Minnesota tops small business list

When it comes to the rate of small business ownership, Minnesota tops them all.

The Kauffman Foundation’s Main Street Entrepreneurship Index, which measures the health of small business across the United States, found a rise in small business activity in all but one state over the past year.

Minnesota improved in the two key indicators tracked by Kauffman: the rate of business ownership and the density of established small businesses.

For the first measure, more than 7 percent of adult Minnesotans owned a business for their main job in 2015.

The established small business density metric is a bit more complicated. It’s defined as the number of businesses that are at least five years old and employ fewer than 50 people. Kauffman found that 1,229 out of every 100,000 adults in Minnesota own an established small businesses.

When Kauffman weighed both factors, Minnesota’s small business health was stronger than any of the other 25 largest U.S. states. The states are broken into two halves — large and small — for peer-state comparisons.

The report found that Minnesota ranked second for businesses owned by women and third for businesses owned by baby boomers.

The report also drills down to the metropolitan level. Minneapolis-St. Paul moved up from the No. 10 spot last year to the No. 9 position this year.

And while the state is good at keeping its established small businesses going, it is falling behind when it comes to new start-up activity.

The Kauffman Foundation’s complementary report to the Main Street report monitors the rate of new entrepreneurs. Released in June, Minnesota ranked fourth from the bottom this year, dropping three places from 2014.



Cargill buys U.K. software business

As it bulks up its global animal feed business, Cargill this week acquired a leading feed formulation software business.

Cargill declined to disclose the sale price for Format International, which is based in the United Kingdom and is active in 93 countries. Format specializes in formulating feed for livestock, fish and pets.

Cargill expects that the deal will help it beef up its feed business technological capabilities, offering customers a more complete animal nutrition package.

Minnetonka-based Cargill, the largest U.S. privately held company, is one of the globe’s largest animal feed providers.

Cargill earlier this year bought EWOS, a Norway-based fish feeding company for $1.5 billion, its second largest deal ever. Its biggest deal was also in the feed business, when it bought Provimi, a Dutch company, for $2.2 billion in 2011.