The state's economic development agency is rolling out a new campaign promoting what Minnesota has to offer beyond its famous lakes, hoping to lure more businesses and workers to relocate here.
The effort comes at a time when Minnesota, like many other states, is facing a workforce shortage. In addition, there's a lot of competition to lure companies and workers, the latter of which increasingly have more flexibility to live anywhere as more employers have embraced remote or hybrid work.
"Welcome to Minnesota, the problem-solving capital of America," JoinUsMn.com says on its homepage, which was launched Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). "From newborn startups to Fortune 500s, we build what matters in Minnesota."
The site boasts many of Minnesota's high rankings, such as the Twin Cities having the most Fortune 500 companies per capita and the state having the best five-year business survival rate in the country.
It also provides a list of grants, loan programs, other incentives and resources in the state for startups, small businesses, and larger businesses looking to relocate or expand here.
At the same time, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove acknowledged that the biggest thing Minnesota has become known for in the last year and a half is the police murder of George Floyd, which has shone a big spotlight on some of the large racial disparities in the state.
To address that issue, the website also includes a section on inclusive growth, which lists some of the commitments that state government, businesses and other organizations in Minnesota have made toward racial equity.
"Part of our message here is not to ignore that, but to say look, we're at a point where Minnesota is leaning in to doing better on this front in a whole host of ways," Grove said. "We want to address the moment we're in with honesty and let people take it from there."
The website, which was spearheaded and funded by DEED with the support of other business and economic development partners such as the Minnesota Marketing Partnership, has been in the works for about a year.
Over the years, there have been similar but shorter-lived campaigns promoting the state as a good place to do business under taglines such as "Positively Minnesota" and "Thriving in the North."
Grove said this is aimed at being a longer-lasting, more prominent effort with a permanent website that will hopefully become a central landing spot for business and workers thinking about coming to Minnesota.
Some states, he added, spend millions of dollars on marketing their state. Minnesota hasn't traditionally done that. For that matter, he noted that DEED doesn't have a big marketing budget, but it did have some resources at its disposal to fund and put together the site.
"It's not a time where you can afford to be complacent or be sort of Minnesota humble, if you will," he said. "We've got to be a little more comfortable promoting ourselves. We can do that in a Minnesota way, but we've got to be a little bit louder about this state at a time when there's so much competition."
It's a unique time in the economy when some industries are rebounding quickly coming out of the pandemic and others are shifting in various ways. The pandemic has also led businesses and workers alike to reconsider how and where they work as well as what they want to do.
"People are rethinking where they want to live and where they want to be," Grove said. "We think Minnesota is an incredibly attractive place to come and live when you have that kind of optionality."