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Business & Industry

Business & Industry

Minnesota continues to be a smart place to do business. Year after year, Minnesota is a national competitor in many industries — including technology, manufacturing, healthcare and service industries. Minnesota’s abundance of capital, high quality labor force and great quality of life are often cited as reasons why it is a great place to start or grow a business.

Twenty of Fortune magazine’s 2007 list of the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies are headquartered in the Saint Paul/East Metro area, including Ecolab, Inc., 3M, CHS, Land O’Lakes, Northwest Airlines and Travelers.

Many small and diverse businesses call the Saint Paul/East Metro area home. University Avenue in Saint Paul is home to many minority-owned business enterprises, start-up companies and other businesses that have been a part of the community for generations. District Del Sol, on Saint Paul’s West Side, is home to the Twin Cities’ best Mexican food and Cinco de Mayo — Minnesota’s largest Hispanic/Latino event. Small businesses also find superb locations throughout the Saint Paul/East Metro area’s downtown and suburban business districts.

With a legacy of healthcare excellence and a thriving medical device industry built around Medtronic, Boston Scientific and Saint Jude Medical, Minnesota has launched an initiative intended to stimulate growth of the biosciences. One of Minnesota’s bioscience corridors can be found on the Saint Paul/Minneapolis borders. This corridor is focused on bioscience applications in agricultural, industrial and drug/device combinations and leverages the unique assets of the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the Saint Paul/East Metro area’s unbeatable location and leadership. For the second consecutive year, a University of Florida report ranked the University of Minnesota as one of the top three public research universities in the country. That leadership is at the heart of the Saint Paul/East Metro area’s efforts to develop new industry clusters in the bioscience and healthcare sectors.


The economic outlook for the Twin Cities remains positive due to the remarkable diversity and balance of its business base. Employment has been projected to grow 13 percent by 2014, adding more than 220,000 jobs to the Twin Cities. Several sectors have already seen incredible growth, including the informational technology and healthcare sectors. Significant increases in employment are forecast for service industries — particularly in the areas of computer and data processing, healthcare, engineering and social services.

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Financial Services

Minnesota is a national leading financial service sector and is home to some of the country’s leading insurance institutions. The area’s financial strength is enhanced by an active community banking industry and one of the nation’s leading venture capital communities.

Securian Financial Group

Founded in 1853, Travelers is the oldest corporation in Minnesota and one of the largest commercial property-liability insurers in the world. The company is uniquely positioned as the commercial insurer of choice for independent agents and brokers across the United States. The company also offers homeowners, auto and other insurance products for individuals and families.

Wells Fargo is one of the largest employers in the United States, ranking fifth in assets and fourth in market value as of December 31, 2006. The company acquired Norwest, and has expanded employment to more than 15,000 in the Twin Cities. Wells Fargo continues to expand its scope in Minnesota.

Securian Financial Group, one of America’s 15 most highly rated insurance institutions, provides financial security for millions of individuals and businesses with insurance, pensions and investments. Founded in 1880, Securian serves more than 6,000,000 clients through more than 4,400 home office associates and field representatives located at its Saint Paul headquarters and throughout the country. It provides more than $575 billion of life insurance protection, and manages over $28 billion in assets.

U.S. Bancorp — with assets in excess of $221 billion — is the sixth largest financial services holding company in the United States. It expanded in Saint Paul in 2002 with the opening of a new operations center on the West Side that employs 200 workers.

Community banks also thrive in the area, and after years of consolidation in the banking industry, new banks are thriving. Drake Bank, opened in 2002, was the first bank chartered in Saint Paul in 40 years. It joins other successful community banks such as Alliance, American, Anchor, Bremer, Bank Cherokee, Highland, M&I, Peoples Bank of Commerce, Premier Bank, Park Midway Bank and TCF National Bank.

Overall, the state’s financial institutions play a key role in financing the area’s growth. The state also offers funding for growing businesses through equity raised by its investment banking and vibrant venture capital communities. The state regularly ranks as one of the nation’s leading Small Business Administration lenders. The finance, insurance and real estate sectors employed 139,079 people in the Twin Cities area in third quarter of 2007.


3M is one of the area’s largest manufacturing employers with nearly 12,000 workers locally and more than 69,000 worldwide. A technology company with leading positions in transportation and safety, healthcare, industrial, consumer and office, electronic and communications, industrial and specialty materials markets, 3M has operations in more than 60 countries and serves customers in nearly 200 countries, with annual sales over $22 billion.

Andersen Corporation, best known as a leading manufacturer of windows, is headquartered in Bayport. With approximately 3,000 employees in the Saint Paul/East Metro area and 6,000 employees nationwide, Andersen has been a growing part of the local business community.

The Saint Paul/East Metro area also is part of Minnesota’s “Medical Alley,” named for the large number of medical device manufacturing companies located here. 3M’s healthcare division is part of this segment of the manufacturing community. Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm division employs 2,600 local professionals at its 93-acre Arden Hills campus. The Cardiac Rhythm unit develops and manufactures medical devices to help and heal ailing hearts. Approximately half of its employees have earned engineering, nursing, master’s or PhD degrees. Along with Boston Scientific, Medtronic and St. Jude Medical are key participants in Medical Alley, providing over 90 percent of the world’s implantable cardiac devices. More importantly, these corporations continue to grow in Minnesota. St. Jude Medical is currently undergoing a 20-year expansion project where it is building a state-of-the-art facility that will create more than 600 new jobs.


Thriving retail areas are plentiful in Saint Paul and the surrounding communities. Retailers along Grand Avenue, Selby and University Avenues, Highland Park, White Bear Lake and District del Sol offer shoppers a wide range of distinctive goods. Suburban communities often have their own “downtown” that features individual retailers as well as convenient access to large regional malls and shopping centers.

Activity generated by events held at Saint Paul’s RiverCentre, Xcel Energy Center, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Roy Wilkins Auditorium and others bring people together to dine and shop throughout the Saint Paul/East Metro area.

Retailers, including restaurants, are major employers in the area, providing more than 261,813 jobs in 2007. Growth in retail employment in the Twin Cities is forecast to grow 10.2 percent between 2004 and 2014.


The service sector continues to be a fast-growing area for employment, and accounts for more than 60 percent of forecasted job growth for the Twin Cities by 2010. The service industry has grown nearly 11 percent since 2000, and is projected to grow another 15.7 percent by 2014.

Leading service industries (such as advertising, public relations, printing, marketing and personnel services) supply essential business services to the business community. The Saint Paul/East Metro area is widely recognized for its prominent role in these fields. Marsden Holding is a diversified service business that operates more than 20 wholly owned subsidiary companies throughout the United States. Founded more than 50 years ago, Marsden continues to grow in Saint Paul.

Minnesota has long been a leader in the healthcare industry, offering innovative insurance approaches, cutting-edge medical devices and outstanding patient care. Leading employers in the area include HealthEast Care System, Regions Hospital, United Hospital and prominent insurance providers like Blue Cross/Blue Shield and HealthPartners.

The Saint Paul/East Metro area has forged strong and unique partnerships between its business and nonprofit communities. Social service agencies help settle new immigrant populations, support educational initiatives and facilitate the transition from welfare to work. Together with the ongoing support and involvement of local businesses, the nonprofit community has made the region one of the most effective providers of social services in the nation.

A recognized leader in the “knowledge economy,” the Twin Cities’ reputation is based on its growing pool of knowledge specialists — engineers, technology workers and educators. Minnesota devotes significant resources to education and workforce development — a commitment that is reflected in the area’s employment figures, which show public school systems and the University of Minnesota to be among the Twin Cities major employers.

Across the area and across the board, the breadth, depth and diversity of the Saint Paul/East Metro area economy makes for a dynamic business community, attracting businesses and workers who strive to do their best work and contribute to the area’s success and prosperity.


More than 3,400 technology-oriented companies are based in the Twin Cities. Lawson Software, one of the industry leaders, is the area’s leading software company, and it is among the fastest growing companies in Minnesota. With offices in downtown Saint Paul, Lawson employs more than 500 people. The company went public in 2001 to finance its continued growth.

Emerging Businesses

The Saint Paul/East Metro is home to many rapidly growing businesses including GovDelivery, Inc. GovDelivery is the world's leading provider of government-to-citizen communication solutions. The company was listed as the 16th fastest growing company in the Twin Cities with revenue over $5 million.

Higher Education

Additionally, Minnesota is home to many reputable higher educational institutions that provide for one of the highest quality labor forces in the country. A study by the Association of University Technology Managers ranked the University of Minnesota fourth out of 142 major research universities for its ability to translate university research into commercial enterprises. The University spun off 11 new businesses from its research efforts in 2000 — only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California and the California Institute of Technology produced more new businesses.


From its earliest days, the Saint Paul/East Metro area (strategically positioned on the banks of the Mississippi, St. Croix and Minnesota rivers) has been a center for transportation in the state. Before railroads, the rivers served as the major transportation system in the state. Today, all forms of transportation contribute to the area’s economy.


Xcel Energy Center

Northwest Airlines is based in the area, using the Saint Paul-Minneapolis International Airport (MSP) as one of its hub locations. Northwest is one of the state’s largest employers with over 18,000 employees. In 2007, MSP ranked as the 12th busiest airport in the U.S., and 21st in the world, serving more than 35 million passengers. From its central location, business travelers and tourists can easily reach major U.S. and international cities. Sun Country also services the Twin Cities. With headquarters in Mendota Heights, Sun Country brings additional employment and flights to the Twin Cities marketplace.


The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) is a premier transportation service provider. The railway originated in Saint Paul 150 years ago with a single locomotive and two cars, and traveled a 10-mile stretch of track between Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It eventually became part of James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railroad, and is now one of the largest railroad networks in North America with 6,300 locomotives and 220,000 freight cars that travel across 32,000 route miles, covering 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF hauls enough coal to generate nearly 10 percent of the nation’s electricity, and is the largest rail transporter of grain, aluminum, aircraft parts and beer in the United States.


The Mississippi River, the third largest in the world, runs thousands of miles through the nation’s heartlands. A priceless natural resource, the river continues to be an active part of the Saint Paul/East Metro area’s transportation system, serving as an important artery for hauling coal and other products.

More than 24,000 people are employed in transportation, communications and public utilities in the Saint Paul/East Metro area. Wholesalers utilize the region’s rail, truck and barge systems to distribute durable and nondurable goods from manufacturers to retailers.


Leveraging its transportation network and strategic location, the area is home to a number of wholesale operations. The wholesale trade sector provided more than 31,000 jobs in 2007, with Twin Cities wholesale employment forecast to continue to grow.

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