GrowingMinneapolis: News from City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development

Growing MPLS

November 2015

Upcoming Events

Charlie Awards

Sunday, November 15
Location varies

Prices vary from $25-$125 per person.

The Charlie Awards is an annual event that celebrates the exceptional contributions of the Twin Cities area restaurant, food and beverage industry.
Purchase a Ticket
More Information

Lake Street Bash

Thursday, November 19
El Nuevo Rodeo,
3rd Floor Ballroom
3003 27th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55406

$30 per person

An annual fundraiser by the Lake Street Council with food, wine, music, and a silent auction.
More Information

10th Annual MN Green Gifts Fair

Saturday, November 21 10am-5pm
Midtown Global Market
920 East Lake Street #G10
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Over 80 local artists and over 15 demo booths will be present. Event is free and open to the public. Family friendly!
More Information

Northside Holiday Boutique

Nov. 23 to Dec. 23
Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm
RBC Plaza, skyway level across from Ameriprise
60 South 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

This winter, the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition is presenting a holiday pop up boutique in the downtown skyway!
More Information

Holidazzle in Loring Park

Nov. 27 to Dec. 20
Loring Park
1382 Willow Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Due to the remodeling of Nicollet Mall, Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park! A community gathering place, the 2015 Holidazzle will offer free family-friendly programming. Features include local food and beverage vendors, artisan booths, entertainment, and fireworks.

The opening ceremony will begin at 6:30pm on Nov. 27 featuring a performance form Holidazzle regular MN Chorale and a fireworks display. The festival is open 5pm-9pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 11am-9pm on weekends.
More Information

2015 Minneapolis Food Council Open House

Thursday, December 3
Minneapolis Public Schools, Davis Center
1250 West Broadway Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55411

Please join the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council in celebrating another year of growing, processing, distributing, eating and composting healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods.
Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.
Registration Link
More Information


Twin Cities Declared “The Best Place to Live” in the United States

When it comes to "Best of" lists, Minneapolis-St. Paul has routinely appeared in rankings of things like parks, eats and jobs. Patch of Earth combined seven listings and created the “Absolute Top Cities”, and its official, Minneapolis/St. Paul is the best place to live in the U.S. Read More

Minneapolis Ranks Among Top Cities for Women-Owned Businesses

The Minneapolis metro remains one of the top U.S. cities for women entrepreneurs, according to the latest ranking from personal finance site NerdWallet. The top 10 cities for women entrepreneurs are:

  1. Boulder, CO
  2. Bridgeport, CT
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Santa Cruz, CA
  5. Santa Rosa, CA
  6. San Luis Obispo, CA
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Minneapolis, MN
  9. Portland, ME
  10. Fort Collins, CO

Read More

Minneapolis Hailed as Minnesota's First
“Age-Friendly” City

The population of people 50 and older living in Minneapolis keeps going up — from 77,728 in 2000 to 97,918 in 2013. Statistics like that have encouraged the city’s efforts to be more amenable to the needs of older folks; AARP recently designated Minneapolis as the first “age-friendly” community in Minnesota. Read More

Mayor Hodges Kicks off Energy Challenge

Mayor Betsy Hodges kicked off an energy challenge for the city’s largest commercial buildings and recently honored high performers in energy efficiency. The challenge encourages buildings to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2020 through energy efficiency improvements and increased reliance on renewable energy. Buildings larger than 50,000 square feet are eligible to participate in the challenge. Read More

Cities' Newest Flea Market Comes to North Minneapolis

Minneapolis’ newest flea market, the Northside Treasures Bazaar, is hosted by the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition. This is the third Minneapolis flea market to be held in 60 years, and comes after the city lifted a longstanding ban on the attractions two years ago. Read More

Greater MSP Launches New Campaign 

Greater MSP, the economic development organization charged with attracting employers to the region, launched a new campaign called Make It MSP. Make It MSP is designed to attract and retain talent in the 16-county metro area and to improve the experience of workers who are transplanted to the Twin Cities. Read More

New & Expanding Businesses






Contact CPED

612-673-5001 or 311
Staff Directory

Crown Roller Mill
Executive Administration
105 Fifth Avenue South
Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Public Service Center
Development Review
Customer Service Center
250 South Fourth Street
Room 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Map and Parking

City Hall
Business Licensing
350 South 5th Street
Room 1C
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Business Profile: K'ul Chocolate

K'ul collage
Inside K'ul Chocolate, one of only 140 bean-to-bar chocolatiers in the US

While people usually think of chocolate as candy, Peter Kelsey, owner of K’ul Chocolate, is presenting chocolate in a new light: chocolate as a superfood. Frustrated by the unappetizing selection of energy bars, Peter wanted something different. He noticed that dark chocolate’s low glycemic index and balance of fats and carbohydrates would make it a delicious, natural alternative to traditional energy bars. With that, he decided to make his own, adding ingredients to his bars like pomegranate and pumpkin seeds, and in August 2015, opened K’ul Chocolate.

K’ul (pronounced “cool”) is the Mayan word for energy. Located in the Seward neighborhood in Peter’s old karate studio (2211 E Franklin Ave), K’ul is one of only 140 bean-to-bar chocolatiers in the United States. Bean-to-bar means that everything, from roasting the cocoa beans to final packaging, is completed in-house, a process which required some licensing changes from the City to allow the combination of an artisanal manufacturing facility within a retail business. Currently, K’ul is roasting cocoa beans once a week, which are sourced mainly from South America. Peter and his team also visit most of the farms K’ul sources from to ensure they are both socially and environmentally responsible.

In addition to the Seward retail location , K’ul chocolate bars can be purchased in retail outlets that serve a variety of clientele, including Peace Coffee, Midwest Mountaineering and East Side Food Co-op.  Looking to the future, Peter is considering creating a “chocolate café,” where customers can choose their own ingredients and create customized chocolate bars.  

City and Partners Solve Computer Problems for Over 390 Minneapolis Residents through Fix-It Tech Events

FixIt Tech events served over 390 customers in 2015

In a world where computers are a necessity, computer malfunctions can be frustrating and costly to repair. To help people learn how to handle their slow or failing computers, the City of Minneapolis has coordinated nine Fix-It Tech Events over the last year, serving 392 customers. The events were developed in response to the 2014 Minneapolis Community Technology Survey results, which showed that residents were not comfortable troubleshooting their computers, installing software and backing up files. At Fix-It Tech events, volunteers are available to teach repair skills and give technical advice about devices. Additionally, there are free workshops and resources covering basic computer maintenance and Internet safety.

Fix-It Tech events have goals to increase community education by offering free computer hardware repair, education, and tech support. The events also aim to develop the IT workforce, giving IT students real-world experience in tech support and connecting them with residents in need of support. They have been hosted throughout Minneapolis, in locations including EMERGE, the Takoda Institute, and the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC).  The next event is on Saturday, November 21, from 10 am – 1 pm. For more information, click here

NEON to Bring Much Needed Co-Working Space to North Minneapolis

NEON Collage
Construction progress of the new Business Incubator space at 1011 West Broadway Avenue North

Responding to the need for more shared and private co-working spaces in North Minneapolis, NEON (Northside Economic Opportunity Network) will open a new “business incubator” in January 2016. Located in former Hennepin County offices at 1011 West Broadway Avenue North, the building is undergoing a massive renovation. With goals to support new and existing businesses, solopreneurs, and the general public in North Minneapolis, the Business Incubator is an ideal space for anyone looking to get things done in a supportive environment.  NEON also plans to use the space to ramp up their current office support and mentorship programs, many of which are supported by the City’s B-TAP, or Business Technical Assistance Program.

Approximately 5,000 square feet, the business incubator will have two permanent offices, one retail space, three conference rooms, and private, semi-private and open office spaces, which many businesses have already expressed interest  in. They are also planning on making a “cater-to-go” component, where local food businesses can create lunch boxes to be sold in the incubator space.

NEON is hoping that businesses using the space will feed off of each other’s entrepreneurial spirit, using the facility to fuel business development and providing a catalyst for businesses to eventually grow into their own office spaces. By creating opportunities for businesses to start in North Minneapolis, NEON hopes the business incubator starts a movement, bringing fresh businesses to the area and fueling the economic development of North Minneapolis.

If you are interested in learning more about the space, visit the NEON Incubator website

IT-Ready Creates Direct Pathways to Tech Career Success

Victor Chege
Victor Chege, IT-Ready graduate working at the City of Minneapolis as a New Service Desk Agent

Founded in the Twin Cities in 2012, IT-Ready  is a free, eight-week IT education, training, and career placement program created to support the increasing need for IT workers while bringing more employment opportunities, with a focus on workers who are displaced, at-risk for poverty, women, and minorities. The program emphasizes both technical (system installation, computer networking, and troubleshooting) and professional (critical thinking, teamwork, and communication) skills.

Since its launch, IT-Ready has seen great success: 95 percent of graduates earn CompTIA A+ certification, with 80 percent receiving IT jobs upon completion of the course. IT-Ready alumnus Victor Chege is one of those success stories. An immigrant from Kenya with an IT background, Victor had a difficult time getting his foot in the door for an IT job in the US. He began taking up cleaning jobs, however, he refused to give up a career in IT. When he learned of IT-Ready, he thought it was too good to be true, but decided to go with his gut and apply anyway. He ended up graduating at the top of his class and is now employed by the City of Minneapolis as a New Service Desk Agent. An extremely driven person and hard worker, Victor is already pursing additional IT training and certifications.

IT-Ready is one of three IT training programs participating in TechHire, an initiative that is creating public-private partnerships to prepare workers for technology jobs. Learn more about TechHire here.

Inside Industry Event Connects Jobseekers to Health Care and STEM Careers

On October 22, 2015, the City of Minneapolis in partnership with MnSCU Community and Technical Colleges Career Services hosted “Inside Industry,” a targeted career development and job fair event focused on giving students and jobseekers an inside look into the health care and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions.

The event offered presentations from industry professionals, interactive career advancement sessions, and networking opportunities with health care and STEM hiring managers.

Representatives from MnSCU colleges were available throughout the day to answer questions regarding their individual health care and STEM programs.

MnSCU students, job seekers from area Workforce Centers, and the general public networked with thirty exhibiting companies and ten MnSCU colleges. Many job seekers reported securing job leads and job offers, or scheduling interviews with hiring managers.

Funding for the event was provided by Hennepin County and City of Minneapolis.

HIRED TeenHope Graduate Success is No Surprise

HIRED Counselor Suzanne with TeenHOPE and PACE graduate Tatiyona

At only 19-years-old, Tatiyona Williams navigated homelessness, moved to Minneapolis, and started college – all while raising two kids.

Upon arriving in Minneapolis, Tatiyona enrolled at Broadway High School, which helps pregnant and parenting teens earn their diplomas and prepare for college. Through the school she was introduced to Emily and Suzanne, counselors in HIRED’s TeenHOPE and PACE programs. TeenHOPE is a collaboration between HIRED and the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency that provides education, employment and parenting assistance to young women.  Thanks to the support she received, Tatiyona graduated from high school in less than six months.

To help her gain work experience, Suzanne suggested that Tatiyona complete an internship at Cookie Cart. Within two months, she was offered a permanent position at the bakery where she frequently mentors younger teens.

Today, Tatiyona is taking classes at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and plans to follow a career path in special education.

City of Minneapolis Employment and Training has received funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to support the work experience opportunities in this program.

Read the whole story here.

Over 330 Register for the City's Minority- and Women Owned Business Opportunities Fair

Minority- and women- business entreprenuers in attendence at the Business Opportunities Fair interacting with City departments and local nonprofit economic development service providers

On October 29, the City of Minneapolis, through its Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP), hosted a first-of-its-kind Business Opportunities Fair designed to increase contractual opportunities between women- and minority-owned vendors and the City. The fair was just one of the efforts toward achieving the City’s 25 percent inclusion goal set by the City Council in 2010.

The Opportunities Fair took place at the Profile Event Center on University Ave and had over 338 registered participants from different industries and ethnic backgrounds. The program included a presentation for purchasing opportunities from seven department leaders including CPED, Human Resources, IT, Convention Center, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation. Additionally the program included a 3-module training about how to do business with the City provided by Procurement, Civil Rights, and CPED. The event included networking time where businesses were able to talk with City staff and community partners including B-TAP providers who are able to help small and medium sized women- and minority- owned businesses become certified at no cost.  The Business Opportunities Fair presentations are available online and a series of B-TAP+ videos that explain City processes like Procurement, Business Development, Development Review, Business Licensing and more will be available to help business owners better navigate City processes.

Attend the 2015 Homegrown Minneapolis Open House

Homegrown Minneapolis Collage
The Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council works to increase access to land in the City for urban farmers and community gardeners.

You are invited to join the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council in celebrating another year of growing, processing, distributing, eating and composting healthy, sustainable and locally grown food. The Homegrown Minneapolis Open House will present resources and opportunities for eating and producing local food, updates on progress made in improving Minneapolis’ local food systems as well as opportunities to share your food system priorities for 2016.

Formed in 2012, the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council is permanent body for the City of Minneapolis to serve as a nexus of citywide food related efforts. 

The purpose of the 25 member Food Council is to:

  • Advise the Mayor, City Council, and Park Board on food system related opportunities and challenges;
  • Develop innovative policies and strategies to improve the growing, processing, promotion, distribution, consumption and composting of healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods in Minneapolis;
  • Provide technical expertise and recommendations in the ongoing development of the City’s Local Food sustainability targets;
  • Advance the food system in directions that are health promoting, environmentally sustainable, local resilient, inclusive, equitable, fair and transparent;
  • Assist in development, implementation, and evaluation of Homegrown Minneapolis recommendations; and, where necessary, convene additional expertise to innovate around challenges;
  • Support, participate and provide leadership in development of regional food system work;
  • Assist with opportunities to celebrate food and its role in strengthening the connections of Minneapolis’ many communities and cultures. 

The Open House will occur from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 with registration starting at 6:00 pm in the Minneapolis Public Schools Davis Center at 1250 W. Broadway Ave. The event is free and reservations are encouraged but not required. Light refreshments will be served, incorporating local food and inspired by the Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary & Nutrition team and True Food Chef Council.

The Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council is a City-Community partnership. Find more information here about the event and Homegrown Minneapolis.

Governor Dayton Creates New Office of Career and Business Opportunity

Governor Mark Dayton announced that he will create a new Office of Career and Business Opportunity to be housed at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The Office will provide leadership to help workers and businesses of color find career paths and business opportunities in Minnesota.

“This is a first and important step in addressing the troubling economic disparities facing people of color in Minnesota,” Dayton said in an October 11th press release.

To ensure that the mission of the Office is a high priority for DEED and the Dayton Administration, it will be led by a director and overseen by a senior level staff member who will be a member of the Commissioner’s senior leadership team.

Governor Dayton’s announcement follows a U.S. Census Bureau report that highlighted economic disparities facing Minnesotans of color. Minnesota currently ranks 45th in the nation in median African-American household income and nearly 40 percent of African-American children in Minnesota live in poverty.

Click here to see Governors' press release.