Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism representatives Kelly Nygaard and Casie Steeves stopped by the KDHL Studio Wednesday for AM Minnesota.  A variety of topics were discussed including a new program developed by the Faribault Economic Development Authority and the chamber.

Nygaard told AM Minnesota listeners the program is open to both proposed and existing businesses in the Historic Downtown District.  Awards will be based on merit as determined by a panel of independent judges with awards ranging from $500 to $5,000.  Applications are available online or at the Faribault Chamber of Commerce office.

Nygaard oversees the Main Street Program and the Main Street Committee will administer the Micro Grant Program.  The last few years this has been called the Downtown Business Challenge where people would submit their ideas for new businesses and one received a package worth approximately $20,000.  Nygaard says the award, "Has been modified to provide more awards and to be easier for existing businesses to apply."

She added, "A notable component of the application process is the business counseling/coaching connection each applicant receives to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and SCORE free of charge."

After the applicants complete their start up or improvement plans with the counseling services, they are reviewed by the judging panel for further coaching.  Awards are then given based on the merit of the final plans.  Nygaard noted the counseling services from SBDC or SCORE are available free of charge to any current businesses or people thinking about starting a business in Faribault.

Nort Johnson, President/CEO of the Faribault Chamber of Commerce says, "Entries will be connected with Small Business Development Center and SCORE resources to really examine and complete a business plan."  He added, "We're excited to see how many more business models we can help support the idea of being part of our fabulous downtown."

The judging panel consists of professionals from local businesses including banking and marketing.

Deadline to submit your ideas is May 30.  Go to the Faribault Main Street Facebook page, faribaultmainstreet.org or phone 507-334-4381 for more information.

Steeves plugged this year's Chamber Business Awards Luncheon scheduled for Thursday, May 9, 2019 at the Faribault Golf and Country Club, 1700 17th Street in Faribault.

The Special Events Coordinator said in addition to the traditional Business of the Year Award and Customer Service Awards new awards will be given including:

  • Visionary Award
  • Marketing Award
  • Education Award

Steeves added people can now purchase their tickets to the event online.  A new service of their website.