Region Nine Development Commission Executive Director to attend Eleventh Americas Competitiveness Exchange

Mankato, MN – Region Nine Development Commission’s (RNDC) Executive Director, Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, was selected to participate in the eleventh Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE) as a newly selected ACE Ambassador.

ACE is designed to connect decision makers from the Americas and beyond to establish international and regional partnerships, increase trade and investment, and strengthen Hemispheric innovation and competitiveness by building on ideas and models that work to create jobs. More than 10,000 authorities/officials and experts have engaged in the program since its inception in 2014, including 400+ global selected participants that have joined the 10 ACE Editions. The program has resulted in more than 2,000 collaboration opportunities, strategic alliances, and new projects.

ACE is organized and supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of State, and the Organization of American States. The 11th ACE (ACE 11) will take place in Puerto Rico from May 18, 2019 to May 25, 2019. ACE 11 will showcase examples of effective innovation and entrepreneurship-related initiatives underway in Puerto Rico that are impacting its economic development and recovery with the goal of creating information sharing and collaboration building opportunities for all participants. The program will take participants to 10 cities of all sizes throughout the island, where they will interact with over 30 key innovation-driven businesses and institutions as well as share emerging technologies and best practices linked to the sharing economy, renewable energy, medical tourism, smart cities, and the internet of things. 

ACE Ambassadors are chosen based on their proven leadership and commitment to open doors in their community. ACE Ambassadors maintain and enhance best practices that promote competitiveness in the Americas, provide support in guiding communities on current and future ACE programs, represent the ACE program domestically and internationally, provide expertise to participants and alumni, and much more.

“I am excited to represent the region at ACE 11 in this new role as an ACE Ambassador as we continue to collaborate and explore new regional and global partnerships. ACE 10 was an opportunity to connect with the Puerto Rican Department of Economic Development and Commerce.Their senior leadership was interested in the work we were completing at the time on regional Medical Device Manufacturing (MDM), as Puerto Rico is a major hub for the global MDM industry with close ties to the firms operating in Minnesota. We shared our final plan, MedTech Connect, with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary this past fall, and we are eager to continue conversations regarding possible partnerships in hopes of strengthening the industry clusters here at home and in Puerto Rico. Despite the geographic distance, close connections already exist following the devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico as local firms took over some manufacturing contracts while the island rebuilt. It is our hope that RNDC can help strengthen these ties and possibly expand to related industries. It is therefore very fortunate that  ACE 11 will take place in Puerto Rico this May. As regional leaders, it is important for RNDC to continue our work and open doors to new regional and global markets that can only further strengthen our communities,” shared Executive Director, Nicole Griensewic Mickelson.


Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of community development, economic development, transportation, healthy communities, business development, and leveraging regional resources.