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EDC looks to attract angel investors for biotech plans for the county

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- Local economic development officials are hoping for a critical boost today to their efforts to launch an angel investors network in Kandiyohi County.

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The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is hosting a meeting this morning at the MinnWest Technology Campus to explain the concept and present information on the emerging possibilities in the biotechnology industry.

Among the guest speakers is Steve Burrill, president and chief executive of Burrill and Co. and a leading venture capitalist in the U.S. life sciences industry.

About 45 people are expected to attend the invitation-only event, said Jean Spaulding, assistant director of the Economic Development Commission.

"We really see our role as bringing people to the table," she said.

The EDC has been working for the past several months to develop a local network of private investors who could be tapped to help fund the early development of promising new businesses, especially in the biotech field.

Steve Renquist, executive director of the EDC, said it would be one more tool that could be offered to support start-up businesses, as well as increase Kandiyohi County's competitiveness in the market.

"I think there will be an angel investment group happening out of Kandiyohi County," he said. "We'll try and keep it in front of people because it really needs to happen."

An angel investor tax credit, approved by the Minnesota Legislature during its recently concluded session, may help make the prospect of high-tech investing more appealing.

Details about the tax credit will be presented by one of the speakers at today's meeting at the technology campus.

Burrill, the main speaker, will be discussing venture capital opportunities in biotechnology. His global company focuses on venture capital, merchant banking and a life sciences media group.

Burrill is a writer and leading international spokesman for the life sciences and biotechnology industries. He serves on numerous boards, including the Foundation for the National Medals of Science and Technology, the California Healthcare Institute and the Genetics Policy Institute, and is an adviser on the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation.

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Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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