Greater MSP, the Twin Cities-area economic development partnership, reported last week that the region is on track to add 100,000 jobs in the five-year period that concludes next year.
The board of the private-public partnership, formed in 2010 partly to coordinate piecemeal economic development among localities, resolved in early 2011 to replace the jobs lost during the Great Recession, plus 25 percent growth, which adds up to about 100,000. The region has added about 82,400 net new jobs through September, said Greater MSP CEO Michael Langley.
Greater MSP said completed projects in which it had a hand this year will total about 5,200 jobs and $502 million in investment. The agency pointed to several recent wins, rooted in the Twin Cities life-sciences cluster of dozens of companies, including:
• Heraeus Medical, a German company looking to expand its operations in Mexico or Singapore. Greater MSP got tipped by a contact at LifeScience Alley and worked to persuade Heraeus, which had a small local office, that our "highly skilled workforce" was a "difference maker." The company invested $7 million this year in a White Bear Township facility that employs 80 people.
• Olympus Surgical is building a consolidated Midwest manufacturing hub in Brooklyn Park that will consolidate existing operations that employ about 250 and will add 100 more. The company's Japan-based CEO toured the construction site this fall. There will be room for expansion at the $15.5 million plant.
Hubbard broadcasting Doubles Down on Commercial Radio
Twin Cities-based Hubbard Broadcasting, which operates KS95, 1500 ESPN and myTalk Radio, announced this month it's buying 16 radio stations in several northern Minnesota communities. Owned by Bemidji-based Omni Broadcasting, they focus on local programming and employ about 100 people.
Hubbard Radio CEO Virginia "Ginny" Morris, the granddaughter of the founder of the 91-year-old company, said the acquisition reflects Hubbard's commitment to local radio.
Privately held Hubbard disclosed in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission that it will pay $8 million for the Minnesota properties.
In 2013, Hubbard bought 10 radio stations in Phoenix and Seattle from Sandusky Radio for $85.5 million. That followed a 2011 deal that got Hubbard WTOP-AM in Washington, D.C. Morris is radio's most powerful woman, according to trade magazine Radio Ink.
As a result of the Minnesota expansion, Dan Seeman, vice president and manager of Hubbard Radio Minneapolis-St. Paul, was named vice president and regional manager of Minnesota radio operations.
In an interview before the Omni announcement, Morris said local radio is still good business: "The top five markets are down, including Chicago, where we have three large stations. We're at or above last year's revenue in the Twin Cities, Washington D.C., Cincinnati, St. Louis, Phoenix and Seattle."
Startup Venture Loft moves to bigger space
In September, Startup Venture Loft (SVL) moved from 2,100 square feet in the SoHo Lofts to 6,500 square feet shared with another co-working space, Restore Collaborative, at 211 N. 1st St.
Peter Kane's latest SVL move this month is several blocks to 8,500 square feet of space — all to themselves — on the fifth floor of the McKesson building at 251 1st Av. N. The new digs have room for 20-plus start-up members. They include Divvy, EvolveHQ, Retrace Health and Kidizen.
The space features large conference rooms and smaller breakout rooms. Kane, who is working to foster a vibrant tech start-up scene in the Twin Cities, hopes the latest space will be a central hub for tech start-ups, and a longer-term address. SVL member Divvy is introducing simplified shared ownership at www.letsdivvy.it. Divvy members create guidelines for an item to share with friends, neighbors and colleagues. Divvy helps find other interested parties and then calculates how to split the costs, arranges payments and delivers the product.
"I have full confidence [Divvy] is going to put Minneapolis on the map for what people can expect in the future," Kane said.
Other members of the SVL space also have enjoyed recent success, including Kidizen, a mobile application that turns your smart device into a consignment shop for children's goods and furnishings. They recently got $135,000 in funding from the Gopher Angels network. Evolvehq.com, a social network and in-game toolset for gamers, recently moved a team of six into the SVL space.
Inner City Biz Winners and the Minnesota Cup
• Three Twin Cities companies have made this year's 2014 Inner City 100 national list of the fastest-growing core-city business in the land, as selected by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune magazine. They are Minneapolis-based IT consultant On-Demand Group in the software and IT category; St. Paul-based Minnetronix, the medical-device designer and manufacturer that last year doubled its Energy Park facility to 120,000-square feet; and Olu's Home, the Minneapolis-based provider of residential treatment services for the developmental disabled, those with brain injuries, the elderly and others.
Olu's CEO Gloria Freeman recently turned the $1.2 million purchase and renovation of a long-shuttered building in north Minneapolis into Olu's Center, a day care for children and seniors. The Inner City 100, which created 5,119 jobs since the Great Recession, was announced in October in Boston. ICIC defines an inner city as an economically distressed urban area that has a poverty rate of at least 20 percent. A quarter of the firms are headed by women and 35 percent by minorities. More at: www.icic.org.
• The Minnesota Cup is hosting three invite-only events to encourage more women-owned businesses to enter the Minnesota Cup, one of the largest statewide entrepreneurial competitions and support programs in the country. The first event, "Candid Conversations," will be held at Treehouse Health in Minneapolis on Dec. 3. It will include a panel discussion featuring Sara Russick, the co-founder of Gopher Angels; Susan Sands, the principal of S&B Properties, and Jeanne Voigt, founder of MindWare.
In 2014, the Cup and the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship partnered to offer programs that resulted in 34 percent of this year's 1,300 entries coming from teams led by women, said Melissa Kjolsing, executive director of Minnesota Cup. That was the highest percentage in the Cup's 10-year history. More information at www.breakthroughideas.org.