Bruce P. Corrie, PhD, Chai.News
When driving to the heart of Faribault’s downtown we wondered, can this city of 25,000 with a median household income of $52,000 sustain a vibrant downtown and a culture of entrepreneurship? We think so.
Jit Bhatia invited Siad Ali, a community leader, and myself, an economist, to visit Faribault this past weekend. He owns a vacant 8000 square foot facility in the heart of downtown, and wants to help the city he loves by making something unique. “What if we converted this building into a hub of entrepreneurship, a global market place, an artist’s gallery and book store, and a community gathering place to celebrate the spirit of Faribault?” said Jit as we walked through the building.
We stopped by Bernie’s Grill for breakfast and enjoyed some delicious and uniquely Faribault flavored hash browns. We had a chance to talk with the owner and city council member, Janna Viscomi. She brightened at the talk of investment in the downtown area and shared her many efforts over the years. Her business was booming that morning.
“What if we ask the community for some ideas how to develop that space?” said Siad Ali. “I know people in the community and they have much to offer.”
So here is the request to the people living in and around Faribault: Let’s start with the usable space on the ground floor. If you have a good business idea and want to launch it let us know your plans. Below is the criteria for businesses interested in being part of the Mini Mall:
- A global/multi-ethnic space – a window to the world in downtown Faribault.
- Small or micro businesses to be part of a mini mall
- Some incubator space for businesses and artists
- Restaurant or coffee shop that serves as a community space
- Including minority, female and youth entrepreneurs
- Our brand – Welcoming. Global. Community. Innovation
- Residents of Faribault or surrounding areas
Send your one page entrepreneurial concept to firstname.lastname@example.org including details and whether the idea is already a functioning business or a new business perfect for the new Mini Mall. The team will review proposals and get back to you within two weeks. The deadline is August 1, 2016. Please be sure to include your contact information.