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FF seeing benefits from Angel Network [UPDATED]

Published 10:18am Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Updated 12:19pm Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It has been one year since Fergus Falls became a regional intake center for the Minnesota Angel Network, and representatives from the economic development group said the region has already benefited from the network.

The purpose of the Angel Network is to connect investors with entrepreneurs to increase Minnesota’s overall economic health. The network focuses on businesses based on emerging technology with high potential for success, executive director Todd Leonard said.

Fergus Falls is one of four intake centers in Minnesota, and Leonard said there was a reason the network chose this region.

“We view the resources here in the city and region as very business friendly for high tech companies,” he said.

Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission Executive Director Harold Stanislawski said the network will encourage businesses to visit Fergus Falls and consider moving to the region.

In a 50-mile radius of Fergus Falls, there are 7,000 higher education graduates, Stanislawski said.

“That’s a pretty good crop,” he said. “We have all the talent we need here. We just need to give them landing spots.”

In its first year, the network has found one investor in the region, but Leonard and Stanislawski are hopeful there will be more soon.

The network uses a rigorous program to weed out all but the best candidates for investors. Throughout the state, the network has received 84 applicants. Twenty-six were allowed into the program, and only 17 businesses have been certified.

Twelve of the certified businesses have already received funding, and 13 have looked at Fergus Falls as a place to land, Leonard said.

Stanislawski said investments made in a company are not only looked at as financial commitments, but business commitments as well. When businesses connect to Fergus Falls, they are more likely to consider moving to the area.

“We’re a state that has to pull together in economic development and job creation,” Leonard said. “It’s important for us to take a leadership position and expose ourselves to emerging companies. That’s how we’re going to set a good foundation for the future.”

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