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City will start online incubator

The city of Rosemount is finding ways to help would-be business owners get started.

In September, the Rosemount Port Authority put together a small task force to explore the possibility of starting a business incubator. The task force recommended the city start a virtual incubator on the city's website.

City administrator Dwight Johnson said city staff is working to hire an economic development intern for the summer and their main task would be to build the incubator for the city's website.

As staff moves forward with a virtual way to support fledgling businesses, the task force continues to explore other ways the city can promote economic development. At a recent task force meeting, the group, which is made up of residents and members of the port authority, met with Laurie Crow, the city's Open to Business representative, to get her initial thoughts on what's going on in Rosemount and other Dakota County communities.

The Open to Business program offers small business owners and those interested in starting a business advice on a variety of topics.

The program started in January in communities throughout Dakota County. Crow offers office hours from 1 to 3 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month at Rosemount City Hall. Crow has met with approximately 100 clients from around the county since February.

According to a staff memo to the port authority, Crow indicated that many people have ideas or want to start a business and are looking for reassurance and resources available.

Money seemed to be the biggest factor and Crow indicated that many need to be counseled on how they do business to help them turn a profit. Crow told the group that most she has met with are interested in opening retail or service-oriented businesses.

As for programs designed to help business owners, Crow said marketing the programs was the most important step to making sure people take advantage of them whether it be the business incubator or the Open to Business program.

City continues to seek a buyer for downtown land

In other business, the port authority approved an extension with CBRE Inc. to continue marketing the Genz Ryan property. The downtown property has sat vacant for a number of years now.

Johnson said staff has had several conversations with the Dakota County CDA about bringing an affordable senior living housing project to the site.

However, CBRE representative Richard Palmiter recommended the port authority try to cast a wide net to attract developers. The port authority moved forward the extension with a motion to advertise the site as a mixed use property with opportunities for multi-family housing and retail.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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