Posted on June 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

(ABC 6 News)–It’s not uncommon to see for sale or for lease signs in windows of a small town, but Stewartville is trying to dissolve that problem.

“Hopefully it’s going to bring more businesses to our community and not only that but maybe fill up some spaces we have available for rent too,” said Stewartville Mayor Jimmie-John King.

King is referring to the $9,000 grant awarded to the Stewartville Economic Development Agency.

“The grant is part of a grant round we do every spring and it’s designed to help communities with an economic development initiative,” said Tim Penny, President of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

The money will be used towards implementing a new business incubation program.

“It’s kind of a different type of incubator. We’re not just going to put them all in one spot, we’re going to let them pick their spot and we’re going to work with them from there,” said  King.

There’s a little catch, a series of free educational classes will be required for incoming entrepreneurs.

“We’re excited to see how it works as this is the first one that we’re doing like this,” said Cris Gastner, Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development Associates.

“Another component of that is giving them the background and training and things that they will need to continue to be successful moving forward,” said Gastner.

“The uniqueness of this program is it’s about filling up some of that vacant space that so often occurs in our smaller town main streets,” said Penny.

“This isn’t just for Stewartville; it’s going to hopefully be for Stewartville’s benefit in the end, but for now it’s for anyone that wants to start-up,” said Mayor King.

The program will launch this summer and the city is already seeing interest from community members.

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