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How Minnesota's economy depends on small businesses

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Minnesotans around the state owe their paychecks to small business owners. The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported that in 2016, 60 percent of private jobs in greater Minnesota were with businesses that employed fewer than 500 employees.

These businesses pay taxes and provide economic stability during even the worst economic times, according to DEED. Small businesses increased by 5 percent in spite of the Great Recession. They were a source of stability for rural parts of the state that saw large organizations shed workers. Now, though, small businesses need to keep up with wage growth if they want to continue to attract employees. 

There's also "brain drain" to contend with, as college-aged students leave rural parts of the state to go to school and start careers in urban centers. But they are coming back, and Greater Minnesota is gaining residents with more skills than the college-aged students who left.

Two guests joined host Angela Davis to talk about the challenges and opportunities for small business owners in rural parts of the state. Jeff Wig is the vice president of entrepreneurship for the Initiative Foundation, an organization that supports small businesses in Greater Minnesota. Adelle Starin is the owner of Baby's on Broadway, a Little Falls business that sells supplies for young children and their parents.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.