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EDC to join venture network to connect with companies in high-growth mode

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is joining a multistate network to raise the county’s exposure to high-growth companies seeking to locate in the rural Midwest.

The EDC’s one-year membership in Community Venture Network was approved Thursday. The $4,250 cost will be split with the MinnWest Technology Campus, which is also joining the network.

“This is something that is new for us,” said Jean Spaulding, assistant director of the Economic Development Commission.

It will significantly widen the opportunity for Kandiyohi County to connect with up-and-coming companies looking for a place to locate or expand, she said.

The privately operated venture network is active mostly in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin but also includes North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Through outreach and referrals, it identifies companies that are candidates for growth and presents eight of them to the network’s members three times a year.

The businesses typically are past the start-up stage, Spaulding said. “They are usually in growth mode and in need of capital. They’re looking for a community they can grow in.”

The venture network targets the type of companies that both the EDC and the technology campus especially want to pursue: those in the technology, medical and alternative energy industries, as well as manufacturing and distribution.

It’s a chance to bring together companies and economic development organizations who might not otherwise have found each other, Spaulding said.

By partnering with the MinnWest Technology Campus as members of the network, the EDC’s working relationship with the technology campus also will be strengthened, she said. Supporting and fostering business recruitment to the technology campus is among the goals in the Economic Development Commission’s five-year plan.

Anne Polta

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

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