Best WordPress Plugins To Build Your Own Dating Site

Building a dating website is not an easy task. There are several things to take care of, from choosing the right domain name and hosting plan, all the way to picking out the best theme for your site. Not to mention developing the site itself. Luckily, with WordPress and some plugins, you can make this process much easier than it would be otherwise. Let’s take a look at what you need in order to build your own dating site using WordPress and its features.

The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about building a dating site is probably OkCupid or Tinder – both of which have proven themselves as successful businesses. Of course, you don’t have to copy them exactly – there are plenty of other options. For example, if you want to go on the niche route, you could use sites like Sextfun instead as an example. Check out these plugins to get started.

WP Dating

WP Dating is one of the most popular solutions for anyone who wants to create their own dating site based on WordPress. It can be used by both large-scale corporations as well as individual entrepreneurs. The main functionality that sets this plugin apart from others on the market is the ability to customize the design according to your personal tastes. By taking advantage of custom CSS and HTML, you can build a unique layout and make sure everyone will know your site is yours. Another feature worth mentioning is that the app works on mobile devices, so people who access your site through phones won’t have any trouble navigating around. With this plugin, you’ll also be able to offer free and paid memberships to members, making it possible for everyone to enjoy your services.


Another great option for building a dating website is Rencontre. This plugin was designed primarily for creating dating websites and matchmaking apps, but can actually do a lot more than that. You can easily integrate it into a blog or social media site. In addition, the plugin offers numerous settings that allow you to control the whole process. For instance, you can set up specific categories for different types of users, adjust the user experience, and even add advanced search filters.

In terms of security, you can rest assured knowing that your site has been built with protection against unauthorized access in mind. All data transmitted between the server and the user is encrypted, so no one will be able to steal confidential information. Besides that, the developer also provides support via email. If you ever run into trouble while setting up the plugin, just send them an email and they’ll get back to you quickly.

WP Mingle

Last but not least, WP Mingle is another plugin that allows you to create a fully functional dating site. It comes packed with a ton of useful features and customization options. One of the perks of using this particular solution is that the developers work closely with the community, meaning you can always expect updates and improvements. They are constantly adding new features to improve the plugin even further, and customer feedback plays an important role in that process.

For instance, you can choose from over 100 templates that come pre-populated with various features. You can then modify those features to suit your needs. Also, there’s also a powerful admin panel that lets you manage everything from the front end of the site without having to touch any code. Other features that come with this plugin include social login, user verification, and even payment options. You can choose between PayPal and Stripe, which makes it easy to accept payments from users. Plus, you can implement an affiliate program as well.

Final Verdict

There are many great plugins available that can help you build your own dating site. We recommend all three of them, because each comes with its own pros and cons. However, if we had to choose a winner, we’d definitely go with Recontre. It offers a wide range of features, including custom CSS and HTML, multiple templates, and a powerful admin panel.

However, it also supports two of the most popular payment gateways – PayPal and Stripe. All in all, we’ve shown you how to create a dating site using WordPress. It’s actually easier than you think. Just pick the right software, choose a template for your site, and start customizing the design. That’s basically it! Now you know everything you need to create your very own dating site. Good luck!

Review Technology Wordpress

Best Free WordPress Themes

There are thousands of free WordPress blog themes, which makes it difficult for beginner to pick from all the choices. We went out and handpicked the best free WordPress themes which you can use for your site.

If you are just getting started with WordPress, you should start with a theme that you can learn quickly and not with a demanding one that requires a high level of programming experience. If you want to start a basic blog or business website and don’t care about design diversity, go back to the previous standard WordPress themes from Twenty-Seventeen. A successful marketing blog should be built around a minimalist blog design with a focus on clear and readable content for the user.

Riba Lite

Riba Lite, one of the best free WordPress themes, features a sleek modern design that competes with premium themes. It features a modern design with full screen width, and works great for a variety of sites, from blogs, portfolio sites, freelancers, or web design agencies and other businesses. It is completely customizable, making it flexible enough for about anything,


Panoramic is an excellent free WordPress theme for all types of websites, e-commerce shops, and blogs. This attractive and super flexible theme creates a premium appearance that you can use for free and is great for business blogs, private blogs, travel sites, corporate websites, business services and almost other types of websites.


Conica is a flexible WordPress multi-purpose theme which can be used to build any type of site. This versatile theme can be used for personal and business websites of almost any type. This attractive and super flexible theme, with a premium look that you can use for free, has a responsive layout that allows you to create a portfolio or a corporate website where you can present and showcase your previous work. It has a straightforward and flat design that combines the kind of content you want to publish on your website.


Activello, one of the free WordPress themes you can use for both personal and professional blogs, has a flexible, clean and minimalist design that makes it suitable for all types of businesses and personal blog niches. It comes with a slider so you can showcase the latest, most popular and important content.


OceanWP can be used for all types of sites, such as news, magazines, blogs, business, and e-commerce shops. It provides multiple layout options such as a full width website, 2 navigation menus, a custom top logo, support for multiple sidebar areas, a beautiful image gallery and much more.


The Phlox theme can be free from Averta websites and gives you the opportunity to design a cheap website if you’re not sure where to start. This theme includes features like product search, category selection, full width sliders, featured products, latest product carousels, CTAs, billboards, banner call-out sections, home page and more.


Neve does a great job by inviting users to select one and install the theme with a starter site, so that you don’t get stuck with a site that looks unattainable. In other words, a WordPress theme is a way to change the look of your site with color, fonts, what type of sections you have and what buttons look like.


Sqribble by Adeel Chowdhry – My Honest Comprehensive Review

Sqribble review


In this age of two-minute social media video content, tweets, and other social media posts, most people would expect that the average attention span of an internet user would further shrink.

But thankfully, with the recent success of long-form content such as a three-hour-long podcast or comprehensively detailed eBooks, that conception/myth has been strongly debunked.

More and more people are now feeling optimistic about sharing their stories, valuable insights, and professional opinions on the internet.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the technical skillset of web designers to mass create professionally-styled eBooks, quickly and easily?

Well luckily for us, just like the ‘attention-span-is-reducing’ myth, the notion that creating greatly designed eBooks is difficult is not true any more thanks to Sqribble.

People like me who need to create high-quality eBooks finally have an easy solution.

Why are eBooks important?

eBooks have become an important aspect of digital marketing.

By publishing well-drafted and well-designed eBooks, marketers and authors willing to gain online attention can create:

  • Lead Magnets to grow their mailing list of potential customers
  • Create detailed reports, guides, etc. for students who take online courses
  • Professionals wanting to share their knowledge can condense their content into a transportable file that is available both offline and online to readers at all times.
  • eBooks are a great way for bloggers to take the step and venture into publishing and selling books

These are only some uses of eBooks.

But since there hasn’t ever been an eBook creator as efficient as Sqribble before, the possibilities in the practice of mass eBook creation are unexplored and limitless… until now.

Although some might argue that Designrr is a better option but most of them haven’t actually explored all the excellent features of Sqribble

So is Sqribble set to transform this industry?

Let’s find out…

A Detailed Review of Sqribble 

So, what is Sqribble, and can it help you create eBooks easily? ‎

The cloud-based eBook builder has already amassed over 20,000 users since its launch in late 2018.

With such high numbers in such a short period of time, Sqribble has certainly got the marketing and writing industries talking about its potential and how it can help aspiring writers.

In this review, I am going to try and find out whether or not the hype around this product is justified.

At the end of the day, you will have a clear idea of:

  • How this cloud-based tool helps users create eBooks, reports, and other digital text files.
  • How quick and easy it is to create books with this tool.
  • What the creators of this tool want for the users.
  • What features this tool offer?
  • What is the target audience of this tool?
  • The costs of using this tool and whether or not these costs are justified
  • What the upsells, pros, and cons are of this newly launched tool.
  • How to use this tool in a cost-effective manner?

I have personally used this tool so I will also be sharing my own insight into this product.

So, let’s not wait anymore and dive straight into this review.

A Brief Introduction to Sqribble 

Sqribble is a cloud-based tool that helps users quickly create eBooks, reports, product informational guides, and other forms of text documents.

There are preset templates that allow writers to present their information in a professional and visually appealing manner.

Sqribble has been able to simplify the content design and creation process, enabling aspiring writers and content marketers to get their jobs done quickly.

The instinctual interface coupled with thousands of templates helps people who have no expertise in graphics design create high-quality books.

This tool was created by Adeel Chowdhry and Ali Chowdhry, two internet marketers who realized the importance of eBooks and well-designed text content in the field of online marketing.

Who is the Creator?

Adeel Chowdhry is the main man behind Sqribble.

A well-known name in the field of internet marketing, Adeel has also successfully ventured into creating numerous digital products and authoring best-selling books.

A pioneer in providing consultancy and coaching to aspiring online marketers, Sqribble isn’t Adeel’s first digital tool.

He also created Pixzel Studio FX, a cool digital cover creation software that is equally as successful as Sqribble.

Being an internet marketer himself, Adeel has been able to fashion his digital products in a way that helps marketers overcome challenges that they commonly faced in the past.

Sqribble was created to sidestep the expensive route of hiring expensive freelance designers.

The biggest challenges of producing high-quality eBooks, as recognized by Adeel and Ali Chowdhry were;

  • Coming up with relevant content for the eBooks
  • Designing the cover graphics, page illustrations, etc.
  • Structuring the eBook to make it visually appealing

While the first of these challenges is completely the responsibility of the writers, Sqribble has been able to address the other two challenges and make the process of creating eBooks easy and fast.

What Happens When You Purchase the Sqribble Software?

After purchasing this product, I was a little apprehensive.

Although there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee and $3 trial version, one can never be sure about the authenticity of internet software.

I was hoping that this tool genuinely helps me create eBooks faster and in a professional manner.

Unexpectedly, Sqribble did not disappoint.

In fact, I was surprised at how intuitive the interface and some of the features were.

Ready to get started?

Click on the link below to get started right away!


Upon installing the software, I was given access to three features:

1) Sqribble Software’s Interface Section

This is where I created my own workstation.

The features were surprisingly helpful and easy to understand. 

Some of the features that particularly impressed me include:

  • Automatic creator of the table of contents
  • Automatic headings and footnote posting section
  • Pre-programed pagination
  • Drag and drop feature to add text files, pictures, etc.
  • Add or delete pages, media files, etc.
  • Over three-hundred Google Fonts
  • Fifty cool pre-set templates. Of these fifty, there are fifteen dedicated to different niches such as marketing, online tutorials, sports, etc.
  • With just a click, you can change the color scheme of your eBooks

In this workstation, you can easily add and edit your eBook content.

Although there’s a separate section of the software featuring a step by step guide on how to use this tool, the interface is so relaxed and easy to understand, I didn’t even need to go through the tutorial.

Here’s how I started creating eBooks on Sqribble:

Step 1: Choose one of the many pre-set Templates on the platform 

There are 50 pre-set templates.

Be it dark and serious or bubbly and informal – the template choices are quite comprehensive.

Select any one of them.

Step 2: Adding Content

After you have picked a template, you have to add the content. 

If you’re a blogger like me, there’s a surprise feature for you.

Sqribble offers a feature that enables us to directly pull content from our blog posts.

With just one click, our blog posts aren’t mere web pages anymore, they are classily designed eBooks!

Some other methods of adding your eBook content include:

  • Copy and paste a URL on the ‘Add Content’ section
  • Copy-paste content from your Word Docs
  • Upload an MS Word Doc. Don’t worry, your formatting (bullet points, font settings, etc.) won’t be lost!
  • Borrow content from one of many Sqribble’s free to use niche articles. The tool will provide you with free content from the internet. Use this feature if you are in a hurry.
  • Start writing on a blank template. This option is not recommended for early users as it can take a lot of time. Once you get used to Sqribble’s interface, you will find writing directly on the tool much easier.

Step 3: Customize and Publish

Now that you have added the text content, it is time to publish your eBook!

Before publishing, you will need to customize your text.

You can customize each and every feature of your eBook – layouts, fonts, text alignment, etc.

If you have any doubts about the editing tools, you can go to the software’s training center (more on that later).

Skribble.io is packed with some classy eBook cover templates that I made the most of.

Use as many customizations as possible.

At first, I was a bit spoilt for choice but I soon got a decent idea of which content niche needs what type of design. 

The amount of oversight that has gone into designing this tool is commendable.

Client Feedback Tool 

Once you have published your own eBook, you will get an auto-generated private link

You can share this private link with your readers.

There’s a ‘client feedback tool’ which is very helpful.

This tool helped me collaborate with my clients.

My clients were able to add their feedback on certain sections of my eBooks and I managed to change my design or text as per their wishes.

Trust me; this tool is the most impressive aspect of this software.

Once you get used to making hundreds of revisions via Skype complaints and long mails, you will realize just how helpful this live feedback incorporation feature is.

2) Agency Rights Sections

If you are into creating original eBooks like me, you must be familiar with the concept of agency rights.

There’s a ton of permissions, copyrights, and contracts involved in the process of acquiring agency rights.

The difficulties associated with obtaining these rights are one of the key reasons why eBook creators can’t sell their books in libraries.

Most writers have to sell their eBooks at wholesale prices and or retail them.

In order to qualify as a professional agency and appeal to high paying customers you need to create a unique portfolio. 

For this, you also need a well-designed website.

Most professional eBook writers already have such a website but for those who don’t, Sqribble has you covered.

You get a fully-functioning agency website, free of cost after signing up for the premium pack. 

To be honest, I have invested in creating personalized agency websites and each website cost me around $1000.

So, up and coming eBook writers should consider themselves lucky for having a tool like Sqribble that offers a fully customizable pre-filled portfolio website that they can use to showcase their talents to potential buyers.

3) Training Center

Sqribble software also features a comprehensive training center to offer amateur creators with a complete list of how to create, format, and publish eBooks. 

The step-by-step lessons really helped me learn new features that aren’t found in most eBooks creating tools in the market.

Who Can Benefit from Using Sqribble?

As mentioned before, Sqribble was created by an internet marketer. 

So, naturally this tool is built from the perspective of an internet marketer and it is of the best use to professional marketers and business owners.

However, freelance content developers, independent affiliate marketers, aspiring authors, and pretty much anyone who wants to create lead magnets, sell eBooks, or publish a library of useful content (books or whitepapers) can benefit from using this tool.

Professional proofreaders can also use this tool to provide services for creating eBooks for clients. 

Personally, I think this tool can be used to create a secondary income stream with limited investments.

Can You Make Money from This Tool? 

Of course!

The commercial agency license feature enables users to use Sqribble for official client work. 

Anything you create with this tool is completely your property.

Plus, you get the free agency website that you can upload to a domain to gain immediate ownership.

Start creating and building your portfolio.

If you build an impressive catalog of eBooks, it is very likely that you will find a wholesale client willing to buy all of your content.

At first, even I struggled to complete eBooks but after clearly learning how to use this tool, I was quickly able to increase my output.

Although there is an option to ‘borrow’ content that the tool gathers from the internet and publish it as your own, only marketers interested in fast results use this ‘black hat’ tactic.

Here’s how I started earning using Sqribble:

  • I wrote around twenty to thirty eBooks a month and uploaded them onto my site, offering them at a very low price ($4 was the lowest I went). I used a lot of my previous blog content and content that this tool provided to create so many detailed eBooks in such a short period of time.
  • By the next month, each eBook had registered at least 10 sales on an average. So, thirty books, each being sold for $4. You do the math. I admit this amount isn’t enough for me to make this my only source of livelihood but look at my non-economic gains. I was able to boost my mailing list and my reputation as a writer also profited. For digital and affiliate marketers, the non-economic gains are much more important.
  • Plus, by using this tool, users open themselves up to a world of eBook writing. In websites like Fiverr, there’s a steady demand for eBook creators. Using this tool to create a strong portfolio vastly increases your chances of landing these jobs.

Ready to get started?

Click on the link below to get started right away!


Who Will Not Find This Tool Helpful? 

Now that we have explored who can use this tool and how let’s take a look at the type of people for whom investing in Sqribble will be a total waste of money.

Some of them include:

I) People Who are Not Serious about Online Marketing

Although Sqribble is a great tool for creating original and well-formatted content, if your aim is to just be an author and not market products or your brand, you won’t vastly benefit from this tool. 

There are countless other writing and editing software that will help you much more in writing books than this one.

II) People Who Are Not Willing to Take up the Costs

Sqribble is not a free platform. 

Although there is a trial version available for just $3, the real features are only accessible once you start paying. 

Some of these include:

  • The basic Sqribble Software (there are discounts available, more on that later). In here you get a limited number of editing and template options.
  • Sqribble Professional which comes at $97 allows you to unlock 150 more specialized eBook templates, illustrations, and even more custom-made content for all types of professions. This upgrade is a must for people looking to mass create eBooks and make a profit off their investments.
  • The Sqribble Prime allows users access to fifteen “premium limited edition” eBook templates on a monthly basis. For one year, you will get new templates added to your workstation. That way, your work won’t get monotonous.
  • Sqribble Fantasia 3D – With this feature, you’ll get to create eBooks with 3-D covers. You’ll also get to make your pages interactive. Readers will be able to ‘flip’ the pages of your eBook instead of scrolling it.
  • Lastly, the Auto Job Finder software. With this feature, you’ll get notified about freelance eBook creating jobs on sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

These upsell total up to some handsome figures in yearly payments.

If you’re not willing to make a commitment to invest this amount, the limited free for use features won’t do you much benefit.

III) People Who are Not Willing to Mass Create Content

As mentioned before, the only way to make considerable money with this tool is to mass create content on a regular basis.

IV) People Who are Not Patient Enough to Cooperate With this Tool

The tool has a ticketing system when it comes to customer service. 

If you have a problem with the software, you will have to wait in line for the developers to first deal with the complaints of customers who have registered before you.

Do you fall into one of these categories?

If so, I would recommend you use the free version of this tool first before making a payment.

Let’s go over the overall Cons of this product so that you can be sure of what to expect.

What I Dislike About Sqribble Software

  • Only Pro Editions of Sqribble offer unlimited eBook storage. With the basic version, you get to create and store only a limited number of files.
  • Upsells are a little costly.
  • The ticketing system can be frustrating. I once had to wait for a whole day before receiving a reply from Sqribble’s support team.
  • Ebooks are not the only primary long-format content on the internet. Podcasts and long videos have sadly taken over this domain. Plus, selling eBooks is difficult. Finding eBook creation or design jobs can be difficult if you don’t purchase Sqribble’s Auto Job Finder.

Overall, this tool is not for people who think they can use it to generate passive income.

I have to consistently trade my time to earn money with this tool.

However, it is not all doom and gloom in the eBook creation industry

For people who are serious about pursuing eBook creation, this tool can be extremely advantageous

In fact, of all the paid eBook creation tools in the market right now, Sqribble is the most comprehensive and feature-friendly.

What I like About Sqribble

  • Easy to use interface
  • Automatic content generator helped me create two to three eBooks on a regular basis with ease
  • Splendid eBook cover options made my work look sophisticated (a big boost for my eBook portfolio)
  • I got to create my first flipbooks (I only create Flipbooks now; it’s a matter of brand reputation for me now!)
  • No glitches
  • Agency Rights sections helped me leave behind my previous shoddy and expensive website
  • Client Feedback tool vastly saved me editing hassles
  • Comprehensive training center kept me informed about all the customizations
  • The 30-day money-back guarantee made me feel safe about my investment (although I didn’t exercise this option)

In fact, I am not the only one who has found Sqribble helpful.

With over 20,000 current users (that number is steadily growing), users like me feel glad to be a part of this small but strong worldwide community of people who use this tool to create eBooks.

Here are some of their reviews that I think you’d find helpful:

  • Carl Topping, Marketer and Branding Specialist – “It doesn’t get much undemanding than this to create professional-looking eBooks! So many features and definitely worth having in your arsenal of tools. I save time & money with Sqribble.”
  • Pat Flanagan, Author and Marketer – “Sqribble’s template-driven process really makes it a snap for designers and non-designers alike to produce pro-quality marketing materials, ebooks, and lead magnets.”

As these users confirm, Sqribble can be an amazing tool for the people who know how to use it.

  • You want to convert your free blogs into detailed eBooks and put them up for sale? Sqribble has you covered!
  • You want to market a brand or product by creating detailed product guides and reviews in a professional format? Sqribble is perfect for that.
  • Do you want to mass-create eBooks on a regular basis to boost your portfolio as a professional eBook creator? Sqribble is the best cloud-based eBook creator in the market for you.
  • You want to generate lead magnets and build your mailing network? Create eBooks effortlessly with Sqribble and boost your personal brand value!

As you can see, there are several benefits of using this eBook creator

This tool is unique and the best of its kind in the market.

So, if you are planning to try out this tool read this next section carefully.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Sqribble

Let’s be clear, I am not trying to sell you Sqribble.

I have been completely honest about the things I liked and disliked about this software.

Even though I was relatively surprised with my purchase from Sqribble’s official website, here are some things I wish I knew before I made my purchase:

1) Use the trial version first

I was hasty and wanted to access all the premium features as quickly as possible. 

So after just hours of using the trial version, I upgraded my account.

However, if you are not in a hurry like I was to create professional eBooks, it would be best for you to try the trial version for at least a couple of days

The trial period costs only $3 and lasts for 7 days which should be enough time for you to make an informed purchase decision.

2) Search for affiliate sellers

Affiliate sellers can provide you with coupons that will give you discounts on the product. 

You can save a lot by using the coupons these affiliate marketers provide (just like the one you’re reading).

3) Offers

The product is still in its launch phase so it is currently available at a discounted rate instead of its actual price. 

Make a purchase before this period ends. Also, look for offer periods. 

Sqribble is quite generous at offering discounts on special days (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) so make the most out of these offers.

4) Watch Tutorials

Lastly, watch tutorials about the product and customer testimonials before you even try the free trial process.

If you have made a purchase already and are not satisfied with the product, don’t refrain from exercising your right to a 30-day payback.

My Final Verdict

If you’re a digital marketer or a member of a business or an agency that depends on online lead generation, eBook creation can be a massively beneficial marketing path for you. 

If that’s the case, there’s no better eBook creating tool other than Sqribble.

No other tool offers so many amazing formatting features.

Mass creating eBooks on a regular basis is very easy with this tool.

If you’re just experimenting with eBook creation, don’t buy Sqribble. 


..if you’re serious about building a strong body of visually appealing long-format text content, this tool will be ideal for you.

Ready to get started?

Click on the link below to get started right away!



Is the Grass Really Greener…?


The public wrangling of the past few months over whether Minnesota’s competitive glass is half full or half empty has left me a little confused. You would think that in the midst of one of the best economies ever we would take time to celebrate the successes of our business community.

Instead, there is a fear that Minnesota has not been keeping pace with many other parts of the country in what is being referred to as the New Economy.

This concern is the result of several recent reports indicating that Minnesota is lagging in venture capital investment and entrepreneurial activity. But it’s important that we keep a sense of perspective.

We need to recognize that for more than a century, Minnesota has maintained its position as a leading center of commerce in the United States because of its diverse, balanced economy—not because of a particular technological edge.

Competitiveness in technology has historically been cyclical in nature and no community or geographic area has held a long-term stranglehold. For instance, a decade ago, the predictions were that Japan’s technological leadership was going to dominate the world.

During the 1990s, both Austin, Texas and San Francisco suffered significant recessions. Today, Japan is still recovering from a long recession while both Austin and San Francisco appear to be flourishing.

We need to remind ourselves that the current e-revolution is still in the beginning stages; it is far too early to start winnowing out the winners and losers. We also need to remember that the business landscape soon will be altered by new waves of technology. 

So, before we throw ourselves into one of those ‘woe is me,’ self-deprecating, the-grass-is-greener-in-the-Silicon-Valley rants, here are some of the things you need to remember when you hear that Minnesota is losing its competitive edge:

We need to recognize that technology is more than just the Internet and dot-coms. From advanced manufacturing to agribusiness and the life sciences, new innovations are creating new companies and helping existing Minnesota firms become more competitive.

This breadth includes industry leaders Medtronic, ADC, 3M, Cargill, and Imation as well as new firms such as Optical Solutions, SurModics, Net Perceptions, DataLink, Redtagbiz, Digital River, and Zomax. This diversity has, in many ways, made us the envy of other parts of the country.

Some of the studies that gave us low marks for entrepreneurial activity rank us high in other areas. For example, the American Electronics Association’s Cyberstates Report ranks us 7th in high-tech manufacturing employment in the nation. The Progressive Policy Institute’s Technology, Innovation and New Economy Project gives us low marks for “job churning” and “gazelle” jobs, but ranks Minnesota in the top 10 states in the nation in knowledge jobs, high-tech jobs and technology in schools. 

Competitiveness is not limited to companies developing new technologies—it also comes about as the result of existing industries exploiting and applying technology that has been developed all over the globe. Moreover, the current wave of innovation in Information Technology is perfect for our business community because they are enabling technologies (i. e., they lend themselves to making existing businesses more productive). 

Minnesota companies excel at using technology as a tool for running their businesses more effectively. Just look at “old economy” firms such as Best Buy and Fingerhut that are touted as leaders in applying Internet-based technologies.

Veritas Software, one of the fastest-growing software companies in the country, plans to add some 400 employees to its Twin Cities operations, making it the company’s third largest hub in the country. In Yahoo!’s Net Life rankings of the most wired cities in the U.S., Minneapolis-St. Paul is in 8th place. These are all indications that Minnesota remains a leader in embracing Internet-based technologies.

There is, of course, concern about the low number of new companies and the lag in venture capital investment coming into Minnesota. While this part of our economy is not as dynamic as other regions, this also needs to be put into context.

Econoym Technology

Knowledge, New Ideas and “Place”

Tech economy

 I ended my last column with a prediction that the real indicator of Minnesota’s future economic health would be how quickly the state’s public and private sector leadership would translate the findings of the recent Summit on Minnesota’s economy into action.

The one immediate outcome of this event was the formation of a 21-person committee to consider ideas from the Summit and develop policy recommendations in the areas of taxes, capital development, workforce development, and higher education. While these are all critical public policy issues, they are essentially the same subjects our state has been grappling with for years.

It’s vital for us to view the issue of Minnesota’s competitiveness in the New Economy in a different context than past public policy discussions. The action needed to address these issues will probably break new ground for our state. We should not forget the original premise that generated this public debate last spring: Minnesota is not positioned to compete in the technology-based New Economy of the future.

My take as I left the Summit was that although the economy is good today, we cannot take the future for granted. Any technology-based economic development strategy will need to place a high priority on the building blocks of the New Economy-knowledge, new ideas and “place.”

So, what are some of the things we as a state can do to deal with these issues?

First, we need to recognize that creating a knowledge-based economy in many respects simply means having as many talented people in our state as we can find.

There are several approaches we can take. We can figure out better ways to keep our college graduates in Minnesota, attract people from other states or open our doors to professionals from other countries. (Iowa is developing strategies along these lines.)

If there was one message that was made loud and clear at the Summit, it is that demographic trends are decidedly not in Minnesota’s favor. There simply are not enough of us. Without people, particularly talented ones, it will be very difficult to continue to grow any kind of prosperous economy, let alone one that is based on knowledge and high-tech skills.

We need to acknowledge that the premier public institution that serves as a magnet for talent in our state is the University of Minnesota. One may disagree over the level of state investment required to support the U, but with no other research university, Federal Laboratories or private research facilities in Minnesota, we need to recognize the U’s critical role in supporting the growth of the New Economy in our state.

Taking action on keeping and attracting talent needs to be job #1.

The second component of this New Economy – new ideas – reflects the fast pace of technological change and the continuous need for companies to bring new products to market and for individuals to create new companies to keep our economy vibrant.

It is around this issue that various public sector initiatives have been proposed to accelerate the pace of new product commercialization and company formation.

These have included providing seed and/or venture capital to start-up companies, the creation of technology incubators, tax credits/incentives, commercialization of U of M technology, and the creation of an R&D Institute. While all of these ideas have potential, it’s important to remember none of these (in isolation) is a magic carpet to New Economy success.

What is important is the creation of an environment that is conducive to helping New Economy companies grow. That means any public initiative undertaken should be adequately financed and sustainable over the long haul. This is no time for pilot projects.

The third building block of this New Economy is “place.”

We used to think that because the Internet would make it possible for us to conduct business from anywhere, it would not matter where we lived. But, in fact, we are discovering that location and good quality of life are very important to workers in the New Economy.

It may come as a surprise to the many Minnesotans who joke about the weather that our quality of life is considered one of the best in the country. It’s hard to recruit people to come work in Minnesota, but once here, they generally stay.

We need to do a better job of promoting our state’s assets. Many of us see Minnesota as a wonderful vacation and tourist location, but we also should be marketing ourselves as a major technology center and as a good place to live and raise a family.

Knowledge, new ideas and place – all three of these building blocks of the New Economy are connected. As we begin reviewing policies to address our competitiveness, we need to remember to develop them within this overall context.

And we need to get moving RIGHT NOW!

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WordPress Technology In Greater Minnesota Campaign

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Minnesota Technology conducted an extensive survey of business leaders throughout greater Minnesota, tapping the perspectives of the region’s economic development leaders and general citizenry as well.

Capturing the viewpoints of 704 individuals, the survey components included a fax survey and one-on-one interviews with the management of greater Minnesota growth companies, focus groups of regional business and economic development leadership, and a random telephone survey of greater Minnesota citizens.

The results complement the recommendations gleaned from other feedback initiatives, such as Minnesota Planning’s Listening Posts and DTED’s pre-Rural Summit sessions.

In brief, these conclusions are: Top managers of Minnesota’s rural manufacturing and technology-based companies are strongly committed to keeping their companies in greater Minnesota.

Despite some of the difficulties of doing business in more remote areas of the state, 90% of the survey participants affirmed their intentions to keep their businesses in greater Minnesota. Less than 2% disagreed, while 8 % were neutral. Focus group participants and interviewees affirmed this commitment to greater Minnesota.

Geographical amenities and lifestyle were called out as strong competitive advantages in attracting workers and appeared to play heavily into company leaders’ reasons for locating in greater Minnesota.

This commitment evidences a strong foundation within the industry for the continued diversification of the greater Minnesota economy. 9/11/00 3:10 PM Manufacturing and technology-based companies are recognized as fundamental to the growth of a diversified, greater Minnesota economy.

Business leaders overwhelmingly said manufacturing is the primary driver of economic success in their region. When asked to characterize the companies that lead to growth, respondents most frequently looked to companies that have institutionalized the use of technology.

This finding echoes similar observations made by citizen participants and economic development officials in Minnesota Planning’s Listening Posts and DTED’s preRural Summit. In fact, technology was called out as a top priority at the pre-Rural Summit sessions.

Economic development officials also noted that the fastest-growing companies in their regions were those that had made substantial investments in technology. And when asked in which industries they would like to see more jobs in their town, 81% of phone survey respondents said manufacturing. Seventy percent also hoped to see more jobs in Information Technology, despite the fact that only 21% said their town depends on IT now.


Laying the foundation for a technology-based regional economy


On May 1, 2020, Technology Plus Center, a private 501 (c)(3) organization, moved into the 63,000 square-foot office building it purchased in late 1999.

Located in northeast Mankato within the Eastwood Industrial Park, Technology Plus Center is midway through its implementation schedule and is beginning to look and act very much like an epicenter of technological growth and development.

Since May, the project has focused on work related to its first phase —establishing anchor tenants and remodeling for the classroom, business, incubator and community use.

As of November, it is continuing to remodel as well as lay the groundwork for phase two —the establishment of a satellite community access center in downtown Mankato. 

Project staff point with pride to several accomplishments.

Technology Plus Center has secured its own 24,000 square-foot space, nearly completed the building’s telecommunications wiring, renovated and leased 25,000 square feet to the building’s previous owner (a company that was planning to relocate its 100 employees out of the area), secured office space for Minnesota Technology, Inc. and the Institute for Wireless Education, settled three incubator companies within the building, housed two ongoing student projects involving 3M in St. Paul and Brown Printing in Waseca, and is negotiating leases with enough companies to fill the remaining 12,000 square feet set aside for full-paying anchor tenants by early next year.

More Than Just a Building

The project got its formal launch in 1998 when it received a $4.5 million state grant.

An additional $4.5 million in local matching funds brought the budget to $9 million, and the project proceeded to form a nine-member steering committee representing businesses, government agencies, institutions of higher learning, public entities, and secondary and elementary schools.

This committee, in turn, hired Dr. Layne Hopkins, a newly retired Minnesota State University computer science professor, to head up the project.

But the project’s actual history dates back as far as 1989. Dr. Hopkins, who was one of those advocating the idea of a technology center, remembers the early skepticism.

“Back then,” he says, “everyone just laughed.” But during the 1990s, Mankato began to emerge as a center for cutting-edge wireless technology, helping to facilitate partnerships and initiatives linking academic and technical institutions in both Mankato and Finland.

Mankato’s reputation as a region responsive to the high-tech needs of the business community and supportive of creative academic/industry partnerships continued to grow, providing the basis for Technology Plus Center’s present successes.

Dr. Hopkins emphasizes the importance of the center’s synergistic role —its ability to bring technology players together, allow them to explore mutual areas of interest, and spark a variety of new initiatives.