May is a Time for Benton Economic Partnership to Reflect on Its Mission

May is a Time for Benton Economic Partnership to Reflect on Its Mission Main Photo

6 May 2021


What could be more analogous to Spring than the economic awakening of local communities recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic? This May is an excellent time to recognize Benton Economic Partnership’s promotion and support of business growth in its Minnesota community because the month includes two recognition weeks: Small Business Week and the 2021 National Economic Development Week

Benton Economic Partnership

The Benton Economic Partnership (BEP), Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit economic development organization located in Foley, Minnesota committed to encouraging and leading economic development efforts throughout Benton County. BEP is dedicated to business retention and expansion, downtown redevelopment, workforce development, marketing the county, and quality of life initiatives. 

When business owners join BEP, they become members of an organization that understands economic development is a shared responsibility of both public and private sectors: together they create a strong and effective business environment, providing a more sophisticated and professional level of economic development than can be offered individually.

Members enjoy quarterly meetings where they network and gain market insight and information about local business development programs. BEP also provides:

  • Assistance. BEP provides advice and technical assistance to individuals looking to relocate, expand, or start their own business. Help is available with navigating the municipal approval process for land use, completing financial applications, and connecting with resources.
  • Client Confidentiality. Because BEP is a public-private, nonprofit organization, they have the unique ability to keep prospective projects confidential which is very attractive during preliminary development stages.
  • Gap Financing Facilitation. BEP can help business owners apply for gap financing through Tax Increment Financing, Property Tax Abatement, or through state grant and loan programs. BEP is ready to help navigate the municipal approval process.

During the pandemic, BEP was instrumental in delivering CARES grant funds. BEP awarded 134 grants in 2020 and 2021 totaling $1,875,774.

More About Small Business Week

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has historically held its National Small Business Week in the first week of May each year. Small businesses add character to communities, create jobs, strengthen the economy and offer unique experiences and memories for families. In its 2019 Small Business Profile, the SBA Office of Advocacy indicated 59.9 million employees, or 43.7 percent of the entire U.S. employee workforce, worked for small businesses. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics Business Employment Dynamics indicates that from 2000 to 2018, small businesses created 9.6 million net new jobs, accounting for nearly 65 percent of all net new jobs in the U.S. 

Promoting small businesses is an excellent way to help support a community’s overall economy.  A 2018 report from American Express stated an average two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses in the U.S. stays in the local community and every dollar spent there creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity. As an added incentive, every ten jobs created at a local business support an additional seven jobs within the community.

More About National Economic Development Week

The sixth annual National Economic Development Week (EDW) is May 9-15, 2021. National Economic Development Week was created in 2016 by the International Economic Development Council — the largest professional membership organization for economic developers — to recognize the unique role that economic development has in creating flourishing communities with strong economies. 

EDW is a chance to recognize economic developers, the local leaders and organizations who work tirelessly to recruit investors, develop businesses, create jobs, enhance the tax base and ultimately improve the quality of life of their communities. There are many resources available for those looking to participate in this year's events. The IEDC’s #EDW2021 Toolkit offers a number of ideas.

Benton Economic Partnership is Ready to Assist

BEP works tirelessly to support entrepreneurs, small businesses, and industry.  BEP focuses on business retention and expansion, leads workforce development, and assists with marketing and promotion to ensure the local community can achieve the highest quality of life possible. Reach out to BEP at (320) 968-6197 or to see how we can help today!

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