Impact Innovations is a global manufacturing company that specializes in seasonal décor, paper, and fabrics as well as commercial printing and displays. Its world headquarters are in Clara City and its commercial products division is in Maynard. They also have facilities in Tennessee, New York and Hong Kong. Southwest Initiative Foundation made a business loan to the company in the late 1980s to support expansion and last year, they celebrated their 50th anniversary.
The same day of their anniversary celebration, Stamp-n-Storage hosted a grand opening of its new 30,000-square-foot manufacturing and retail space in Hutchinson. The company provides paper crafters around the world with high-quality, space efficient wooden storage and organizers. Owner Brett Haugen says he started building them as a “honey-do” project for his wife. In 2012, we made a microloan to help Brett move his hobby out of the garage, and the business has been growing since.
Companies like these across our region provide unique products and services to people around the world and offer great careers to people right here in our region. They’re also part of the work we call Grow Our Own, an effort to ensure all southwest Minnesota kids have the opportunity to succeed. Think about the families who are supported by these local jobs, the skills our young people need to enter these and other workplaces, and the kids who will grow up to be our next entrepreneurs.
Southwest Initiative Foundation has long held that economic and social growth are interdependent. Economic and social gains must be pursued simultaneously for individual initiatives and communities – and the overall region – to thrive. Research shows that more than four in 10 southwest Minnesota children live in families that are struggling to meet their basic needs. Without the right support, not all of these kids will reach their full potential. We can change that, and examples of community solutions are taking root where there’s energy.
The Lower Sioux Indian Community’s youngest citizens are speaking their native language and learning their culture at the state’s first Dakota Immersion Early Head Start and Head Start program. More students are accessing programs like REACH, to develop a sense of belonging and purpose when they find it’s missing. High schoolers from Nobles, Pipestone and Rock counties are building a powerful local network as part of the newly formed Southwest Minnesota Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO). Parents are becoming more active in their children’s educational journey through Worthington’s PASS program. Public-private-academic partnerships like the LYFT initiative are building career and technical education pathways for students to follow.
Engaging business leaders in developing local solutions has been key to success. There are people in our region who care and are willing to learn, share and take action to make southwest Minnesota a place where all people can thrive.