One of Vision 2020's main goals was to help create a "business friendly" environment in Austin.  This committee benefited from the participation of a wide range of professionals and local economic development experts, and was proud to support and promote the work of the many great organizations in Austin working toward similar goals.  Special thanks are due to the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, the Development Corporation of Austin, the Small Business Development Center, the Latino Economic Development Center, the City of Austin and the Austin Port Authority.  Other support has been generously provided by The Hormel Foundation, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Hormel Foods, and Mayo Clinic Health Systems - Albert Lea/Austin.


This work will continue through evolving community initiatives that look to fuel not only economic development for growing our community businesses but also considering economic growth and well-being for the community members.

Past accomplishments


  • Established the Community Concierge to help improve employee attraction and retention rates.  The Concierge provides many services to help new and prospective residents plug in to the community
  • Created a satellite office of the Small Business Development Center in Austin, which provides free consulting services and other help for both new and existing businesses
  • Supported the sale of the former Oak Park Mall site to make way for development of a new Hy-Vee grocery store and other potential amenities
  • Initiated a community conversation around workforce housing, which culminated in numerous policy recommendations from an ad hoc committee organized by Mayor Tom Stiehm
  • Created the Austin Area Business Forum, a regular lunch-time gathering that features expert presenters and valuable networking time for aspiring and current business owners