MN Chamber kicks off effort to retain state's businesses

ST. PAUL, MN: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has begun a statewide grassroots effort to keep businesses from leaving Minnesota. "It's a business-retention effort that's built on personal visits," explained Bill Blazar, SVP at the chamber.

ST. PAUL, MN: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has begun a statewide grassroots effort to keep businesses from leaving Minnesota. "It's a business-retention effort that's built on personal visits," explained Bill Blazar, SVP at the chamber.

"Grow Minnesota" represents the first time the chamber has focused on business retention. It normally focuses on lobbying with the state legislature and the governor.

The state chamber is working with 28 local chambers on the new effort, planning to visit 500 to 600 companies by September, said Blazar. "Our mission is to listen to them," Blazar said.

Grow Minnesota will thank company officials for providing jobs in Minnesota and helping their local economies. It will also ask what issues are important to the business owners. "We want to give them more reasons to stay and grow in Minnesota," said Blazar.

Local chambers have established advisory committees whose members are conducting the visits. Each chamber has at least a five-person committee, so more than 140 people will be involved in making visits. The state chamber will handle visits in parts of the state not covered by a participating local chamber.

The chamber expects to spend $250,000 to $300,000 on software and staff support to collect survey data from businesses visited, Blazar said.

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