New Program Aims to Help 25 MN Manufacturers Grow

Over the next three years, the program-"Pathways to Business Growth"-will give participating companies the tools to find new markets, customers, ideas, and products.

Enterprise Minnesota has launched a new program that will help 25 Minnesota-based manufacturers develop and implement strategies to grow.

The organization received a $515,000 grant that it will use to create the three-year program, called “Pathways to Business Growth.”

“Pathways to Business Growth will give participating manufacturers the tools to find new markets, customers, ideas, and products,” said Bob Kill, Enterprise Minnesota president and CEO. “We are eager to start the journey with our first 10 companies and help them achieve long-term, sustainable growth.”

The initiative is one of 22 nationwide that will receive funding from a $9.1 million program through the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP).

Enterprise Minnesota-a Minnesota State Legislature-chartered organization that aims to help Minnesota manufacturers to grow profitably-will work with 10 small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies in the first year of the new program, 10 in the second year, and five in the third year.

The goal behind the Pathways to Business Growth program is lofty: Deliver a 20-to-1 return on investment for participating companies.

Through the program, the first group of 10 manufacturers will take part in a business assessment, strategic planning, innovation and idea mining services, organizational and leadership development, and marketing strategies. Enterprise Minnesota said that it will simultaneously establish industry-wide best practices for working with manufacturing companies, which it will share throughout the country via NIST/MEP.

The first 10 companies that will participate in the program, along with the cities where they are headquartered, are:

  • The Aagard Group, LLC (Alexandria)
  • Absolute Quality Manufacturing, Inc. (Minneapolis)
  • Alexandria Pro-Fab Company, Inc. (Alexandria)
  • Akkerman, Inc. (Brownsdale)
  • Automated Equipment, LLC (Red Wing)
  • Fiserv Solutions, Inc. (Shoreview)
  • Ideal Aerosmith, Inc. (East Grand Forks)
  • Innovance, Inc. (Albert Lea)
  • Pequot Tool & Manufacturing, Inc. (Pequot Lakes) 
  • Ultra Machining Company, Inc. (Monticello)

Manufacturing has long been the backbone of the state's economy. But Minnesota's manufacturing sector has been among the hardest hit within the past few years amid the recession.

The first-year participants of the Pathways to Business Growth program were carefully selected by Enterprise Minnesota staff. Enterprise Minnesota is now in the process of identifying manufacturing companies for the second and third years of the program. Those interested should contact the organization through its Web site.