The Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website which coincides with our strategic initiative to cast a wider net, capture the strength of our collective voices, and provide new programming opportunities in 2019.
Our new website provides a clear message of who we are, what we stand for and where our value lies when serving members through events, advocacy, economic development, resources, and leadership development. The website also boasts a clean design and intuitive and consistent site-wide navigation system with improved menu functionality. It is also fully responsive with mobile devices, making it easy to navigate on a wide range of web browsers and portable devices.
We will continue to communicate regularly through our Chamber Events Calendar and share what is happening on our Chamber News and Blog pages. We also plan to continue adding more video content to provide you with the information you need.
We’re really proud of the new website and feel it will create the experience you’re looking for when you pay us a visit. Check out the new website here: www.saintpaulchamber.com.
It’s that time of the year again, holidays. The last of the leaves are falling, the garden needs cleaning up, the neighbors are setting up holiday decorations, and friends and families are sending out holiday invitations. Maybe you’ll be hosting a holiday party or joining one. As many go into this season let’s have a less wasteful holiday.
Recycling Yard Waste and Organics
All of the metropolitan counties offer recycling for yard waste and organics. It’s a way to keep more waste out of the landfill. Recycling yard waste and organics are great compost soil for the coming years. The compost is free and can be used for home gardening. Consider recycling more to reduce the waste in your household by hauling your organics to your local county yard waste and organics site. Here a few things to consider for recycling:
See the table below if your county is listed and see what recycling services they offer. Make sure to visit your local county website to view their services and assistance for residential and commercial.
County Business Assistance
Gifts and Presents:
Here are a few tips you can do this season to reduce, reuse, and save money!
Less Wasteful Meals
Here are a few tips to ensure you have a less wasteful holiday feast:
The Christmas Tree
It’s that time of the year where many start planning Christmas Tree décor. Below are some ideas when you’re planning on setting up your tree! Whatever setup you end up with, there’s room to opt for a less wasteful holiday.
Real Christmas Tree – consider hanging compostable ornaments and don’t forget to dispose of your real tree properly. Click below for your county website yard/organics recycling program.
Artificial Christmas Tree – the great thing about artificial trees is that they last for many years! So that saves you from tossing it out. You can craft your own or buy ornaments that are compostable.
Artificial Wall Christmas Tree – this is a great option if you are conscious of space. You can be creative and make your own wall Christmas tree or buy a half artificial Christmas tree.
Of course there are plenty more ways on how to have a less wasteful holiday season. From recycling yard and organic waste to planning food for gatherings the list goes on. You can make small steps and adjustments this holiday to make an impact on reducing waste. Happy holidays!
Join the SPACC Equity group on LinkedIn to stay connected to your equity community!
Guest blog post by Margaret Anderson Kelliher, President and CEO, Minnesota High Tech Association
The entrepreneur economy is exploding in the Midwest and our companies are developing leading-edge technologies. The 2018 Minnesota Venture Conference on Nov. 7 offers a day of insights, from investment experts and startup founders, into this thriving sector. For anyone whose business depends on tech innovations – which these days is all of us – it’s critical to keep up with where tech innovations are heading.
Some of the signs of exponential entrepreneur growth: Minnesota has added more than 500 tech startups since 2015 and coworking space in the Twin Cities has quadrupled in just two years, according to tech editor Brad Anderson at ReadWrite. The Forbes’ survey of 2018 Top 10 rising cities for startups has Columbus, Ohio, at No. 1 and includes St. Louis, Cincinnati and, of course, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The power of the Midwest entrepreneur economy is demonstrated in the investors, experts and entrepreneurs gathering for the Minnesota Venture Conference. The presenters are coming from across the Midwest, from Chicago and Columbus, Madison to Minneapolis, and more.
This year’s conference is focusing on three hot tech topics: AI/data analytics, blockchain and cybersecurity.
On the investor side, we have a lineup of national experts. Russ Felker, of Chicago-based West Monroe Partners and an expert in blockchain, will present his view on how business is already being transformed by “auditability” of activities from the sale of hard goods, medical credentialing, energy usage and more. Gene Munster, managing partner of Chicago-based Loup Ventures, will talk on how work and commerce are impacted by AI and robotics, how communication and even the brain is changing from the impact of these technologies.
The entrepreneurs pitching at the conference represent leading-edge innovators, with new business models, new technologies and new ways of applying technology. One example is Sharenomy, a Michigan-based fin-tech startup, which is using blockchain to develop a new platform for shared funding and saving that helps micro businesses and small businesses have improved access to capital. Another fin-tech startup, Silicon Prairie Portal & Exchange, has a new platform for crowdfunding of entrepreneurs and business owners. Big Wheelbarrow and TraIve have innovations to transform agriculture. DataChat, a spin-off of UW-Madison, has patented technology to analyze business conversations and turn them into valuable actionable insights.
I encourage you to take a closer look at what the MN Venture Conference has to offer. More info can be found at MnVenture.org. And I hope you will join me for a day of insights on Wednesday, November 7.
Post by B Kyle, President/CEO
Nashville… if you ever want to travel – but still feel like you’re home – head to Nashville!
We just returned from our annual Intercity Leadership Visit (ICLV) trip with about 95 others looking to explore a new city and get to know one another just a little bit better along the way. What a special time we had.
Nashville, for starters, feels so much like home. A walkable downtown with a river running through it, up-and-coming while still not quite sure how to be a “grown-up city”
My impressions come in phrases, scattered images:
Doesn’t it sound like home? Our hosts in Nashville were remarkably candid about the challenges they’ve faced with transit, struggles with equity and disparity… elevated and encouraged us at the same time. And during our three days we spent really good time with our fellow leaders from around the Twin Cities we tasted the Nashville music life, caught a Wild game (they were playing Nashville while we we were there!), and got to know one another better.
This was my first trip, but I already look forward to next year. Be sure to join us if you can!
Guest blog post by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota
From our crazy cold winters to Tater Tot Hotdish - Minnesota is known for a variety of things. But if you were posed with the question, “What comes to your mind when you think about Minnesota?” we bet clean energy wouldn’t be at the top of your list. But according to the recently released Clean Jobs Midwest Report, here’s why it should be: three reasons why Minnesota’s booming clean energy economy should be a point of Minnesota pride.
Fast-growing jobs with above-average wages
In 2017, clean energy jobs grew twice as fast as overall job growth in Minnesota, and now employ more than 59,000 Minnesotans. Not only that, but clean energy employers are projecting to add more than 2,600 jobs in the next year – that’s a growth rate of 4.6 percent. This means that clean energy is quickly and consistently adding jobs to Minnesota’s economy - and the wages are far from minimum. The average wage for a job in the clean energy industry in Minnesota is $71,000, that’s 42 percent higher than the statewide average. Clean energy is working hard for Minnesotans, providing an increasing amount of jobs with competitive wages; who wouldn’t want to brag about that?
Major money back in your pocket
While clean energy offers a plethora of employment opportunities, it simultaneously works to put money back in Minnesotans’ pockets. Energy efficiency, our largest clean energy sector with some 44,000 jobs, is adding jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the Midwest.
Minnesota is assisted in these jobs gains by having long-standing energy policies that prioritize efficiency in our utilities long-range planning. In fact, one of Minnesota’s most successful energy policies, called the Conservation Improvement Program (or CIP) has helped save Minnesotans $6 billion since 1998. For every public dollar spent on the program, it returns $4 dollars in economic benefits.
We think all Minnesotans should be proud of our state’s commitment to saving energy!
Minnesota is a clean energy leader
Minnesota is a leading example of how beneficial clean energy can be. All three of Minnesota’s largest clean energy sectors experienced growth between 2016 and 2017, despite the overall Midwest experiencing a decline in clean energy jobs. In fact, jobs in our two largest sectors, energy efficiency and renewables, grew faster in Minnesota than the rest of the Midwest.
Minnesota even moved up in the rankings of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) state energy efficiency scorecard this year – leading the entire Midwest, and coming in number 8 out of all 50 states.
Minnesota is a shining example to other states of how they too can have a cleaner, stronger, more reliable energy economy. As other states move toward clean energy, Minnesotans will be able to proudly say, “We helped lead the way.”
To put it simply, clean energy is benefiting Minnesota in a variety of ways. While it may not be as obvious as winters that last 9 months, our clean energy economy is working hard for Minnesotans and deserves to be on the list of Minnesota points of pride.
Guest blog post by Meghan Kimmel, President of Portico Healthnet
Portico Healthnet wants to thank our Leadership Saint Paul (LSP) service group, which has been instrumental in helping plan and execute our fundraising event, Cocktails for Coverage. This event will be a networking and social gathering for community leaders committed to health coverage access for underserved communities. Please join us for this fun evening, and see the value of LSP service groups in action!
Cocktails for Coverage comes at a critical time for health care access. Despite reaching a record low in 2015, the uninsurance rate in Minnesota is on the rise; about 349,000 Minnesotans currently lack health insurance. The highest rates of uninsured are among the very people Portico serves: low‐income people, people of color, immigrants, and people with limited education. The barriers for those remaining uninsured are persistent and complex.
Portico offers health care enrollment and navigation services to all Minnesotans, regardless of income or immigration status. Our multi-lingual, culturally competent staff connect our communities’ most vulnerable people to the health services and resources they need.
We are grateful to the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity to work with leaders from our community. We hope to see you at this year’s Cocktails for Coverage!
Meghan Kimmel, President
Cocktails for Coverage
Date: Thursday, October 4th
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm; 6:00 pm program
Venue: James J. Hill Center, 80 W 4th St. Saint Paul. MN
Get your tickets here:
Taking green initiatives is not only being environmentally conscious but can also provide cost savings long term. Simple steps can become lifelong practices that help improve your office and environment. Below are some favorite tips and tricks to “green” your office space. Let us know your favorites and if you have more ideas to add.
Making Your Office Supplies Last Longer
Switch your plastic highlighters to pencil highlighters. Yes, they do exist! You no longer have to worry about them drying out. Once you come down to the end of the pencil highlighter you can compost them.
Paper and Filing Folders
No more space for filing folders in your file drawer? Here are a few things you can do to save space and paper:
Invest in a bleeding ink pen. They are way classier than your plastic pens. You can avoid hoarding cup loads of pens now.
Before purchasing a new piece of office furniture, think of ways to reduce the waste and cost of a new one. Is there anything online you can haul for free or at a reduced price? Office furniture is often listed online at sites like Craiglist, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace. You’ll be surprised how many things you can get from the community for free if you just search. Reach out to other businesses that are renovating and you might be able to snag a deal. Or, you can reupholster or refinish your old furniture with new paint and hardware.
What to do with all of the business cards? Download an app that will store all of your business cards on your smart phone or tablet. It’s a great way to save everything digitally. If you can’t let them go because of a sentimental attachment you have, get a business card organizer binder or just keep the ones you know you’ll need for later in a box, or display them in a decorative glass vase.
Bring in Green Plants
There are a variety of office and desk plants you can get that are low maintenance. Succulents, cacti, bamboos, and spider plants are good examples. Research has shown that plants stimulate your mind as well as contribute oxygen to your environment.
Green Kitchen Suggestions
Use real mugs, silverware, plates, and bowls. Cleaning up doesn’t take much longer than throwing out paper utensils and you can use the walk to the sink as a break from your desk.
Did you know garbage companies charge business’ trash based on weight? There are many things you can recycle before it goes into the trash. So the less you trash you have, the more money you save on your garbage bill. Imagine at the end of the year how much you can save. That money you budgeted for trash can go towards other projects at your workplace.
Make sure there are labeled and colored recycling bins throughout the office space: each cubicle should have their own bin, 2 bins by the printer, one in the kitchen or lounge, one in each meeting room, and one in the lobby/waiting area. If your workplace needs help purchasing materials and supplies for better recycling, apply for grants like BizRecycling offered in Ramsey and Washington Counties. Connect with your local county to see if they have grants to help with recycling.
Recycling isn’t limited to plastic bottles, glass, and paper. You can apply that to organics as well. Coffee beans, tea bags, leftover food, banana and orange peels can all go into organics recycling where they are either composted or delivered to hog farms.
Check out BizRecycling if your workplace is on route or wants to become a green office!
Post by Kathleen Lohmar Exel, Foundation Director
August was Healthcare Day and the class was able to look at Healthcare Systems through an Equity Lens. Bruce Thao, Director of the Center for Health Equity & Office of Minority & Multicultural Health, as the keynote speaker and he framed the day with the question of: Minnesota is consistently ranked as the one of the healthiest states in the nation, but healthiest for whom? Much like opportunity gaps for minority populations exist for students in school and minority populations are incarcerated at a higher rate than the Caucasian population, those same gaps exist in healthcare and accessing the system. In addition to studying the system from an Equity lens, the class also toured the HealthPartners Neuroscience Center, and discussed how finding a sense of belonging influences health, how nature and physical/built enviroments impact health, and did a case study on how the system is addressing the Opioid Crisis. It was an extremely informative and engaging day from start to finish. Speaking of finish, the class enjoyed another great visit to Brunson’s Pub, owned by Thomas LaFleche and Molly Murphy (LSP 2017).
We’re grateful to Kari Willey of HealthPartners (LSP 2015) for chairing the day and to her committee of Ann Brombach, HealthPartners & Erin Bursch, Children’s Hospital Association (both of LSP 2016) and Marnie Falk, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare & Sarah Johnson, Regions Hospital (both of LSP 2017). No LSP Day would happen without the talent and dedication of the Chairs and committee volunteers—Thank you!
The Citizens League Minimum Wage Study Committee met on Thursday, August 16, 2018 for their last meeting at University of St. Thomas. Check out last week’s recap on the thirteenth meeting here if you missed it.
The committee started the meeting discussing their thoughts and comments on last week’s meeting. A concerned member opened the discussion on tip credit and encouraged members to look at the tip adjustment more deeply. Another concerned member reminded the committee that the restaurant and beverage industry is a very broad business and that its value to our economy should not be overlooked. Other members commented based on their experience and the past week’s findings, as well as their overall experience with this process to date.
Thomas Durfee presented his final research to the committee on employment and earnings effects of minimum wage tiers. Thomas updated his input on the benefits cliff “if a family is on MFIP, they automatically skip the waiting list” to receive other benefits such as CCAP. Cities and counties can contribute dollars to their own CCAP. Last, working students under the age of 18 do not count towards CCAP, energy assistance, Section 8, or SNAP eligibility. Thomas updated his research on wage tiers for workers with a disability and reported there are no studies that discussed minimum or subminimum wage specifically. Instead, the studies he has found have focused on discrimination based on disability status. Based on two scholarly publications on tips and employment, Thomas reported economists have serious debates on the effects of earned tips and hours for full service workers. Click here to see Thomas Durfee’s research update.
The Citizens League staff reviewed the committee’s past week of homework, that included drafting potential scenarios for consideration and voting during this final meeting. Members discussed their concerns about implementation of a proposed ordinance, among them being: the phase-in time, how businesses would comply, how and in what capacity the City will be able to provide enforcement, Other concerns were raised about more specifics in proposed recommendations: disability workers, youth workers, seasonal workers, micro businesses, revenue vs head count to determine a business size. The committee largely agreed that they simply did not have enough time to delve deeply enough into all the issues, which left them feeling somewhat hampered in their ability to be more specific in recommendations.
After significant discussion and subsequent whittling down of scenarios on which the committee would vote, three scenarios remained on the table and all will be advanced into the final report. Citizens League staff will send a draft for committee review/approval prior to submission to the City by the deadline, August 31.
The meeting ended with closing remarks. Co-Chairs B Kyle and Rick Varco thanked everyone for participating in the study task force. They gave special thanks to the Office of Mayor Melvin Carter, Office of Council Member Chris Tolbert, and the Citizens League.
The finalized report is due on August 31, 2018.
The third session is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 from 9:00 AM - 11:15 AM at the Hmong Elders Center located at 1337 Rice Street, Saint Paul, MN 55117. RSVP here. Share on Facebook here.
The fourth session is scheduled for Thursday, September 20 from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM at the Palace Community Center located at 781 Palace Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55102. RSVP here. Share on Facebook here.