and building racially inclusive and equitable regional economies. The Center for Economic Inclusion will work with NEOO Partners, the Mustard Seed Fund, and Ramsey and Hennepin counties to support Black- and Latino-owned small businesses with financing to spur commercial development and redevelopment along specified metro corridors.
  • Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, Bloomington, $1,000,000
    The Chinese American Chamber of Commerce (CACC-MN) is a nonprofit serving Asian American small businesses and community development in Minnesota. Through this funding CACC-MN plans to support economic development and redevelopment projects that deliver the most economic impacts in specified West Metro and West Metro suburban areas with the greatest needs due to conditions that have risen since March 15, 2020.
  • Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, Rochester, $988,000
    The Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency supports the Destination Medical Center initiative in collaboration with the City of Rochester, Olmsted County, and the DMC Corporation. This second round of funding will expand their Main Street Economic Revitalization initiative to provide grants to businesses on the outside of Rochester’s central business district to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Faribault, $780,000
    The Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has served area businesses since 1913. The Chamber advocates for businesses, and builds community alliances with the goal of promoting growth and prosperity in the Faribault community. Working with partner organizations, the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism will provide grants to support economic development projects that deliver significant revitalized impact to the Faribault downtown area.
  • Heartland Lakes Development Commission, Park Rapids, $260,000
    The Heartland Lakes Development Commission facilitates economic growth in the region that includes Park Rapids, Nevis, Dorset, and Lake George. This second round of funding will expand their program to the City of Akeley, and to provide grants to additional businesses in the commercial districts of Park Rapids, MN and support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Foundation, Mankato, $2,000,000
    The Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Foundation is a 501(c)3 foundation managed by Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. (GMG) – an organization focusing on supporting and promoting economic growth in the Greater Mankato area. Through this funding GMG will provide grants to businesses to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak within key commercial corridors in the Greater Mankato area.
  • Initiative Foundation, Little Falls, $4,500,000
    The Initiative Foundation is a Regional Community Foundation supporting economic and community development in 163 cities and 14 Counties across Central Minnesota. The foundation plans to support economic recovery projects in some of the following downtown/main street corridors: Little Falls, Cold Spring, Long Prairie, Brainerd, St. Cloud/East St. Cloud and Pine River.
  • The Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis, $16,750,000
    The Minneapolis Foundation is a community foundation supporting efforts to address the greatest civic, social and economic needs of Minneapolis and surrounding communities through grantmaking, research, advocacy and donor services. Their project will expand on their existing funding to include partnering with MEDA and others to provide grants and loans to businesses in expanded areas of Minneapolis and surrounding areas impacted by the social unrest of summer 2020 and impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Northland Foundation, $4,280,600
    The Northland Foundation is a foundation serving seven northeastern Minnesota counties: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis, and all or parts of five Native nations with shared geography: Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The foundation plans to support economic development and redevelopment projects that deliver the most economic impact for the rural communities and Tribal Nations of Northeast Minnesota, with the greatest needs due to conditions that have risen since March 15, 2020.
  • Northwest Minnesota Foundation, $2,200,000
    Northwest Minnesota Foundation is one of the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations and serves the Northwest Minnesota community. Their project plans to provide grants and loans to businesses within the commercial corridors of Bemidji, East Grand Forks and the Highway 59 corridor within White Earth Nation boundaries, to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, $2,340,000
    Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) invests for economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. Their project will provide grants in the hospitality, retail, and childcare industries specifically in the commercial corridors of Northfield, Blooming Prairie and other Southern Minnesota regions to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and natural disasters since March 15, 2020.
  • Southwest Initiative Foundation, $1,840,000
    Southwest Initiative Foundation is a rural, regional community foundation serving the 18 counties and two Native Nations of Southwest Minnesota. Their project will expand on their existing funding to provide grants to businesses in the commercial corridors of Willmar, Marshall and Montevideo to support the economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • West Central Initiative, $3,500,000
    West Central Initiative is a nonprofit community foundation that serves the western Minnesota region. Their project plans to support corridors and communities that were significantly impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns and whose economies rely on summer tourism from the West to the lakes area, including communities of Browns Valley and Morris, and communities intersected by State Highway 10 from Moorhead to Bluffton.
  • Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, $1,000,000
    The Winona Area Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)3 that plans to provide grants to qualifying businesses/capital development projects in downtown Winona, with the goal of supporting the economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Partner organizations receiving grant funds from this program will use the funds to establish a program within their service area to provide assistance to eligible recipient and projects. Once programs are established, partner organizations can offer grants up to $750,000 per project or up to $2,000,000 in guaranteed loans. Leveraged grants can cover up to 30% of the project cost. Guaranteed loans will be guaranteed by the state up to 80% of the value of the loan. Leverage grants and guaranteed loans can be used by eligible recipients for the following:

  • Repair, or renovation of real property
  • Building construction
  • Landscaping and streetscaping
  • Demolition and site preparation
  • Predesign and design
  • Engineering
  • Infrastructure
  • Related site amenities

Organizations who received grant awards in both rounds of this program are using the round 2 funding on entirely new business corridors. A team of reviewers, including experts in community development outside of DEED, helped score the proposals to inform DEED’s final grant allocations.

Eligible recipients will not apply directly to DEED for funding – they will apply directly to the partner organizations identified above. As they set up their programs, the partner organizations can be contacted directly for more information and details around how to request assistance for a specific eligible project.

Permalink: http://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/press-releases/index.jsp?id=1045-528264


The Department of Employment and Economic Development, through its Economic Development Division has provided funding to Heartland Lakes Development Commission to establish an economic revitalization program that will provide leveraged grants to support economic development and redevelopment projects in Park Rapids.  The program will result in the revitalization of corridors and main streets that have an outsized impact on businesses and surrounding communities, expand the tax base of targeted communities, increase the creation and retention of jobs relative to the local economy and deliver a positive impact on diverse communities most severely harmed by the events of the last year.

Leveraged grants can be used by eligible recipients for the following:

  • Repair or renovation of real property
  • Building construction
  • Landscaping and street scaping
  • Demolition and site preparation
  • Predesign and design
  • Engineering
  • Non-publicly owned infrastructure
  • Related site amenities

Eligible project expenses do not include the purchase of real estate or business operations or business operating expenses, such as inventory, wages or working capital.

A leveraged grant can cover up to 30% of the total project cost and must be matched by an eligible recipient at 200% of the state’s portion of the grant.  Matching funds may include but are not limited to insurance proceeds from an eligible recipient, loan proceeds, private grants, cash contributions, donations, and local government contributions.

Applications can be obtained HERE, directly from Heartland Lakes Development Commission by calling (218) 732-2256, or from one of the participating local lending institutions.  Applications for the Main Street Economic Revitalization program will be accepted by Heartland Lakes Development Commission on a first come first serve basis until funds are depleted.

September 20, 2021 Press Release from DEED

Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grants Now Accepting Applications

Applications will close on September 29

September 20, 2021 Economic Development

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is now accepting applications for the Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grant program.

A total of $64,200,000 is available in grants for Minnesotan owned and operated businesses that can demonstrate financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Businesses that are majority-owned by military veterans, women, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color individuals; employ 6 people or fewer; and/or did not receive previous assistance from other state relief programs will be prioritized in the selection process. Funding will be distributed in a 50/50 split between the Twin Cities metro area and Greater Minnesota.

Applicants that qualify and are selected will receive a grant amount between $10,000 and $25,000 based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTEs) employees on staff. To be eligible, businesses must operate in Minnesota and be majority owned by a resident of Minnesota. Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found at DEED’s Main Street COVID Relief Grants Program page.

DEED hosted an informational webinar last Tuesday, September 14 to go over the application process and answer questions from small business owners. You can watch a recording of that webinar on DEED’s YouTube channel.

DEED will also be hosting another informational webinar today at 10:00 a.m. to answer more frequently asked questions regarding the application process.

If you have questions, you can email MSCRG.DEED@state.mn.us. We will also be keeping our Frequently Asked Questions updated as we get inquires. Additionally, you will be able to find translated program information on our website in HmongSomaliSpanish, and Vietnamese. You can also watch our How To Apply For The Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grant video in HmongSomali and Spanish.

Applications will be reviewed and awards will be disbursed and administered by qualified local and regionally based nonprofit organizations. Grant funds received by individual businesses shall be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar expenses that occur or have occurred since March 12, 2020, in the regular course of business.

Applications will close on September 29 at 11:59 p.m. Afterward, grant applications will be selected for consideration through a computer-generated, randomized selection process.

Permalink: http://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/press-releases/index.jsp?id=1045-499835


Applications Now Being Accepted

Heartland Lakes Development Commission’s Hubbard County Business Assistance Program is
currently accepting applications in response to the continuing restrictions imposed at the Federal
and State levels due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The program is funded by Hubbard County
through the State of Minnesota’s County Relief Funding Program.

The goals and objectives of this program are:

  • To provide emergency financial assistance for businesses that are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID – 19 related restrictions.
  • Allocate resources to businesses in most need.
  • Ensure that this assistance will be beneficial to the business and in compliance with the State appropriation.
  • Facilitate business survival, especially for small businesses during this pandemic.
  • Enhance, to the greatest extent possible the retention of jobs throughout the County.

Applications will be accepted through 4:30 pm on Monday, February 15, 2021 by Heartland
Lakes Development Commission. Any business in need is strongly encouraged to apply
regardless of their perception of eligibility as the funding committee will consider all
completed applications any may make exceptions where warranted.

The maximum amount of assistance awarded is determined by the individual businesses’
economic injury/loss, availability of grant funds and total number of applicants. In no case will
the amount awarded exceed the documented amount of loss less other forgivable/grant funding

Applications are available at www.heartlandlakesdevelopment.org, and several locations
throughout the County or by contacting Mary Thompson, Executive Director of Heartland Lakes
Development Commission at (218) 368-7980 or mthompson@hrdc.org.

Download the Application



Executive Order 20-02, effective March 27, 2020 – Stay – At – Home
Beginning Friday, March 27th at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10th at 5 pm all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home.

Emergency Child Care Grant Program
The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have created an emergency child care grant program to provide immediate financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota in response to the COVID – 19 pandemic.

Guidance on Stay at Home Order
This site provides resources to help determine eligibility for critical sector worker exemptions and answer questions.

Information and Resources for Employers and Businesses
Information available from Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on measures available to assist businesses through this unprecedented time.

Information and Resources for Workers
DEED’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program assists workers who can’t work, have their hours reduced or lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Office of Broadband Development
The Office of Broadband Development at DEED is gathering links and contact information for companies with service options related to COVID – 19 response if current service does not support the necessary bandwidth to work from home or conduct eLearning.

Shared Work
Shared Work is offered by the MN Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program to help employers avoid a layoff.

SBA COVID – 19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
Tools and resources available from the Small Business Association for small businesses responding to the impact from the pandemic.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan
The US Small Business Association is offering low interest Federal disaster loan for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the pandemic.

COVID – 19 Business Toolkit from Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
A toolkit updated daily by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce that provides information and resources related to the COVID – 19 pandemic.

NDC Small Businesses, Big Impact
The National Development Council as a loan program available for small businesses.

COVID – 19 Practical Guidance for Addressing the Evolving Challenges
Information and updates regarding the COVID – 19 pandemic and the implications for businesses and employees.

Senate Passes Massive Stimulus Program
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, “CARES Act” includes several provisions for salary support, cash rebates, loan to small businesses and relief for certain small businesses.

Thousands of businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 could be helped

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is creating an emergency loan program to help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance to meet their families’ basic needs during COVID-19 closures.

Download Application

The loan program was created under the Small Business Assistance Executive Order 20-15 announced by Governor Tim Walz on March 23. The loan program is intended to help businesses temporarily closed under Executive Order 20-04, later clarified by Executive Order 20-08, which stopped onsite customer dining at restaurants and bars and closed an extensive list of other small businesses whose owners may not have adequate cash flow to withstand temporary closure.

“Over the last week, we’ve heard from many of Minnesota’s small businesses who are facing significant hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Governor Tim Walz. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and now more than ever, we’re looking to creative solutions like DEED’s emergency loan program to help them weather these extraordinarily difficult times.”

“We know that this emergency loan program is just one tool businesses will need to leverage to stay afloat,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “It’s an important one because it will get cash flowing quickly to the small Minnesota businesses that need it most.”

Executive Order 20-15 directs DEED to create a Small Business Emergency Loan Program by making available $30 million from special revenue funds. These dollars will be used by DEED’s lender network to make loans of between $2,500 and $35,000 for qualifying small businesses. The loans will be 50% forgivable, and offered at a 0% interest rate. If other financing becomes available to small businesses that received an emergency loan, such as federal funding, the emergency loan must be repaid. These emergency loans will be made by an existing network of lenders DEED works with across the state. Depending on the size of the loans offered to businesses, DEED estimates this emergency loan program will provide needed resources to between 1,200 and 5,000 businesses. DEED expects loan applications will available later this week through our lender network. Minnesota small businesses should send questions about this emergency loan program to ELP@state.mn.us.

The executive order also allows local units of government or lending partners which have a revolving loan fund to use those funds to issue loans to retail and service providers for the next 90 days. DEED estimates that up to $28 million in capital could be accessible through local revolving loan funds and local governments through this action. Local partners will be looking at ways to deploy these resources to support their local businesses.

For the latest information from DEED for employers and businesses and workers, visit the DEED COVID-19 Information page on the DEED website.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.

The key to understanding causes and magnitudes of education and employment imbalances

A question of vital importance is whether post-secondary graduates are coming out of school with credentials that position them for employment success. From the students’ perspective, this is an important concern when tuition levels and student debt burdens are rising, but many find employment opportunities limited by having majored in something employers aren’t searching for. On the other side of that coin, employers are stymied in their hiring and expansion efforts when the available pool of candidates don’t have the educational background they seek. Program planners at post-secondary institutions trying to calibrate instructional offerings in the face of tightening budgets need to know where to put their school’s resources.

Read the full article here.