New DEED Automation Funds Program to Bring More Robots to Minnesota's Economy - Brainerd Dispatch

New DEED Automation Funds Program to Bring More Robots to Minnesota’s Economy – Brainerd Dispatch

Street. Paul — The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced a new program to support automation at manufacturers, the latest component of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Government Small Business Credit Initiative, $97 million


as part of

Automated Loan Participation Program

DEED will provide accompanying loans to cover financing gaps and expand financing opportunities for companies that purchase machinery, equipment, or software to increase productivity and automation.

“Faced with the narrowest labor market in America, we know Minnesota companies cannot create a larger workforce out of thin air,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Automation should be the key strategy — which is why DEED’s new Automation Loan Participation Program will help manufacturers automate faster to drive innovation and productivity gains that will help our economy grow.”

DEED searching for applicants now

DEED loans through the new program can be up to $500,000 in value and must be made in conjunction with private financing.

Submissions are now open


The new program is designed to support manufacturing, distribution, technology and warehousing businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Historically, these companies have been less likely to pursue automation and will likely be unable to secure full funding for automation improvements from other lenders. Full terms and requirements are available at

DEED website


The new loan program joins other DEED initiatives to help manufacturers implement automation. DEED’s

Automation training incentive program

Offers grants to small businesses for the purpose of training existing workers in new automation technology. Grants of up to $35,000 are available to small businesses in the manufacturing or skilled production industry to train workers as quickly and effectively as possible in new automation technology.

DEED staff will host an informational webinar about the new program at 9; 30 a.m. on Thursday, December 1 at


5 of the 6 SSBCI programs have been announced

The U.S. Treasury Department has approved the state of Minnesota for up to $97 million in small business financing support, allowing DEED to fulfill its commitment to helping small businesses grow and succeed.

The Automated Loan Participation Program is the fifth of six programs announced so far as part of the new initiative. Other programs include:

  • The

    growth loan fund

    providing direct loans to innovative and innovative early-stage technology companies;

  • The

    Minnesota loan guarantee program

    Provide loan guarantees of 80% for eligible loans offered by registered enterprises; And the

  • The

    Direct investment and multi-fund investment programs

    two venture capital programs offered by the University of Minnesota that invest in upstream businesses based in Minnesota in the areas of advanced manufacturing, agricultural technology/food technology, climate technology, life sciences, software, and technology.

Bring it all together: a new online small business hub

To help small businesses and startups navigate these new programs and understand the breadth of DEED’s existing resources for small businesses, the agency recently launched a new online program

Small Business Center

. The Hub is designed to help entrepreneurs navigate agency resources to start and grow their businesses. It provides resources and expertise for small business owners looking to get off the ground in Minnesota, along with a comprehensive list of DEED program offerings to help entrepreneurs thrive.

can be found at


Creating a one-stop-shop resource was one of my recommendations

Governor’s Council for Economic Expansion

, who called for an increased focus from the agency to help small business growth. This recommendation will remain a key priority for Walz-Flanagan management across the organization.

For more information about the initiative, visit

SSCBI Treasury Page


Learn more at DEED


About the State’s Small Business Credit Initiative

The initiative was part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and included $10 billion for state, territory and tribal business financing programs. This is the second initiative – Minnesota received $15 million through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

The European Economic Development Agency (DEED) is the state’s principal economic development agency, working to promote business employment, expansion, employee retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit

DEED website

or the


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