Guest column: Business center is getting noticed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Our own Albert Lea Business Development Center has received some state attention this summer. Highlighted in the June/July Minnesota Employment Review, through the Minnesota Department of Economic Security, the article focuses on our new &uot;incubator,&uot; our new tenants and the impact it will have on the economy.

As quoted by author Mike Casey, &uot;as more companies in the development center mature and expand, their owners will be in a stronger position to move out on their own, leaving space for additional small entrepreneurs to begin the business start-up process all over again.&uot;

Giving emerging businesses the room and support to get off the ground has been key to our economic prosperity in Albert Lea. In fact in the last five years more than 20 industries (many home grown) have made significant investments in our community to expand operations totaling over 500,000 square feet of space. Job growth by our major employers has continued in the last 12 months with more than 500 new hires and there are plans to continue hiring 300 more individuals in our 60 identified companies in Albert Lea/Freeborn County. In turn these industries occupy more than 125 million square feet of operational space.

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Collaboration, innovation, excellence and responsiveness continue to be the core values which Greater Jobs, Inc. holds true. Whether it’s a local company seeking expansion or a prospective company with a desire to locate in Albert Lea/Freeborn County, our assistance in partnership with the Albert Lea Port Authority has provided companies with more than $7 million in financial assistance since the infancy of both organizations.

Beyond retention and recruitment of industries, waterfront development and the new rural telework initiatives are priorities of Greater Jobs, Inc. for this year. Now is the time to continue our community’s commitment to economic development. Thanks to companies and individuals who are renewing or beginning their financial investment with Greater Jobs, Inc., we have the ability to bring new economic business initiatives to the table.

Pam Bishop is executive vice president of Greater Jobs, Inc., a Freeborn County economic-development organization.