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NMF receives $99,000 grant to aid IDEA competition

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has received a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development to provide specialized technical assistance to 13 small businesses in Northwestern Minnesota that have completed the Ingenuity Drives Entrepreneurial Acceleration competition.

The IDEA competition is a regional economic development initiative designed to grow the economy of northwestern Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of home-grown inventors for success in the global marketplace. Assistance will be provided based on an individual development plan from each business. The IDEA competition covers 12 counties in Northwest Minnesota.

Two other rural Minnesota projects received grants. Windustry Inc., which covers nine counties in southern Minnesota, received $275,000 to continue the development of a landowner wind energy resource center and the city of Baudette was granted $99,999 to capitalize an existing revolving loan fund to provide gap financing to area small businesses for startup or expansion.

"The funding announced today represents the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to create economic and job opportunities in rural areas by ensuring that strategic investments are made in our small towns and cities," USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer said. "Rural businesses drive community revitalization by providing products and services to local residents. Projects like these spur important economic development and strengthen communities across the nation."

The RBEG program helps finance and facilitate the development of new and existing businesses in rural America. Funds can be used for start-up and working capital loans, building and plant renovations, transportation improvements, project planning and other business needs. Nationally, 60 projects were announced in 46 states.

More details are online at or at local Rural Development offices.