Twin Cities Startup Week is here! Ahead of us is a week-long celebration of Minnesota’s strong and growing startup ecosystem. Right now, in Minnesota, innovative entrepreneurs are tackling the problems that are going to redefine the future of the global economy. And any business that starts here has a better chance of surviving than in any other state.
So what’s happening this week? Events will be a mix of in-person, hybrid, and virtual; COVID-19 protocols are in place, for just under 200 events this year. The majority will be recorded as well, creating a resource library that people can access later. The week winds up on Friday, with the 2021 Minnesota Startup Awards at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The event honors Minnesota makers, inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
Explore the full TCSW 2021 schedule and register to create your itinerary!
Also, for the entrepreneurs among us: DEED’s Launch Minnesota Program offers Innovation Grants to offset business operations expenses for startups creating novel solutions. Here is a checklist to see if your business is eligible and the link to the new Innovation Grants application portal.
And one final question: have you donated blood lately? As you probably know, there is a critical need for blood donations right now. I just nabbed an appointment at the next drive, sponsored by the St. Paul Saints and Regions Hospital: Wednesday, September 29 and Thursday, September 30, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sign up for an appointment here!
See you in the trenches.
Minnesota is in its 4th surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and health experts say this wave of cases and infections is different. And doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. The difference? The “surge” is a slow crawl rather than a spike, and younger people with breakthrough infections have mild or no symptoms. That said: in Minnesota we have seen 18,790 breakthrough cases, 1095 hospitalization and 108 deaths of fully vaccinated people (almost exclusively among elderly people with other health concerns). What else do you need to know?
Who needs a booster and when/where can you get one? An advisory committee of the C.D.C. is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss booster shots before it issues recommendations on who exactly should receive them. There is no clear timeline for when booster shots for the other two vaccines approved in the U.S., Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, may be considered.
President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan: Read here. Vaccine mandate probably will increase vaccination rates – as long as it is found to be legal. To keep this on context: America shortly will exceed the number of fatalities resulting from the 1918 influenza pandemic (675,000). How are Minnesota employers responding so far?
One more thing: I’d like to remind you again of the free Docket app – provides a secure digital option to view and keep track of your immunizations. I downloaded it last week and now can access my vaccination record on the spot!
In case you missed it: As Minnesota’s economic recovery zig-zags, Governor Walz taps a council to drive growth. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari is among 15 business and nonprofit leaders to form a Council on Economic Expansion to address the labor shortage in Minnesota and ensure that the state's economic recovery is fair.
Minnesota: August Jobs Report: Job growth continues, though slower than the banner month in July. No surprise to anyone, we are experiencing a very tight labor market:
St. Paul program aims to connect struggling restaurants with innovators to aid in recovery: This is Full Stack Saint Paul at work! Through the Restaurant Resiliency Program, more than 50 small and struggling restaurants were paired with tech-savvy consultants to improve everything from marketing and online ordering to website design and networking with other restaurants. Read more.
Saint Paul’s Mayor Carter on Wednesday announced new initiatives in support of immigrants. Read more. Included among its 17 partners are the St. Paul Area Chamber who teamed up with the city to win a competitive grant from the Gateways For Growth challenge, now funding a 10-month research study detailing the economic impact of immigrants.
Saint Paul’s City Council approves maximum property tax levy – for now. St. Paul could raise its property tax levy by up to 6.9% next year, though City Council members said they'd like to reduce that figure as they finalize the city's 2022 budget in the coming months. Read more.
The Metropolitan Council and the Transportation Advisory Board: public comment period is now open on the Regional Solicitation and Highway Safety Improvement Program applications, which the board released for public comment on Sept. 16. The Regional Solicitation is a competitive grant process that the Transportation Advisory Board and Met Council use to prioritize and invest federal transportation funds in roads, bridges and transit, and biking and walking needs. Whether for existing infrastructure or new improvements, projects focus on outcomes like reducing crashes, expanding access to all travel modes, and improving air quality. Comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18. Click here to submit your comments.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
Calling all women: I’d like to meet you – as would our other women friends in NAWBO and the St. Paul Area Chamber. Together we are hosting a Women’s Speed Networking event on Wed, 9/29, 8-9:30am, at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Weather permitting, we’ll be outside on the patio – and it is the perfect opportunity to make a new connection! Register here – I look forward to seeing you!
Find these and more on our Events Calendar!
This week I read a fascinating Business Forum by Fairview Health Services President and CEO James Hereford and Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow: leading locally is key to community recovery out of the pandemic. They challenge us to “embrace the role of being an anchor institution in our community.” While focused on their specific missions through the pandemic, they “have also continued to embrace our responsibilities as anchor institutions that our communities rely on.” I’ve seen so much of this mindset in the words and deeds of leaders over the last 18 months, and really appreciate them putting this perspective to paper.
The City of Saint Paul is in the process of developing a Supplier Diversity Program. They want your input and are holding community listening engagement sessions on the dates below for business owners, as well as business associations and chambers of commerce to share input and ideas. Visit their engagement landing page and pick a session meant for your sector. Your input matters!
St. Paul City Council says ‘yes’ again to the 5-story redevelopment of Dixies on Grand. This approval effectively opens the door to a major commercial-residential redevelopment led by restaurateur Peter Kenefick and west metro developer Reuter Walton.
It’s no surprise we need more housing. The Twin Cities now ranks as having the worst housing shortage in the nation. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ranks housing affordability as one of the region’s top five concerns. Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist for Freddie Mac: "This is a very sticky issue," Kiefer said. "Building is picking up and over time it will help. But it's a grind, and it will take some time before we'll start to solve the problem." According to a new report from the Metropolitan Council, housing production isn’t keeping up with demand, though – based on recent permit activity – 2021 “should be a banner year for permitted single-family and multifamily units,” according to Joel Nyhus, Met Council researcher.