Start or Grow a Business
Open 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.
Email Tyler Hilsabeck
What Open to Business Offers
- Financial Assistance: Loan Packaging / Facilitation
- Loans for New & Emerging Businesses
- Loans for Second Stage & Growing Businesses
- Real Estate Participation Loans
- Real Estate Acquisition Financing
- Transactional Financing
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.
Direct loans from MCCD for a variety of business purposes, including:
- Asset and equipment purchases
- Start-up costs
- Working capital
Typical loan terms of three to five years, loan sizes up to $25,000 for retail/service businesses, or $50,000 for manufacturing businesses. This program is targeted at start-up early-stage businesses that cannot secure financing from traditional commercial lenders.
Direct loans from MCCD aimed for a variety of business purposes, including:
- Asset and equipment purchases
- Working capital
Loans are done by participating with a bank or other lender, with rate and size determined on a case-by-case basis.
MCCD loans in partnership with private lenders to provide gap financing for real estate acquisition projects - including projects financed through the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 program. MCCDs rate is affordable and MCCD will offer up to 10 years (though amortization may be longer).
MCCD, in partnership with private lenders, provides permanent term financing for commercial real estate acquisition-up to 90% of the property's appraised value. MCCD will provide up to 40% of the appraised value, with the bank providing 50% and holding first secured position. MCCDs rate is affordable and MCCD will offer terms up to 10 years (through amortizations may be longer).
Short-term MCCD loans, for businesses whose cash flow cycle inhibits them from making regular monthly loan payments. Transactional loans are often used by construction contractors who have received or about to receive a construction contract with a community agency. MCCD can provide up-front financing to cover the cost of labor and material associated with the contract.
When the work on the contract is completed, the contracting agency issues a two-party check to cover the completed work, payable to MCCD, and to the contractor. Larger loans are also available for businesses with performance bonds and escrow payment arrangements.
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:
- Business planning
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.
Small Business Development Center Director
Call Diane at 651-962-4503 (w) or 651-895-9350 (c)