Welcome to Lac qui Parle County

lqP MapThe mission of the Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority is to be the catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and improving the quality of life in Lac qui Parle County.

We are here to:

  • Help local businesses
  • Introduce the rest of the world to LqP
  • Support young entrepreneurs

We have a few ongoing programs:

Please contact us for more information!

To finance or not to finance that’s the entrepreneurial question!

Minnesota Business Magazine recently ran an article that helps entrepreneurs understand their financing options – including a fun comparison to South Park gnomes. (Not to be confused with gnomes of Dawson!) Here’s a brief glimpse at their reasoning…

Though every startup is different, Krivosha — like virtually every impartial early-stage business expert — advises entrepreneurs to bootstrap until they can’t anymore, whether because they’re not willing to invest any more of their own liquid assets or because they want to scale faster than bootstrapping allows. The longer companies grow by bootstrapping, the more they’re worth when they approach outside investors.

When outside financing becomes necessary, business owners need to choose their investors wisely. “If you’re not willing to accept investor-friendly terms, you may want to reconsider raising outside capital at all,” says Montague. “That said, your investors’ objectives and long-term vision for your company should align, not conflict, with your own.”

Dilution is a big concern as well. Founders who accept financing from equity partners, such as angel investors and venture capital firms, should try to get value in return: management expertise, industry connections, distribution partners, customers. Likewise, though startup employees often expect some degree of equity compensation (such as stock options), founders shouldn’t be too generous with equity.

Solar Panels in Southwest Minnesota are Hot!

The West Central Tribune reports that solar power is on fire in southwest Minnesota…

At the end of 2015, Minnesota calculated that its solar electric capacity had reached 35 megawatts. By the end of this year, the Minnesota Department of Commerce projects the total will be 400 megawatts, Lissa Pawlisch, with the Southwest Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Team, told an audience Tuesday in Appleton.

And why is southwest Minnesota such a hotbed for solar?

The open skies of Southwestern Minnesota provide some of the best solar resources in the state, and consequently the region is seeing solar development both small and large, according to Annette Fiedler, physical development director with the Southwest Regional Development Commission in Slayton. She pointed out examples of solar gardens that have been added to power farms and homes, businesses and more. A 62.25 megawatt solar farm has been approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission near Marshall. It will send its power to the grid and its intended customer, Xcel Energy.   

Much of the impetus for large-scale solar power is due to Minnesota’s renewable energy requirement adopted in 2013. It requires that the state’s investor owned utilities obtain 1.5 percent of their electric production for retail sales from solar.

And it’s a strategy that looks like it will pay off…

Right now, solar looks as if it will prove to be competitive for the long haul. Tepfer said Kandiyohi Power installed a 140-panel system. Each panel- which costs a customer $1,250 for 25 years of output-  is producing about 500 kilowatts a year.

Carried out for a 25-year period, it appears that a customer will be paying the equivalent 10 cents a kilowatt for the output from their panel, or roughly the current price of retail electricity. “The way I look at it, I locked in today’s electric price for the next 25 years, for that portion of it anyway,’’ said Tepfer.

He said that 90 of the 140 panels have been purchased at this point.

City of Madison, Bright Energy Solutions and Elementary School celebrate better lights

Clean Energy Resource Teams reports on a collaboration in Madison County that makes the school and the kids brighter…

Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings could be implemented at a larger scale.”

City Manager Jon Radermacher added an example of how the program tested students’ math skills . “The students were given kits that included digital thermometers, LED nightlights, and three 23 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). One of their projects was to calculate the annual savings of a year of CFL usage versus the 100 watt incandescent bulbs.”

Turns out the students like what they saw and even started to encourage it at home…

Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings could be implemented at a larger scale.”

City Manager Jon Radermacher added an example of how the program tested students’ math skills . “The students were given kits that included digital thermometers, LED nightlights, and three 23 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). One of their projects was to calculate the annual savings of a year of CFL usage versus the 100 watt incandescent bulbs.”

Webinar: Retail Revelations: How Stores on Main Street Can Compete in the Amazon Era: July 20

Title: Retail Revelations: How Local Businesses Can Compete – and Win – in the Amazon Era
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Time: 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 1 hour

With so many customers gravitating to lower prices offered on the internet, it’s paramount for local retailers and specialty stores to nurture customer loyalty with fabulous in-store shopping experiences and to prudently manage their markups, inventory and turnover.

In this webinar, Ritchie Sayner, a SCORE mentor and successful retail consultant, will offer ways local retailers can increase in-store sales and run more profitable, businesses despite competition from goliaths such as Amazon, Zappos, and other online markets.

What is a workforce center? And what do they do?

Folks are often asking us about the Workforce Centers. So we wanted to share the news – borrowing from the MN DEED website…

Our WorkForce Centers help job seekers find employment, help businesses find workers, and help anyone at any stage explore and plan careers.

Tornado Recovery Fund for Meeker County

Southwest Initiative Foundation has established a tornado recovery fund in partnership with its community affiliate, Litchfield Area Community Foundation.

This emergency fund, called the Meeker County Tornado Recovery Effort Fund, will help those impacted by the recent tornadoes in Meeker County with financial assistance related to long-term recovery efforts. You can help by making a gift (which is tax deductible!).

On Monday evening July 11, 2016, thunderstorms produced at least four tornadoes across central Minnesota. Areas hardest hit were Watkins and northwest Litchfield. Read More…