Four cities earn spots in economic growth program

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.

View the article online here.

2020 Annual Performance Report

The Region Nine Development Commission’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Annual Performance Report (APR) for Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan counties is in development and is in the process of being approved. The CEDS is posted in accordance to EDA’s regulations found in the Federal Register at 13 C.F.R. part 303.

As the designated Economic Development District by the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the nine-county area of South Central Minnesota, Region Nine is required to coordinate and develop the CEDS for the region every five years and submit a supplemental annual performance report for subsequent years.

The annual performance report is currently under public review. The public review for the APR will end on November 30. To view the 2020 APR draft, click here.  A paper copy will be made available upon request.

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Public Hearing Notice

Region Nine Development Commission will hold its annual FY2021 budget hearing at 6:10p.m., Wednesday, June 17, 2020 via Zoom. Email Heather Bartelt, executive assistant, at for more information The proposed budget is $1,093,470.