Thinking of launching a business in Silicon Prairie? Fans of Minnesota for business, from Target headquarters to young entrepreneurs, point to an ideal combination of innovation, low-key attitude and Midwestern values. Access to capital? According to 2015 research from PitchBook, 115 Minnesota-based startups saw more than $600 million in venture capitalist investments in 2014 alone, with the number of tech startups doubling in the five years prior.
Minnesota for technology and innovation
Room for growth: With a population of 5.5 million, Minnesota is ranked 21st most populous but 12th in area, so there’s lots of space for expansion in the capital city of St. Paul and beyond. As for innovation, just thank Minnesota for introducing such all-American household items as Scotch tape and masking tape, Wheaties cereal and Bisquick. These days, the ecosystem is blossoming at the annual Twin Cities Startup Week and the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management’s MN Cup, the largest statewide startup competition in the country.
Minnesota’s educated workforce
Skills that matter: An educated workforce is a key factor for a healthy business environment, and Minnesota’s workers are among the most educated in the country. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development indicates that over 92 percent of Minnesotans have a high school diploma and over 33 percent hold a bachelor’s degree. Statistical research indicates that the state is home to 115 institutions of higher learning, ranking it 13th in the nation.
Minnesota’s vibrant economy
Back to work: According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from April 2016, Minnesota’s falling unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent versus a national average of 5.0 percent. For the metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, the figure stood at 3 percent as of November 2016, making the regional Twin Cities fourth in the nation for highest employment rates. With Minneapolis as its home, Cargill is America’s largest private company, and the state is home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, placing it second in the national on a per capita basis.
Access to funding in Minnesota
Follow the money: Small Business Administration loan programs distributed more than $570 million to 1,755 small businesses throughout the state in 2014, placing it 10th in volume of SBA-backed loans. To make it easier for startup companies to raise capital, in June 2014 an equity crowdfunding bill was signed into law by Minnesota Gov. Mark Drayton. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development oversees business incentives, loans, grants and a $10 million angel tax credit fund to benefit investors of qualifying startups headquartered in the state.
Quality of life in Minnesota
Enjoy 10,000 lakes: A competitive cost of doing business, an attractive cost of living and an enviable quality of life come together in Minnesota. Outdoor pursuits and fresh air are abundant, while the fine and performing arts, culture, pro sports and a vibrant food scene thrive in the Twin Cities. The hospitals and healthcare facilities are highly regarded, and the Super Bowl is coming to Minneapolis in 2018 too.
This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr for CBS Small Business Pulse.