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Iron Range entrepreneur efforts get $100,000 grant

Iron Range entrepreneurship just got a $100,000 boost from a federal grant. The money will go toward the new Iron Range Makerspace in Hibbing, set to open in June, as well as the Iron Range Entrepreneurship Center starting up later this month. "T...

Iron Range entrepreneurship just got a $100,000 boost from a federal grant.

The money will go toward the new Iron Range Makerspace in Hibbing, set to open in June, as well as the Iron Range Entrepreneurship Center starting up later this month.

“There is much being said about iron communities, but not enough is being done,” University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development Director Elaine Hansen said in a press release. “This important partnership is dedicated to finding solutions for those people and places that bear the brunt of changes in the iron economy.”

UMD CED announced Monday it received the grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center. This is the first time the Portable Assistance Project grant, as it is called, has been awarded in Minnesota.

The makerspace in Hibbing will provide tools, equipment and space for local entrepreneurs, business owners and crafters for a monthly membership fee - similar to the Duluth MakerSpace at 3001 W. Superior St.

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The Iron Range Makerspace “will provide a service to the community in the form of a co-working/business incubation space with access to equipment and shared ideas,” according the space’s website. “The initial offerings intended are an automotive bay, wood shop, 3D printing area and laser engraving area.”

The entrepreneurship center, or IREC, will focus on training and consulting to grow businesses and host events. The center is still looking for folks to join and is hosting an open house from 5-7 p.m. April 27 at 704 W. 41st St. in Hibbing.

The grant also makes possible the second annual Incredible Ely Small Business Conference this fall.

Related Topics: IRON RANGEHIBBINGELY
Brooks Johnson was an enterprise/investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune from 2016 to 2019.
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