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Study gives Minnesota a high grade for small-business friendliness

Online service Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the entrepreneurship organization Kauffman Foundation, conducted its second annual study about business friendliness, compiling survey results from over 7,000 small business owners throughout the United States.
Minnesota received a grade of "A-" in the study, showing marked improvement over its "B" grade in 2012. Survey respondents gave high grades to the ease of starting a business in the state and overall friendliness. Zoning and training programs both received lower scores of "B-."
In terms of areas for improvement, the state's small business owners gave the state a "D+" for ease of hiring and a "C+" for regulatory issues like health and safety and the tax code.
The site also includes some comments from survey respondents, highlighting both advantages and challenges for small businesses in the state. For example, the owner of a moving company in St. Paul complained that "workman's comp in Minnesota is extremely brutal," while an entrepreneur in Cottage Grove noted: "This is a great place to start a business." 

Minneapolis named a top city for women entrepreneurs

Personal finance and small business site NerdWallet recently released a ranking of "Top Ten Cities for Women Entrepreneurs" and Minneapolis came in at 4th place, after San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
"Minneapolis has the dual benefits of having a very low unemployment rate and an educated workforce," the article noted. "Additionally, women own almost a third of businesses in Minneapolis."
NerdWallet continued with a mention of the quarterly networking events held at Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota, an organization that promotes connections among female executives in the state.
Also garnering a nod was the National Association of Women Business Owners of Minnesota, a very active organization that provides networking and other events. Nearby St. Paul got a shout-out as well, for WomenVenture, which offers loans and transitional career services to female entrepreneurs.
Other cities that landed on the list include Portland, Atlanta, Denver, and San Diego.

Two Minnesota companies make Forbes "most promising" list

Business magazine Forbes released its annual list of "America's Most Promising Companies," and two Minnesota businesses got nods.
Hastings-based Anytime Fitness ranked 14th on the list of 100. Forbes noted that the company's steady growth and high sales were notable, as is the franchise model's numerous locations.
Code 42 Software, based in Minneapolis, came in at 53rd on the list. The company creates cloud-based backup systems for consumers and companies, and notable clients include Google and Apple, Forbes noted.
Companies were ranked based on factors like market size, key partnerships, quality of management team, presence of investors, and demonstrated growth. The magazine considered Florida-based mobile platform developer 3Cinteractive the most promising company in the country.

Minneapolis health startup recognized for innovation

MedCity News, an online publication focusing on medical innovation, recently singled out Minneapolis-based Clear.MD for its distinctive technology platform.
The article noted that about 35 percent of U.S. adults have gone online to diagnose a medical issue, and that Clear.MD is one of two interesting startups trying to help consumers break the "online diagnosis" habit.
The company has developed a tech platform that doctors can use to create short videos about various health topics. Clear.MD also offers a tool that users can use to find doctors close to them geographically.
With the system, patients get accurate information about a disease, a surgical procedure, or symptoms, the article states, while doctors can "rest easy knowing that patients can go home and access videos with instructions for postsurgery, for instance."

Happy Gnome and Republic on best beer bars list

The craft beer trend has boosted the number of beer-focused bars across the country, creating a boom in the number of small-batch distilleries and avid fans.
Beer-centric magazine DRAFT put together a list of the top 100 beer bars in the country, and two Twin Cities bars were featured in the Midwest region: Happy Gnome in St. Paul and Republic with locations in 7 Corners and Calhoun Square.
The publication noted that Happy Gnome was chosen for its congenial vibe, large stone hearth, and wooden booths, not to mention a beer list with over 75 taps.
Republic's West Bank pub got a nod for its 50 taps, and wide range of local beers, including Harriet Brewing and Steel Toe Brewing. 

CoCo recognized for "cool" co-working space

Business Insider, a site covering finance, strategy, tech, and other topics, recognized CoCo as one of 17 "coolest co-working spaces in America."
The site focused on CoCo's Minneapolis space, housed on the historic trading floor of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. The space's 20,000 square feet, unique meeting rooms, and game rooms all garnered praise, as well as CoCo's in-room beverage service and catering options.
Other co-working spaces that got a nod for coolness include Citizen Space in California, CoLab in Nashville and Orlando, The Coop in Chicago, and Jellyfish Cartel in Los Angeles.

New Minnesota business filings spike in 2012

The Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State reported that new business filings in 2012 represented an 18 percent increase over the previous year, and constituted the second highest number of new filings in the state's history.
Over 60,000 new businesses were filed last year. As noted by Twin Cities Business, the record was set in 2009, when the state had over 63,000 new filings. However, that increase is largely attributed to a shift in filing practices implemented by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
"New business filings reflect Minnesota's great business climate," said Secretary Mark Ritchie in a statement. "As our economy continues to improve in 2013, new business filings will remain strong."  

Minneapolis Fed forecasts robust job growth ahead

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis brought some economic sunshine to January, forecasting strong growth for the Midwest in the coming year.
The most growth is expected in North Dakota, where oil drilling continues to drive prosperity. But other states will see some robust activity as well, the Fed predicts.
The housing sector is showing signs of recovery and despite drought in many areas, agriculture is holding steady. Although there are some concerns lingering over national fiscal issues and governmental wrangles, personal income and employment are expected to grow in 2013, according to the Fed. That could drive more consumer spending.
The Fed's forecasting models show that employment will grow moderately in 2013, with stronger growth in North Dakota and Minnesota. 

Minneapolis furniture company gets attention for inventive Twitter contest

Minneapolis-based Blu Dot, purveyor of modern furniture, created a Twitter-based contest that had participants scrambling for virtual seats.
Based on the children's game of musical chairs, the promotion rewarded participants for Tweeting a specific phrase that appeared on the company's microsite during a specified time. Up-and-coming band Doppio played a tune and when the music stopped, the Tweeting began.
Over a period of 10 days, the number of "spots" dwindled until one winner got a real-world chair as a prize.
As reported by online marketing publication ClickZ, the game was developed by local creative agency mono, and significantly boosted Blu Dot's number of Twitter followers. 

State's startups raise $100 million in third quarter, report notes

,Minnesota's startups had a strong third quarter, according to a recent report from the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. The publication noted that venture capital investment in the state showed a rebound over previous quarters, with med-tech firms leading the surge.
Companies that raised large rounds include Segetis Inc., a firm specializing in sustainable chemistry solutions, and Torax Medical Inc., a medical technology company focused on treatments for digestive, incontinence, and obesity disorders.
One down note in an otherwise sunny report: $20 million of the third quarter revenue was raised by Mainstay Medical Inc., a device firm that plans to move out of the Twin Cities. Since its funding was provided by an Irish venture capital firm, the company will be relocating to Dublin.

Twin Cities moves up in Forbes' best places for business list

Business magazine Forbes released its annual "Best Places for Business and Careers" list, and the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area came in at 22nd place among the nation's 200 largest metros.
Although that might seem like a low ranking, given the many "Top 10" lists that the Twin Cities makes, it's actually a boost over last year, when the area came in at 34th, and a huge jump over 2010, when the Twin Cities ranked 57th.
As the list notes, our metro area struggles with cost of business issues and job growth, but benefits from strong education and a lower cost of living than many other areas. 

Trio of Minnesota firms on Fortune's list of fastest-growing urban companies

Three Twin Cities companies have made Fortune's "Inner City 100" list of the fastest-growing urban firms in the nation.
The magazine singled out data infrastructure provider Atomic Data, bike-rack design firm Dero, and IT consultancy On-Demand Group (see The Line's coverage of On-Demand here).
The fastest-growing inner-city company in the nation, according to Fortune, is Coyote Logistics, a Chicago-based transportation firm.
Companies were ranked by compound annual growth rate based on their revenue over a five-year period between 2006 and 2010. The survey was part of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a project designed to examine urban economies and spur economic development in cities.

Minneapolis-St. Paul top cities for jobs

The Orange County Register in California recently reported on a survey from temp firm Ajilon Professional Hiring, which looked at the best places in the country for finding a job.
The firm named Minneapolis-St. Paul as the top spot for job hunters, based on factors like unemployment rate, diversity of industries, cost of living, level of higher education, and the range in size of companies offering jobs.
Ajilon noted that the Twin Cities topped the list mainly because hiring is on the rise among its large industry players in sectors like financial services, health care, retail, and manufacturing. The area is also family-friendly, with low crime and poverty rates, the article noted.

Minneapolis designer recognized for innovative crutch invention

Traditional crutches can be cumbersome, difficult to use, and downright painful. That was the experience of Minneapolis-based designer Jeff Weber after he had to hobble around with a broken heel.
He was determined to create a better option, and came up with Mobilegs, a plastic and aluminum crutch that recently won the medical and scientific category award in the Society of the Plastics Industry's design competition.
The product was covered in a recent issue of Plastics News, which included quotes from the award's judges. One industrial design judge joked: "You almost can't wait to hurt your ankle just so you can use it."

Quartet of local chefs up for Food & Wine award

First came the James Beard Award nominees, and now comes Food & Wine magazine's competition for "Best New Chef." It's official: the Twin Cities are a gourmet paradise.
The magazine divided the country into 10 regions, and chose 10 restaurants from each. Four Minnesota chefs are on the list for the Midwest region.
The contenders are Sameh Wadi from Saffron Restaurant in Minneapolis, Landon Schoenfeld from HauteDish in Minneapolis, and Mike Brown and James Winberg, both from Travail Kitchen & Amusements in Robbinsdale.
Readers were asked to choose their favorites by voting on the magazine's website, and winners will be announced soon.
73 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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