Economic Development

Culturally Responsive Business Startup workshops

Small Business Develpment Center logo

No cost, no registration needed
Next session is 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023
Click here for more information

Meet the Small Business Development Center Crew/Q&A event

Meeting held remotely via Teams at
1:30-2 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 11, 2023
No RSVP required

  • Meet the crew
  • Hear about its confidential-no cost services
  • Find out who we serve and the areas we cover
  • Gain an understanding of how we are funded
  • Hear about our consulting steps with entrepreneurs
  • Ask questions

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Sage Glass building

Rice County

Rice County is a vibrant region that spans almost 500 square miles in south central Minnesota, just south of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The county is home to a number of historic towns that have kept and value their sense of tradition, but actively embrace the future through their desire to grow, and attract and retain a wide variety of quality businesses, industries and jobs.

Rice County, in partnership with its communities, works to foster an environment that welcomes economic development as a means to expand the tax base and create quality jobs, benefiting the county as a whole.

Key features

• Proximity to the Twin Cities and surrounding states – within 40 minutes of the Twin Cities/MSP Airport via Interstate 35, a major north-south connector. Several regional highways lead to Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, benefiting companies seeking a diverse labor supply, and a robust and efficient distribution network.
• Business environment – A pro-business culture seeks and embraces partnership opportunities to meet the needs of companies looking to grow.
• Taxes – Residential and commercial property taxes are among the lowest in the state, providing a competitive edge, helping facilitate development, and attracting business and families.
• Land – An ample supply of land ready for development offers businesses a variety of choices to suit their needs.


• Businesses located in Rice County have access to workers within the county’s boundaries as well as the surrounding area.
• 90% of residents commute 45 minutes or less.
• Its labor market offers companies a diverse set of worker skills and abilities.
• A healthy population and labor force is expected to grow at a faster pace than other surrounding areas, which will help small to medium sized, growth-minded businesses find and recruit the workers.
• Its workforce offers the opportunity to accommodate a new breed of local businesses, those with similar but different workforce needs than those of current employers.

Education and training

Rice County combines a strong business climate with solid educational opportunities. Two liberal arts colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton, are located in Northfield.

For specialized business training, there’s South Central College, a community and technical college in Faribault. Its Customized Workforce Education center serves more than 15,000 people a year, preparing them for a variety of jobs. A Minnesota CareerForce Center is also in Faribault.