Minnesota: Building What Matters In The Land Of The Lakes

The Minnesota Investment Fund is turbocharging growth in the thriving medical device and biotech sectors in the Land of the Lakes.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2021 Issue

Cirtec Medical executives held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Brooklyn Park, MN in November to announce a facility expansion that included 200 new jobs. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder with officials from the city and the state.

This expansion project was supported by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) with a loan of up to $800,000 from its Minnesota Investment Fund—one of a bevy of programs and services the state offers to help businesses launch and grow here.

Gov. Tim Walz at the announcement by Deluxe Corporation last September that the company would be moving its headquarters to downtown Minneapolis in 2021. (Photo: Minnesota DEED)

Medical device designer and manufacturer Cirtec is part of Minnesota’s robust medical/biotech ecosystem—a world-renowned hub that includes both global giants and feisty startups in healthcare, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, digital health and related fields. Among them are Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Abbott and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Cirtec CEO Brian Highley said, “With the support of the State of Minnesota, DEED and the City of Brooklyn Park, this new facility will further expand our design, finished device assembly and sterilization capabilities while ensuring we have the capacity to support our customers’ growth.”

Supporting growth of businesses and jobs is what Minnesota aims to do, recognizing that we all do better when we all do better. A collaborative spirit is one of the things that sets Minnesota apart. So is its capacity to see difficult challenges in terms of solutions waiting to be found.

Add in its stockpile of Midwestern “stick-to-itiveness”—and you’ll understand why Minnesota ranks top in the nation in five-year business survival rate (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015-2020).

Growing businesses from startups into giants is Minnesota’s specialty. After all, it’s the birthplace of 3M, Medtronic, Target, Best Buy and General Mills, to name just a few. Per capita, the Twin Cities rank first in Fortune 500 companies among the 30 largest metro areas, and Minnesota ranks fourth (2020).

Among the many notable businesses headquartered here are global agribusiness Cargill, and the state’s largest employer, Mayo Clinic, ranked as the nation’s top hospital and an international leader in healthcare.

“Minnesota has always been a state of problem solvers who build what matters,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “With a strong corporate community and excellent business clusters in health, medical technology, ag tech, food manufacturing, retail and finance, we can be a national hub for creating and growing businesses that will shape America’s post-pandemic future.”

That future is promising because Minnesota’s strong business climate helps companies of all sizes and in all sectors prosper. CNBC has ranked it among the top 10 states for business 11 times between 2007 and 2019. Even in 2020, Minnesota tracked 150 publicly announced business expansions across many industries. It’s also diverse. In fact, Minnesota ranks among the 10 most economically diverse states (Bloomberg’s Economic Diversity Index, 2019).

Minnesota’s award-winning innovation ecosystem was named a “Super-Connector” in a 2021 national competition. The state saw $1.8 billion in venture capital investments in 2020, ranking 12th nationwide. Health insurance startup Bright Health is a locally grown unicorn, while cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf, a Silicon Valley unicorn, recently relocated its headquarters here.

In March 2021, Minnesota was named the 2nd best state overall by U.S. News and World Report, based on 70 metrics in eight categories, including healthcare, education, economy and infrastructure.

Minnesota’s infrastructure and location make supply chain logistics easier. The state is within a day’s truck drive of more than 50 percent of the U.S. population. Moving goods to market is efficient with three interstate highways (I-90, I-94 and I-35); eight commercial ports on Lake Superior and the Mississippi River; and four Class I freight rail lines with over 3,500 Class I rail miles. Minnesota also has nine commercial airports, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP), and it has three foreign trade zones.

Since 2014, the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program has helped connect over 56,800 homes and businesses—and Minnesota has set a goal for universal access to high-speed internet by no later than 2022—with even faster speed goals by 2026.

Minnesota offers a wide range of business resources, including domestic and international investment support, business financing programs, trade and export assistance, foreign trade zone consultations, innovation grants for startups, angel tax credits for investors and more. It has more than 35 shovel-ready certified sites across the state ranging from 20 to 300 acres.

The DEED also understands the importance of customized training and talent pipeline development to meet your current and future workforce needs—and has several successful programs to assist you.

Minnesota checks all the boxes when it comes to what businesses are looking for: a skilled, educated workforce; robust innovation ecosystem; solid business incentives; and top-notch physical and digital infrastructure.

But don’t overlook its remarkable quality of life—which makes it easier for businesses to attract and retain the talent that every business needs to thrive. Minnesota routinely ranks among the top five in quality of life.

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