Small business focus essential in Washington County

Thursday, March 02, 2023

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Small businesses are essential to communities nationwide. While the economic environment encompassing Washington County, MN, communities support small businesses very well, the owners, leaders and entrepreneurs running these operations still need consistent assistance and advice to flourish.

The Washington County Community Development Agency (CDA) is the ultimate resource for small business support in the east Minneapolis - Saint Paul metropolitan area. Additionally, several national organizations and business experts focus on small business assistance.

Washington County CDA

The CDA is proud to kick off the What’s Next CEO campaign in 2023 to help local businesses accelerate their growth. The program is tailored for the CEO of a growing business or existing business owner looking for assistance in Washington County. What's Next CEO provides executives with the tools, resources, and opportunities to build a sustainable company. An exclusive owner-only group, What’s Next CEO Peer-to-Peer Round Table, allows leaders to exchange ideas and learn from others facing similar scenarios. Direct support is free through  Lee Hall, the CEO of NextStage, a nonprofit organization assisting new, early-stage and operating entrepreneurs. 

The CDA also supports interactions with the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers Open to Business counseling through advisor Tyler Hilsabeck. The program offers free, confidential business counseling to existing businesses and prospective entrepreneurs.

SizeUp Small Business is a free tool that provides a competitive intelligence advantage for business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to expand or enter the Washington County economic community. SizeUp brings the power of big data to the small business community, leveling the competitive business playing field by providing easily understandable market research based on big data, algorithm-based analysis and super-computing. Users can drill down with more specific economic and demographic information to deliver detailed information on regional competitors, potential customers and suppliers. 


Wednesday, March 15, is #SBDC Day, a national proclamation by America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) regarding their impact on the success of America’s small businesses. More than 1,000 SBDCs nationwide comprise a comprehensive small business assistance network hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners. A portion of their funding comes from the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Locally, the University of St. Thomas SBDC in Minneapolis is available to small business owners and entrepreneurs for free face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training on various topics.

#SBDC Day will be celebrated with social media campaigns, public relations initiatives and other online events. Get in on the celebration by using the hashtags below in your communications.

  • #NationalSBDCDay
  • #SBDCDay
  • #SmallBusinessDevelopmentCenterDay
  • #NationalSBCDDay
  • #SBCDDay

Federal grant funding

While the staff at your local SBDC, OTB or What’s Next CEO can help understand what financial assistance may apply to your business or idea, you can be part of the development of grant programs with the U.S. Department of Commerce today.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration is seeking public input on how to craft the $1 billion Recompete Pilot Program. Initially authorized in 2022 as part of the CHIPS Act to address semiconductor production and manufacturing, the program  will provide grant funding to help create good jobs in distressed communities nationwide.

The Recompete Pilot Program will seek to support long-term economic development by helping reduce the high prime-age employment gap, defined as individuals aged 25 to 54. Of the $1 billion total, $200 million has been made available through a Request for Information (RFI) published on February 23. The grant program will run from 2022 to 2026, with $20 million minimum grants. Program development is incomplete, and the Commerce Department seeks feedback on how the grant should work. The Federal Register RFI has detailed information for participants. Interested persons should submit comments to by March 27, 2023. 

The Commerce Department seeks input on another grant program, the $500 million Tech Hubs Program, designed to provide seed money to help build, plan and execute innovation-related projects nationwide. Input on how the grant program should be structured should be emailed by March 16, 2023, to with “Tech Hubs RFI” in the subject line.

Contact the Washington County CDA today!

The CDA focuses on the recruitment, retention and expansion of businesses. Our department provides various scopes of project support, from assisting with site selection for new businesses to helping existing businesses grow and thrive. We can help you understand how numerous incentives may apply to your company. Contact us to learn more about our services!

Category: News