By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
What are the challenges of doing business in Alexandria and/or in Minnesota?
From permits to regulations and restrictions, from challenges in finding expansion sites to skilled workforce, and from financial assistance to more basic everyday business problems – there are a lot of hurdles to owning and operating a business.
But there is help available, and many businesses are not utilizing the many services that are in place to help with these challenges.
We are blessed in our community to have the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission, which is here to help connect businesses with the resources they may need. If they don’t have the answer, they will help you find it.
Another resources it the Grow Minnesota! Program, which was launched in 2003 by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. The focus of the program is to retain Minnesota businesses, encourage business expansion within the state and, most importantly, to thank businesses for doing business in Minnesota.
The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is one of 70 partner entities working on behalf of this program. Alexandria has a team of eight local business leaders and Chamber staff members going out to have one-to-one confidential conversations with local businesses, asking them about their products and services, workforce, facilities, market, investment/growth/expansion plans, and also about the strengths and weaknesses of their community and the state in regards to doing business.
Between 750 and 1,000 of these business visits are conducted in Minnesota each year – 15-20 of those right here in Douglas County. During the 13 years the program has been in existence, more than 10,000 businesses have been visited statewide through this program.
The information gathered during these visits helps strengthen the Minnesota Chamber’s public policy agenda on behalf of the statewide business community at the Capitol. What is shared with policy-makers is based on what business leaders throughout the state are saying during these meetings – not just on statistics and numbers.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce strives to help companies find solutions to all types of business problems because, ultimately, this is key to creating and retaining jobs in Minnesota.
These business visits are a great way for the Chamber and its partner entities to simply make businesses throughout the state aware of the vast array of services available to them. When a business has a need, the Chamber provides the answers directly, or puts the business in touch with the appropriate private or public resource that can help them.
For more information on the Grow Minnesota! Program or on the resources available to Minnesota businesses, visit www.mnchamber.com/build-your-bottom-line. These resources are here to help you not only stay in business, but succeed in business.
Thanks for doing business in Minnesota!