The Prior Lake Technology Village and Scott County First Stop Shop received the 2018 Program of the Year Award by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM) last week for the FAST-TRACK Business Challenge.

Late last week, EDAM hosted an awards ceremony as part of their annual Winter Conference to recognize projects and professionals in the economic development industry who have gone above and beyond or faced significant challenges in the last year.

The Program of the Year Award recognizes a creative new program or initiative that has been developed to help businesses and a community to thrive, grow and prosper.  Award nominees could include programs or initiatives that focused on businesses, workforce, business retention and expansion, financing, start-ups, clusters, entrepreneurs or several other economic development initiatives.

The FAST-TRACK Business Challenge was a successful, Scott county-wide, collaborative effort to encourage economic development and aid start-up businesses. The FAST-TRACK Challenge was coordinated through the Scott County First Stop Shop and Prior Lake’s Technology Village. Winners were awarded cash prizes and various services essential for a start-up including accounting, web site design, graphic art design, legal assistance and business counseling. The Challenge was designed to provide a creative venue for start-up businesses to either develop or polish their business plans and their business ideas, competing for prizes to aid start-up companies and the title of Winner of the FAST-TRACK Challenge.

“Creating resources that help your local businesses succeed is so important to the health and vitality of a community,” says Megan Barnett-Livgard, EDAM President and GREATER MSP Business Retention and Expansion Manager. “The enormous success of this program proves that programs like this are not only necessary, but imperative to a thriving economic environment.”

As part of a revamped recognition program in 2018, EDAM added new categories and worked to refresh the organization’s recognition process. The full EDAM awards program included awards for the Economic Developer of the Year, Emerging Professional of the Year, Project of the Year, Program of the Year, Redevelopment Project of the Year, Partnership Award, Marketing Award and Elected Public Official of the Year.