RED LAKE, Minn. – The Red Lake Band of Chippewa has been awarded a $3 million grant to build a business incubator in Red Lake.
The grant from the U.S. Commerce Department of Economic Development Administration will finance construction of the Adaawe-Wigamig Business Center located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone.
The Red Lake Opportunity Zone is one of 128 in Minnesota, which were created in 2017 by President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Regional planning, led by the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, which is funded by the U.S. Commerce Department of Economic Development, made possible the Adaawe-Wigamig Business Center project, a news release from the commerce department said.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa business center will be located in the former Red Lake Nations College building on Highway 1 in Red Lake, said Sharon James, 4-Directions Development executive director, adding that the 15,000-square-foot building will undergo an extensive renovation, which will take from 12 to 18 months.
“I’m hoping we will be able to start this winter,” James said.
Commercial space in Red Lake is tight, so there’s a lot of interest in renting space in Adaawe-Wigamig Business Center, according to James, who said eight entrepreneurs have already expressed interest in renting space, and the building is nearly at capacity.
Tenants include a hair salon owner and a screen printing and embroidery business owner.
The business incubator is expected to create 217 jobs, retain 87 jobs and create $7.2 million in private investment, the U.S. Department of Commerce said.
James and the staff of 4-Directions Development will provide assistance, such as planning, financing and accounting procedures, to the business owners.
“We provide them with free services while they’re in the space,” James said.
Local funds of $214,789 will be raised to match the grant. Small amounts of funding already have been raised to do projects such as remodel a bathroom and remove asbestos from the floor, James said.