The Free Press
MANKATO — Montgomery, Mapleton, Springfield and Wells will be the latest cities to participate in a program aimed at supporting economic growth in small towns.
The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) announced it accepted the cities into its Rural Entrepreneurial Venture program Friday. Blue Earth and Le Sueur were among the area cities participating in the program over the last three years.
Stakeholders from each of the four chosen communities will work with SMIF, Region Nine Development Commission and the University of Minnesota extension to promote “sustainable entrepreneur-focused development,” according to a release.
“We are excited to work with these communities over the next three years as they explore different approaches to supporting entrepreneurs and economic growth through this program,” stated Pam Bishop, SMIF’s vice president of economic development, in the release.
“We know from our experience with the first cohort that the REV program will have a lasting impact on how these small towns approach economic development.”
The program’s tools include mapping out impacts over time. Stakeholders will also create an inventory of existing entrepreneurs in their communities.
Montgomery, Springfield and Wells will participate on their own. Mapleton’s inclusion will actually be a collaboration with Amboy, Good Thunder and Minnesota Lake, which are all part of the Maple River School District.
Cities with fewer than 5,000 people within SMIF’s 20-county region were eligible for the program. The program will begin in 2021 and run through 2023.
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