Guest Column: ALEDA provides programs to build and support businesses

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Guest Column by Ryan Nolander

Ryan Nolander is the executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency.

Ryan Nolander

Ryan Nolander

Building Freeborn County’s small business community is Albert Lea Economic Development Authority’s commitment to you. Our programs are comprehensive and are designed to build and support our local businesses from start-up entrepreneur to seasoned business. A few programs I would like to note are:

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Albert Lea Entrepreneur Advancement Program 


The Albert Lea Entrepreneur Advancement Program (ALEAP) was created by ALEDA and local leaders to encourage growth of entrepreneurs and small business owners in Freeborn County. The five pillars of the program are 1) monthly networking program 2) business training program 3) incubator and co-working space 4) micro-lending programs 5) venture capital event.


Albert Lea Business
Development Center 


The Albert Lea Business Development Center is a business incubator, one of the few in Minnesota, which offers the entrepreneur a quality space, free business consulting services and professional links for start-up businesses.


Business Mentorship (SCORE and SBDC)

The South Central MN SCORE chapter is part of a national nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of the nation’s small business. SCORE volunteers provide free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of your small business and your personal objectives.

The Albert Lea Business Development Center operates the SBA Small Business Development Center for Freeborn County. The center’s services are provided through a partnership with RochesterCommunity and Technical College, the state of Minnesota and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Services that can be provided are assistance with business planning, financial projections, marketing, etc.

The final thing that I would like to mention is the availability to be a member of Greater Jobs Inc. Our individual and business members are the backbone for making Albert Lea and Freeborn County a better place to live, work and play. Membership provides you with updates on potential projects, different programs that are available for businesses, an invitation to the annual meeting, and makes you a part of the team working on ways to create the conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life in Albert Lea and Freeborn County. Membership options are:


• VIP member: $2,500+

• Key partner: $1,000+

• Partner: $500+

• Sustaining: $250+

Individual contributor or small business (five or fewer employees):

• Friends: $125+

To learn more about these programs visit our new website at and remember that we are all in this together.