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Small group will explore possibilities of business incubator

The Rosemount Port Authority has formed a small group to explore starting a business incubator in Rosemount. Residents Tom Luing and Leo Myer will join port authority members Bob Leuth and Matt Kearney to form the group. City staff will aid the group in its work.

Community development director Kim Lindquist said both residents have backgrounds with incubator programs, as does Leuth. Kearney volunteered to be part of the small group.

When the idea was introduced to the commission, city administrator Dwight Johnson said business incubators are intended to provide entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses a boost toward success that will ultimately add value and jobs to the community. He added that businesses start in the home or coffee shop and then need a space to continue to grow. The possible goal of an incubator program could be to provide a space businesses could use to continue their growth. Then, as they succeed, they will find a permanent space in the community to do business.

A number of communities have similar programs, including Inver Grove Heights and Northfield. The programs differ in what they offer, but the goal of helping small businesses succeed remains the same.

The group will research existing business incubator programs and provide information to the commission on their operations and what seems to make sense for Rosemount. The group will investigate the demand for such a program in Rosemount and contact potential partners to determine the level of interest and identify the resources available for such a program. Chair Jeff Weisensel also suggested that the group come up with a road map how to proceed.

The group will report back to the port authority before the end of the year with its findings. The port authority has not committed to forming an incubator program but wants to explore the concept.

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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