Thursday, February 29, 2024

Kasson chosen to participate in SMIF entrepreneurial program

Kasson has been selected as one of six southern Minnesota communities to participate in the Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures (REV) program of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).

The program focuses on entrepreneurial supports and economic growth for towns under 10,000 population in SMIF’s 20-county region. The program runs for a three-year period, beginning in January 2024.

"The City is very excited to have been selected for the Rural Entrepreneurship Ventures program,” said Ian Albers, Community Development assistant. “The Kasson Economic Development Authority decided to apply for the program because of the unique opportunity to transform the City's approach to economic development.

“Participation in the three-year REV program will provide the resources necessary to develop and support the entrepreneurial community, while also allowing the city to be more strategic as Kasson continues to grow. Thank you to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and Compeer Financial for supporting Kasson!"

 The REV program helps rural communities create more vibrant economies by finding and supporting local entrepreneurs - from business startups to existing businesses that want to grow. Each community will develop a leadership team and be matched with a coach to guide them through goal setting and action steps. They will also participate in cohort learning with other REV communities.

 After a competitive application process, the following communities were selected for the 2024 – 2026 REV cohort:

• Caledonia

• Kasson

• Plainview

• Collectively the communities of Gibbon, Fairfax and Winthrop

REV launched in 2018 and currently supports eight active communities across the southern Minnesota region. A variety of approaches to economic growth have been implemented in these towns, including business succession programs and youth retention initiatives.

The REV model is based on the e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems framework which is hosted by NetWork Kansas. The framework has a proven track record of accelerating entrepreneurial activity in rural communities and has been tested by dozens of towns across the U.S., according to SMIF.

REV receives financial support from Compeer Financial which will enable the region to benefit from expanded funding resources, expertise and partnership.

“Since the beginning of the REV program in 2018, we have seen the way it can shape a positive economic future for small towns,” said Pam Bishop, vice president of entrepreneurship at SMIF. “We are grateful that with the support of Compeer Financial, we are able to expand the resources offered to these communities.”

“Compeer Financial is proud to support the REV program and these six communities in their pursuit of long-term economic growth,” said John Monson, chief mission officer at Compeer Financial. “We believe that entrepreneurship is a driving force for rural development, and through our partnership with SMIF, we aim to empower these communities with the resources and expertise they need to thrive.”

For more information on SMIF’s Rural Entrepreneurship Venture Program, or contact Pam Bishop at or 507-214-7013.


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