INCubatoredu – A New Course Hatches at Rochester Public Schools

The new INCubatoredu program will help students develop ideas from concept to pitch.

Rochester Public Schools (RPS) is debuting a national entrepreneurship program, INCubatoredu, this fall. This program is the first-of-its-kind in Minnesota.

INCubatoredu is a year-long course available to all RPS high school students in grades 11 and 12 (Century, John Marshall, Mayo, and RALC). Students have the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service. Real entrepreneurs and business experts serve as volunteer coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the processes of developing hypotheses about a business concept, testing those hypotheses, adapting, and continually learning and improving. This cycle of experimentation is combined with foundational business content such as marketing and finance. The course concludes with students pitching their ideas to investors to generate seed money to grow their operations.

“Entrepreneurship teaches to the heart of 21st Century skills: adaptability, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving,” says Superintendent Michael Muñoz. “We know this program will ignite passion among our students and community. It is critical for us to partner with our talented and supportive community because their contributions will immediately impact the lives of our students.”

The School District is working to establish volunteer mentors, a licensed teacher, and a downtown Rochester space for the INCubatoredu program in the coming months, recognizing that a downtown space is an ideal location for community experts and mentors, as well as offering a real-world business setting for students.

Growing and amplifying the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a priority for Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA).Image result for INCubatoredu images Chris Schad, DMC EDA’s director of business development for Discovery Square and a collaborator in Rochester’s startup community, is energized by this new program.

“The students of Rochester Public Schools have a history of going out into the world to positively impact communities near and far. This program will not only help students develop skills that most entrepreneurs have to learn on the fly, it will help develop new businesses and jobs and keep talent in our region,” notes Schad.

 

Five Questions with Ken Nelson, Publisher Rochester Post Bulletin

Ken Nelson joined the Post Bulletin as publisher in August 2018.  He has a stellar career in the newspaper industry, including more than 20 years at the Orange County Register in California.  Prior to joining the Post Bulletin, Nelson served as chief executive officer and publisher of the Erie Times-News in Pennsylvania.

Nelson has spent his first several months in Rochester getting to know the community, including a meet and greet and walking tour with Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke to learn more about the DMC initiative.

In this blog, Nelson discusses the Post Bulletin’s priorities and what sets Rochester, Minnesota, apart from other cities.

DMC: What path brought you to your current position with the Post Bulletin?

Nelson: A longtime friend of mine mentioned that the Post Bulletin was seeking a publisher.  She shared that the owners and employees are great people, Rochester is a wonderful community and that the organization was looking for someone to help the company meet the needs of a growing and changing community.

DMC: What are some of the top priorities for the organization in the coming year?

Nelson: Our top priorities are informing and engaging readers in the platform they prefer, whether in print or online, and helping local businesses thrive by connecting them to their target markets.  

DMC: What do you feel sets Rochester apart from other cities?

Nelson: Rochester is similar to many of the wonderful communities you will find across the Midwest.  It is filled with many friendly, helpful, hard-working families. The main difference is that those other communities don’t enjoy the benefits that come with having the economic foundation provided by having Mayo Clinic as a neighbor.

DMC: Why is the Destination Medical Center initiative so important to the future of Rochester?

Nelson: Mayo Clinic is a major driver of our economy.  We need to nurture and grow that economic engine.  Without DMC we don’t have the structure, the strategy or plans that will enable us to capitalize on the growth inherent in being home to the premier medical facility in the world.

DMC: What advice would you give to someone thinking about building a life, starting a career, and/or raising a family in America’s City for Health?

Nelson: Move now.  This is a great community, and the opportunities are endless.

Editor’s Note: For the second consecutive year, the Post Bulletin has been recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association as the Daily Newspaper of the Year.

 

A Message from Lisa Clarke

Rochester – A City on the Move

2019 will be a milestone year in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) district. From innovation to renovation, the growth happening in downtown Rochester is impressive. There are nine developments opening this year in the DMC district.

Among them are several DMC-supported projects, including:

In addition, Residence at Discovery Square apartments and the Ronald McDonald House expansion will debut.

Plus, a community treasure will experience a rebirth. Chateau Theatre, a Rochester institution, will re-open so residents and visitors to Rochester can experience new entertainment offerings in the Heart of the City. The Destination Medical Center Corporate (DMCC) Board and the Rochester City Council committed $1.1 million for this renovation.

This growth is energizing, bringing new living choices, hospitality and increased opportunities for startup businesses, and it’s just the beginning. With the increased density from new housing options in downtown Rochester, DMC will be collaborating with community partners to develop a retail, dining and entertainment strategy to ensure a robust and vibrant downtown for all to enjoy.

DMC is committed to a long-term transportation solution for downtown. This year, the DMCC Board and the Rochester City Council will move forward with selecting mobility hub locations and a circulator route to ensure fast, convenient and reliable transportation to and through downtown and assist in parking availability for residents, employees, students, patients and visitors in the future.

This is exciting, and we are less than five years into the implementation of the DMC development plan.  We have learned a lot and look forward to what the next five years will bring.

We appreciate the support of the community and the many partners who have contributed time and talent in support of DMC’s vision. Thank you.

Lisa Clarke, DMC EDA Executive Director

 

Downtown Rochester Experience: Profile on Pasquale Presa

After celebrating two years in business, Pasquale’s has embodied the neighborhood pizzeria feel in downtown Rochester, ranking as the number one best restaurant on TripAdvisor and the number one best pizza on TripAdvisor and Yelp.

As a food entrepreneur located in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square subdistrict, restaurant owner Pasquale Presa aims to maintain a position at the forefront of the local culture.

Presa was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and came to Rochester in 2011. Community has always been of high value to him. The number one aim of his New York-style pizzeria is to provide great service and delivering a quality product. But the experience people have in the restaurant, that feeling of home is of equal importance to Presa.

“We have a tradition. We exemplify how we were brought up and how we are a part of family and part of a community,” says Presa. “To me, it’s very important to be so involved, to embrace change and step out of our comfort zone.”

With new developments, including a mix of luxury apartment homes, commercial space, and direct access to recreational trails, Pasquale’s exemplifies the “live, work, and play” environment of Discovery Square.

Presa said he’s honored and thankful to be located in Discovery Square. He continues to do his part to stay educated and involved in DMC developments.  He and his investment partners hope to grow with the neighborhood. His restaurant is across the street from the new apartments Urban on First, expected to open this summer, and one block south from the One Discovery Square Life Science Center, with a planned spring opening.

“This is a good place to be,” adds Presa.

City of Rochester Opens RFP for First-of-Its-Kind Mixed Income Housing

The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency are inviting developers to submit proposals for a potential affordable or mixed-income housing development to be constructed in the air rights above a new city parking ramp.  This development project is the first of its kind for the City of Rochester.

The City is seeking an affordable or mixed-income housing development that provides for 50 percent or more of the units to be at rents affordable to persons at 60 percent of the area median income.

“The City of Rochester is especially proud of this parking ramp project given the opportunity to work with the development community to create more affordable housing in the downtown, says Terry Spaeth, Rochester Assistant City Administrator.  “We look forward to the creative ways in which a developer may approach this project.  We know that providing affordable housing is vitally important to the City’s success.”

A successful development project will promote the ideals of smart growth to create the following:

  • Provide affordable housing opportunities for persons at 60 percent area median income desiring to live close to employment, shopping, entertainment, without the necessity of relying on an automobile

  • Encourage the most efficient use of the downtown location

  • Establish a quality of sustainable design that will set a standard for future development in the area and integrates well with the current facility

  • Create a project that contributes to the goal of a walkable downtown

  • Implement innovative solutions/alternatives to address and reduce parking demand

“Workforce housing is a critical component of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) strategy as we continue to create a viable urban core for Rochester,” adds Lisa Clarke, executive director, Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency. “This parking ramp is a DMC-funded ramp and the potential to develop a mixed-use project is an excellent opportunity to meet multiple needs – parking and housing – in downtown Rochester.”

The deadline to submit proposals is June 14, 2019.

RFPs sought for operation and management of Rochester’s Historic Chateau Theatre

An iconic downtown landmark is promised new life as the City of Rochester announces call for requests for proposals (RFP) for the operation and management of the historic Chateau Theatre.

The Chateau Theatre is located in the Peace Plaza in Heart of the City which sees nearly 1.4 million visitors a year and within walking distance of over 2,200 hotel rooms.

“The Chateau Theatre is a community treasure and has always been at the core of our DMC Heart of the City planning,” says Lisa Clarke, executive director, DMC Economic Development Agency. 

Going for Gold: Rochester named Minnesota’s first LEED Gold City

Energy and Sustainability Director Kevin Bright

Rochester, Minnesota was recently recognized as the state’s first LEED Gold city by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The honor came as a result of the City’s effort to achieve significant municipal sustainability and resiliency goals.

LEED – or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – certification was created by the USGBC and is a globally-recognized green building rating system. It provides a framework to create healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.

Five questions with Jerome Ferson, president and CEO of the United Way of Olmsted County

Jerome Ferson

The United Way is a community change organization that unites people in need with the resources they need to reach their full potential.

Jerome Ferson has been leading that change at the United Way for just more than four years. DMC sat down with Ferson to learn more about his goal of achieving education, health, and financial stability for every person, especially those most in need.

Reinventing Downtown alleys

Examples of hanging art installations

Activating and beautifying underutilized public spaces like alleys integrates exciting and healthy public spaces into our existing urban environments. It also tends to increase the perception of safety and reduce unwanted behaviors in those areas.

Over the past few months, the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) has been working on a new project that aims to repurpose the Third Street Alley (behind Café Steam, Kathy’s Pub, and 318 Commons) in Downtown Rochester by integrating art and design installations into the space.