Grow Minnesota! 2020 Annual Report
Grow Minnesota!®: A Year in Review
We Care About Minnesota Businesses
2020 was filled with challenges, uncertainty and change. The events of the year also highlighted the innovation and resiliency of Minnesota businesses. The true value of our well-established Grow Minnesota! business retention and assistance program was also witnessed in 2020. As the only structured ongoing statewide economic development program of its kind, we had the capacity and experience to respond quickly to the multitude and variety of business concerns that surfaced throughout the past year. Our nearly 300 one-on-one business visits completed in 2020 also allowed us to share keen insights on Minnesota’s economic outlook. We will continue to build and strengthen our relationships with Minnesota businesses through the business assistance services we provide.
Kathi Schaff, Director Grow Minnesota!®
Grow Minnesota!’s Rich History: 2003 – 2020
The mission of Grow Minnesota!®, the economic development program of the Minnesota Chamber, is to retain and grow Minnesota businesses. The program has been working year-round for 18 years building relationships with businesses and realizing a multitude of successes. A significant part of the program is its ongoing business retention visit work accomplished through a strong partnership with over 90 local and regional chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and additional stakeholders.
Every business visit completed by Grow Minnesota!’s staff and the leadership of its partners results in value to the business visited. The vast majority of Grow Minnesota!’s success stories have not been made public, due to the confidential nature of the business visits. Rest assured, our efforts have not gone unnoticed by those who matter most – Minnesota businesses.
The variety and extend of our assistance has expanded over the years. Now roughly one out of three businesses visited requests assistance. Year after year, the sure and steady work of Grow Minnesota!’s staff and partners emphasizes the importance of the program to our state’s economy.
2020 – A Year of Change and Uncertainty
2020 started out with Minnesota businesses expressing optimism related to their economic outlook, but that changed in March as significant challenges to businesses and the COVID-19 Pandemic brought about disproportionate impacts to industry sectors. Grow Minnesota!® quickly responded to the concerns and needs of Minnesota businesses, whether the business was a member of the Minnesota Chamber or not. We continue to provide critical guidance and resources and do so in an expedited way. We know businesses need answers quickly. What may be most important during this pandemic is that we serve as a live person who listens with empathy to each individual business’s situation. The Minnesota Chamber and Grow Minnesota!’s proactive work and responsiveness will continue to be second to none, because we care about Minnesota businesses.
2020: Close to 300 personal one-on-one virtual visits completed
2020 March – December: Nearly 2,000 businesses received direct assistance
- Response time: 98% assisted within 24 hours, 2% assisted within 48 hours
2020: Developed critical resources
- MN Supplier Match database added category to source PPE supplies
- Close to 800 accessed the database since April 2020
- Only statewide database of local COVID-related business grants and loans, updated daily
- At one point had close to 700 listings!
What did we learn from businesses in 2020 and what might this tell us about Minnesota’s economic recovery?
Grow Minnesota! conducted in-depth conversations with nearly 300 businesses in 2020, to learn what challenges and opportunities they were facing in light of the immense changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While not a substitute for hard economic data, these conversations provide key insights into how businesses are navigating unprecedented disruptions, and offer a glimpse at what Minnesota can do to help companies recover and grow in the coming months.
Not surprisingly, the impacts of COVID-19 took center stage in our virtual visits with businesses this past year. However, the results from Grow Minnesota’s! outreach also reveal some surprising insights and notable opportunities that warrant further investigation and response.
Here are four key takeaways from a review of Grow Minnesota! activities in 2020.
- Some businesses are still struggling to find workers, even amidst severe job losses.
- COVID-19 brought major impacts on business revenues and operations.
- Innovation and planned investments remain strong.
- COVID-19 created large scale and immediate supply chain challenges; businesses largely succeeded in managing change.
2021 - What’s Next for Grow Minnesota!?
As we move into 2021, our plans include several goals. These goals will help us continue to build on our work, expand our business resources, and engage more individuals and organizations statewide. We welcome the support and partnership of Minnesota businesses and economic development stakeholders.
Contact us to learn how you can become involved!
Together we are stronger. Together we will positively affect Minnesota’s economic recovery and help position our state for long-term growth.
Interested in sponsoring the 2020 Annual Report?
Contact the Chamber's Elizabeth Sherry to learn about exclusive sponsorship opportunities for the Grow Minnesota! 2020 Annual Report and other Grow Minnesota! digital publications. Get your brand in front of businesses from around the state.