3 state cities best for starting firms

  • Updated: March 30, 2008 - 8:21 PM

Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Cloud are among the top 100 cities within which to launch a new business, according to Fortune Small Business Magazine. The publication looked at economic conditions, start-up activity, physical beauty of the location and cultural amenities such as museums and universities.

Minneapolis ranked 23rd, Rochester 53rd and St. Cloud 75th. Bellevue, Wash., was the magazine's top spot.

Minneapolis is cited for its active recruitment of small businesses, the University of Minnesota and other Twin Cities colleges, its lakes and its arts community. The magazine said high state and local taxes represent "one potential sticking point." Rochester, home to the Mayo Clinic, is touted as a center for information technology and medical research. St. Cloud is advantageously positioned along major highways and rail lines, which is good for manufacturing and wholesale distribution, Fortune said. St. Cloud's con? "Frigid winters." Ditto for Rochester. (The magazine's reporters must have visited Minneapolis in July.)

It's all in the name

What would you prefer? An international fund managed in Minneapolis or run by a team in London with offices around Europe? That's just what RiverSource mutual funds thought, so the hometown subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial is changing the name of its international stock offerings to Threadneedle, so named for its London-based sub-adviser. The RiverSource Emerging Markets Fund is now named the Threadneedle Emerging Markets Fund. The RiverSource European Equity Fund's new name is the Threadneedle European Equity Fund. Call the RiverSource Global Equity Fund the Threadneedle Global Equity Fund, and the RiverSource International Opportunity Fund ... well, you see the pattern.

Threadneedle, which manages more than $137 billion in assets for clients in 15 countries, won the 2008 U.K. Lipper Fund Awards for the best large U.K. equity group.

On the Rebound

It didn't take Martin Emerson, former CEO of American Medical Systems, long to find a new job. Emerson was recently named chief executive of Galil Medical Ltd., an Israel-based firm that makes products using minimally invasive cryotherapy (or freezing) technology to treat benign and cancerous tumors. In January, Minnetonka-based AMS replaced Emerson with Chief Operating Officer Ross Longhini on an interim basis. Thomas, McNerney & Partners, a health care venture capital firm with an office in the Twin Cities, is a shareholder in Galil, whose U.S. operations are outside Philadelphia.

The cup returns

The fourth annual Minnesota Cup for entrepreneurs is underway, and the top prize money for new business ideas has doubled -- to $50,000.

Anyone interested can submit ideas online at www.minnesotacup.org through May 23. Sponsors include the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the University of Minnesota and Wells Fargo & Co.

Second place is $10,000, and third place will get you a cool $5,000.

DAVID PHELPS, KARA MCGuire, Janet Moore

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