ST. PAUL (Feb. 18, 2013) — A cooperative project will evaluate state support systems and contracting opportunities for small businesses in Minnesota.
The initiative is coordinated by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Metropolitan Council and McKnight Foundation together with Deloitte Consulting.
The initiative will focus on businesses within the 11-county metro region that have fewer than 50 employees and $10 million or less in revenue with a special emphasis on veteran, women and minority-owned businesses. The evaluation will help identify ways the state can improve support for small businesses and increase their access to state contracting opportunities.
“Small businesses play a vital role in Minnesota’s economy, and it is important that we foster an environment that encourages their growth,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “This project will provide an important benchmark that will include an analysis of the support we currently offer small businesses and an opportunity to identify real reforms to strengthen our support.”
“The Metropolitan Council is committed to expanding opportunities for small businesses to take part in our contracts, particularly minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses. We’re excited to be a partner on this project and look forward to using the resulting information to ensure equity of opportunity for small businesses seeking to work on our projects,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh.
“The state needs small businesses to help build and maintain our state’s transportation infrastructure,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “MnDOT works with many small businesses in all phases of its construction work. The agency is committed to ensuring that those businesses have the support they need to succeed. This evaluation will only serve to strengthen those businesses and ultimately the state’s economy.”
“This research lays the groundwork for business growth, expanding jobs and better partnerships for small businesses,” said McKnight Foundation President Kate Wolford. “Job growth in small companies is crucial to our region’s economic competitiveness. Minnesota’s increasingly diverse base of business owners improves hiring in communities that, in turn, foster more economically vibrant neighborhoods and new pathways to greater self-sufficiency.”
Deloitte Consulting will work with state agencies and business customers to identify the existing inventory of services and resources available including direct financial and technical assistance resources and other services such as training/education, networking, and business development. The team will meet with key stakeholders to conduct interviews and focus groups with providers, experts and small business owners to get insights into the barriers, gaps and overlaps that exist in services provided for small businesses.
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 our services, visit us atwww.PositivelyMinnesota.com. Follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/PositivelyMN.