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Letter: Red Wing Ignite provides clarity

To the editor: 

We want to share information about a valuable opportunity for our community and set the record straight about a grant Red Wing Ignite has been leading. Red Wing Ignite was selected by the Center on Rural Innovation (at the end of January to receive technical assistance to pursue the Economic Development Agency grant and to join their national Rural Innovation Initiative.

RWI and the CORI team hosted a stakeholder meeting on Feb.15. Invitations were sent to representatives from the county, city, partners in business, education, and funders. Our past work and proposed activities were vetted with attendees, as well as the urgency to raise a $750,000 match by the end of March.

PREVIOUSLY: Debate reignites over Red Wing grant

In only six weeks RWI was able to secure $940,602 in cash and in-kind match to the federal government's grant award of $750,000, which could infuse our city and region with $1,690,602 in cash and in-kind services. The mission of RWI and proposed work was validated with 23 letters of support from local, regional, state, and national stakeholders. It was incredible to secure this level of funding and partnership.

For over five years, RWI has been dedicated to building a collaborative model that elevates entrepreneurs, develops a talent pipeline, builds partnerships, and generates investment. The key elements of our EDA proposal involve:

1- Advance Innovators and Entrepreneurs by creating a hybrid incubator using virtual and in-person education, mentoring with top talent, technical assistance funds, access to investors and individual coaching.

2- Enhance Regional Connectivity by convening ecosystem builders and stakeholders in 11 counties of SE MN to fully implement the Entrepreneur First Collaborative.

3- Cultivate the Workforce of the Future by convening industry, education and workforce development to attract, retain, and develop the talent needed to meet employer demand.

We thank our academic, corporate, government and community partners. We believe our city, county and region will benefit as we become an increasingly competitive place to grow new businesses and attract and retain talent.

We encourage you to go to www.redwingignite.org and sign up to receive our monthly newsletters.

The Board of Red Wing Ignite

Steve Betcher, Adam Gettings, Dave Jonas, Marc Kermisch, Paul Kramp, Tom Wolner

Red Wing