The Business Pivot, a blog series from Destination Medical Center (DMC), features local small businesses that are pivoting not just to survive, but to thrive in the current economic environment. These businesses are helping Southeast Minnesota continue to access products and services while also making a difference in the community.
Chris Blade has been with the Post Bulletin for 20 years. She served as General Manager for 7 ½ years before being named publisher in June of 2019 when Forum Communications purchased the newspaper. The Post Bulletin is working to become a “next-generation” multimedia company developing and delivering content, technology and business services to the communities it serves. With over 500,000 visitors to postbulletin.com each month, the publication is also focusing on bringing content and advertising online. It’s also adding a meteorology team, and a weather app due to launch this spring.
The following is a list of resources for businesses, opportunities for the community to help others, and helpful services during the COVID-19 response. Destination Medical Center will continue to update this list.
Endless adventures await throughout Southeast Minnesota. You just need to be able to find them.
That’s where Shrpa comes in. Rochester residents Chris Lukenbill and Andy Vig created the online resource to share ideas for local activities.
“There were so many things to do that we were finding out about in Rochester through other people’s adventures and expeditions,” said Lukenbill. “They were discovering new things that we had never known about.”
“You can usually do the research by looking up Yelp, Google, talking to people, trying to aggregate all this yourself, but that’s so much work,” Vig said. “I’ve got two young kids, Chris has two slightly older kids, and there’s just no time in the day for that.”
Mortenson has submitted plans with the City of Rochester for a new development – Two Discovery Square – adjacent to its One Discovery Square life science building in downtown Rochester, MN. This news comes as global tenants continue to be announced in One Discovery Square, including most recently, Philips and Boston Scientific.
The proposed five-story, 124,000 square foot building furthers Mortenson’s bioscience, research and collaboration vision within the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square subdistrict.
“One Discovery Square, highlighted by a number of recently communicated tenant announcements, has been a terrific success,” said Brent Webb, Mortenson Development Manager. “For that reason, we remain bullish on the future of the Discovery Square subdistrict. The Site Development Plan we submitted is evidence of that optimism and confidence, and it will be a positive step toward advancing the project once approved.”
“One Discovery Square is a great example of the DMC plan playing out in a very successful way – as a catalyst and economic generator to attract new businesses and jobs,” said Lisa Clarke, DMC Economic Development Agency executive director. “This success compels new developments in the Discovery Square subdistrict. We look forward to these discussions as Discovery Square continues to grow.”
Mortenson will share its vision for Two Discovery Square with the DMC Corporation board of directors at its September 26 meeting.
The new INCubatoredu program will help students develop ideas from concept to pitch.
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). 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.
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.
In his role as executive director of the Rochester Area Builders, John Eischen is dedicated to supporting and promoting regional building, construction, and design. He is a Rochester native, an award-winning home brewer (he is the founder of “Golden Child Brewery”), and an advocate for encouraging more young people to pursue the viable and lucrative career opportunities that exist in the building industry.
DMC reached out to Eischen to learn more about the purpose of the Rochester Area Builders and the impact he is already seeing DMC make in Rochester.
Ranked as one of the Top Ten Cities for Entrepreneurs by Livability in 2018, Rochester is not a stranger to innovation. Spark DJ is a Rochester-based music streaming service co-founded by John Boss and James Jones. The duo utilizes artificial intelligence to power their Spark DJ mobile application and deliver personalized music directly to smartphones nationwide, offering users a musical experience tailored specifically to their preferences. Spark DJ was recently selected as one of only ten startups to participate in the 2018 Techstars Music Class.
DMC recently connected with co-founder John Boss to find out more about the business and why Rochester is a great place to launch a startup of your own.