Northspan by the Numbers: 2020

In 2020, Northspan served a total of 69 clients, including:

  • 46 in business development
  • 10 in community development
  • 13 in organizational development

For every ~$1 in client investment, $37 were invested in the region we serve. Northspan secured $33 of that $37.

Programming highlights from the year include:

  • Northland Connection 
      • Continued management of website, including database of 460 properties, and access to series of data tools
      • Original research on Covid impacts and housing trends
      • Responded to 71 program inquiries
      • Saw a significant uptick in website traffic with launch of upgraded website
      • Spinoff projects with Great River Energy, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the City of Cohasset, and a planned intern project in 2021
  • Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative
      • Continued to offer webinar series and shifted educational workshops to online formats: Held 5 webinars with steadily increasing attendance
      • 63 projects in the database
      • 52 known communications from national investors through The Opportunity Exchange (TOE) national database
      • 21 total educational workshops completed (shifted online in 2020)
      • Program will continue in 2021 (fourth year of operation) with expanded relationship with TOE
      • Launched new website:
      • Added programming: Student Connect
      • Two Development & Strategy Consultants
        • Cara Overland, Twin Ports & NW WI
        • Desiree Yourczek, Greater NE MN  
      • 30-member Advisory Committee with geographical representation
      • 4,437 candidates (jobseekers)
      • 1,128 employers
  • UMFO
    • Since 1997, Northspan has managed the grant administration and fiscal agency for the Upper Minnesota Film Office
    • Now UMFO is becoming its own 501c3!
    • St. Louis County will be offering up to $1 million to film and TV crews as an incentive to bring productions, and jobs, to the region

Consulting highlights from the year include:

  • Worked with 16 business valuation and succession clients
      • Seven of those clients involved a business acquisition and financing transaction
      • Resulted in the retention of 57 jobs
  • Moved regional Non-Traditional Lenders Forums to a virtual format
      • Cohort of local partner organizations
        • Northspan, Northland Foundation, Entrepreneur Fund, Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC), Great River Energy, Minnesota Business Finance Corporation (MBFC), Northland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation
      • Hosted two events during 2020
        • Cloquet, in-person, January 2020, 37 attendees
        • Virtual, July 2020, 79 Zoom attendees
      • 2021: Goal for quarterly presentations
        • Virtual, January 26, 2021, 64 Zoom attendees
  • Continued relationships with longtime community clients
    • GPS 45:93
    • City of Sandstone
    • East Range Joint Powers Board
      • Ongoing community development relationship
      • Guiding East Range through the Blandin Broadband Communities project: 16 community projects totaling over $112,000 in investment
      • Completed nearly 30 business visits pre-Covid
      • Issued 8 grants to support businesses through Covid-19 and created a Disaster Relief Loan Fund with IRRR
      • Secured IRRR grant for trail mapping, signage planning, and putting maps on digital platforms
      • Strategic Directions Consensus Workshop on January 13 leading to a three-year action plan

We look forward to working with you in 2021! Get In Touch