Start or Grow a Business

Open to BusinessOpen to Business

Thinking about starting a new business or expanding an existing one? Test your idea through a free, confidential consultation with an experienced business advisor. The Open to Business Program is being offered by the Washington County CDA and is available for free to all residents in Washington County. With the Open to Business Program, small business owners and entrepreneurs can receive one-on-one business consultation services and other assistance to help develop your business ideas.

Open to Business Advisor Tyler Hilsabeck has office hours at Cottage Grove City Hall the first Wednesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cannon Room located next to the front desk at City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway S. Entrepreneurs please call or email Tyler in advance to make an appointment. If these days and times do not work, contact Tyler to schedule a time to meet.

Tyler Hilsabeck
Phone: 612-789-8838
Email Tyler Hilsabeck

What Open to Business Offers

  1. Financial Assistance: Loan Packaging / Facilitation
  2. Loans for New & Emerging Businesses
  3. Loans for Second Stage & Growing Businesses
  4. Real Estate Participation Loans
  5. Real Estate Acquisition Financing
  6. Transactional Financing
  7. Interested?


Cottage Grove Economic Development Staff, along with the MCCD staff, can assist potential borrowers with the preparation of business plans, cash flow, and other financial projections and loan application materials.

Our staff can assist entrepreneurs in identifying borrowing needs and accessing community lending programs that provide favorable terms and conditions for small business borrowers. We work with our clients to help them find the financing that best meets their own unique needs.

Americas Small Business Development Center (SBDC)Twin Cities Small Business Development Center

The Twin Cities Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides confidential business consulting services at no charge to help established businesses and startups develop strategies to attract customers, increase sales, and improve profitability. All of their professional consultants have owned or still own small businesses and they have practical experience in areas such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business planning
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Most have been business owners themselves and have advanced degrees.


The SBDC is funded by the University of St. Thomas, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis and may be limited by ongoing demand for services.

Schulze School of Entrepreneurship

The Twin Cities SBDC is part of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Since its inception in 1981, it has assisted more than 10,000 businesses and entrepreneurs. Now in its fourth decade of operation, the SBDC continues to fulfill its mission of helping Twin Cities entrepreneurial companies grow and prosper.


Diane Paterson
Small Business Development Center Director 
Email Diane
Call Diane at 651-962-4503 (w) or 651-895-9350 (c)