Businesses hit by floods can seek aid

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two different types of funding have been made available to help small businesses, including farms, that sustained damages in Freeborn County during the Sept. 22 floods.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced on Monday that $10 million in loans are being made available to small businesses across the southern tier of the state from the Minnesota Investment Fund.

In a separate program, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has announced that $314,000 are available in grant funding for small businesses seeking recovery assistance from the floods.

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“A business could conceivably qualify for both, it’s not an either/or qualification,” said Dan Dorman, executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. “It’s likely the grants will go fast and be much smaller awards.”


SMIF grants will be allocated at a minimum amount of $2,500 to help cover uncompensated losses of businesses affected by the flooding.

Those interested must meet specific qualifications and fill out an application, both available at SMIF is taking applications until Nov. 15.

SMIF and AgStar Financial Services together initiated this fund by each donating $25,000 to the program.

DEED provided $150,000 in additional support, with the stipulation that its award be matched dollar-for-dollar.

Other major supporters included The McKnight Foundation, Mayo Clinic, Wells Fargo, Blandin Foundation, AgriBank, Valley Design, F&M Community Bank, Abdo Eick & Meyers and First National Bank of Plainview.

Grants are also available to small business owners in Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Goodhue, LeSueur, Martin, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties.

Low-interest loans

Under the Minnesota Investment Fun program, flood recovery funds will be awarded to local units of government, which will then directly loan the assistance to businesses. According to Dorman, these are low-interest loans.

The purpose of these loans is to fund capital expenses, re-establish operations and retain and create jobs for businesses that were damaged in the floods that were not adequately covered by insurance.

Dorman said he has not received reports of local small businesses sustaining large capital losses.

“Capital damage is really hard to track,” said Dorman. “Maybe some retailers saw reduced business, but that’s a hard thing to qualify.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s not out there, we just haven’t heard of them,” he added. “I think we’re fortunate that there was not more damage and encourage people who had capital losses to still come forward.”

Materials and applications for this funding is available at

Dorman said anyone in Freeborn County interested in this loan program should contact his office at 507-373-3930.

These dollars were approved during the special legislative session on Oct. 18 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty as part of a flood relief package for the region. This funding is also available to small businesses in the following counties: Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Goodhue, Jackson, LeSueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pipestone, Redwood, Rice, Rock, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, Winona and Yellow Medicine.