The state of Minnesota is heavily investing in keeping industries and jobs safely in the state. As a result of this, they have teamed up with the SSBCI – State Small Business Credit Initiative; to create a funding pool to assist businesses in maintaining these goals.

There are many resources available thanks to the DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development.) However, we will be focusing on two that are most pertinent to our industry and clientele.

Before you consider applying, I recommend reviewing the web page and reaching out to someone at DEED. This article is an attempt to digest the information into a better readable format and you should consult with a DEED representative to verify your eligibility. 

Resources and Links

Automation Loan Participation Program

The ALPP is a companion loan program meant to gap fill financing requests for Automation Technology to be incorporated in Minnesota-based businesses.

These loans are a secondary source of financing AFTER a lead lender has indicated the limits of their financing. 


The Loan Terms

The state of Minnesota will financially assist you by partaking in your loan to acquire new automation technology.

The Loan Amount is Up To $500,000.

1% Interest Rate on a 5 to 7-Year Term.

Payments MAY be Deferred 6 to 12 Months

The Loan Qualifications

Business Size is Less Than 750 Employees

Business Type Must Be Manufacturing, Distribution, Technology, or Warehousing


Purchasing Requirements

  • The Purchase Must Be Machinery, Equipment, or Software that Increases Productivity and Automation.
  • The above must not already be purchased (this is not a reimbursement.)
  • The facility must be located in Minnesota.
Lead Lender Qualifications

The Loan is Done WITH A Lead Lender such as another Financial Institution

  • Lead Lender Financing Must Not Be Closed
  • The Lead Lender Must Not Be Able to Cover What is Being Requested from the State
  • The Lead Lender Must Agree to Cooperate and Share Information with the DEED
  • If the Lead Lender So Chooses, They May Request that the DEED take a subordinate position on collateral.
The Fund Restrictions

These Loans are a 1:1 Private Financing Match.

A Qualified Financial Institution Must Front the First Half of the Investment.

The Funds May Not Be Used For Existing Debt

12 USC 5704(e)(7)(A)(i)(II) Loan Restrictions
Funds May Not Be Used For:

  • Repaying Delinquent Federal or State Income Taxes unless a Payment Plan is Already in Place With a Relevant Taxing Authority (see SSBCI Policy Guidelines.)
  • Repaying Taxes Held in Trust or Escrow
  • Reimbursing Owners for Startup Costs
  • Purchase Portions of Ownership Interest of any Owner of the Business.
  • Refinancing Existing or New Debt as a Result of THIS Project

Automation Training Incentive Program

The ALPP is a companion loan program meant to gap fill financing requests for Automation Technology to be incorporated in Minnesota-based businesses.

These loans are a secondary source of financing AFTER a lead lender has indicated the limits of their financing. 


Geographic Requirements

Business Must Be Located in Greater Minnesota, read as: Not in the Metro.

Excluded Counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota*, Hennepin*, Ramsey, Scott*, and Washington. If your county is not listed, then you already partially qualify.

* = Cities that are Eligible for the Grant but Located Within Excluded Counties = Cannon Falls, Hanover, New Prague, Northfield, and Rockford.

The Business Requirements

Must have 150 or FEWER full-time employees company-wide. (32+ hours of work per week is Full-Time.)

The Business Commits to Retaining the Jobs of those Being Trained for a Period of One year Post-Completion of Training.

The Business is an employer in manufacturing or skilled assembly production (Food packaging, metal, composites, medical, aerospace, etc.)


The Job itself must be a permanent, full-time job that pay wages of at least ~120% federal poverty guidelines for a family of four.

As of 2022. ~$33,300 per year ($16.01 per hour, 2080-hour work year, on a 40-hour work, week. )

Program Requirements

Business Must Pay a $500 Application Fee, Payable upon Approval.

The Business has Invested in Automation Technology in the past 6 months or plans to invest within the project timeframe.

The Business must prove that its training cannot be met through the MJSP Grant.

Training Must Be a Minimum of Two Jobs for a minimum request of $10,000

Must Intend for Training to Begin within six months of award date. Extensions can be granted at DEED’s discretion.

The application Must Identify the Training to be Provided for each job Category, Projected Costs, Expected Outcomes, and a timeline for the training.

Automation Related to this Project Must Will Not Result in the Dislocation of Workers.

Fiscal Year for 2023 = 07/01/2022 to 06/30/2023.

Training For this Period Must Be Completed By June 30, 2024.

Training Program Eligibility

Eligible Training

  • Advanced Technical Skill Training
  • Industry Specific Equipment including New Automation Systems
  • Process/Quality Related Training
  • Safety Training
  • Maintenance of the Automation Equipment
  • Train-The-Trainer
  • Other Business-Specific Training Deemed Appropriate by DEED.
  • Technical Language Training
  • Computer and Technological Skills Training for New Automation Equipment

Ineligible Training

  • Company Orientation Type Training
  • Pre-Employment Training
  • Training Not Directly Related to the Automation Equipment or Technology
Eligibility Scoring System

Eligibility of Scoring must Reach at Least a Total of 30.

  • Training Will Result in Retention of Jobs at Risk (5 points.)
  • Business Located in a Designated Geography meeting the Economic Distress Criteria* (5 points)
  • Business Size (2-10 Points. The smaller, the more points. 150 full time employees = 2 points, 20 people ~= 10 points.)
  • Wage Rates (2-10 Points)
  • Wage Increases as a Result of the Training (5 Points)
  • Voluntary Benefits Provided at a Value of $2 per hour or more (5 points.)
  • Training For People of color, economically disadvantaged people, or people with disabilities. (0-10 points)
  • Specific Recruitment/Retention Strategy for People Listed Above (5 points)
  • Project Leverages Private Funds (0-10 points)
  • Return on State Investment (0-10 Points)
  • Training on New Automation Will Result in an Industry Recognized Skill Certification (5-10 Points)
  • Training Provided by an Accredited Educational Institution/Training Provider (5 Points)
  • Business is Incorporating New Information Technology Solutions (5 Points)
Reporting Requirements

DEED would like reports at the conclusion of the training and at the conclusion of the one-year post-training period.

  • The report must contain a narrative overview of the progress made.
  • Information on resulting certificates for trainees
  • Number of employees trained and retained
  • Wage rates and demographics of trainees
  • Financial report of projected costs with supporting documentation
  • Payroll report for the trainees
  • A signed document from each trainee and trainer confirming a training took place.

The one-year post-report will include outcomes of the training, projected growth, business outcomes, and overall program efficacy. Additionally, there are sections allotted for suggestions for improvements to the program.

How Does Minnesota Define Automation Technology?

For both of the above programs, they have the same definitions for Automation Technology. We are posting what the state defins as automation technology while also providing context and examples of what products may fall under those categories.

Video Coming Soon

How is automation defined?

“Automation technology is a process or procedure performed with minimal human assistance. Automation or automatic control is the use of various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories or other applications with minimal or reduced human intervention. Adoption, implementation and utilization of any one of three types of automation in production are acceptable for consideration of this program, including, (1) fixed automation, (2) programmable automation, and (3) flexible automation.”

Fixed Automation

“also known as “hard automation,” refers to an automated production facility in which the sequence of processing operations is fixed by the equipment configuration. In effect, the programmed commands are contained in the machines in the form of cams, gears, wiring, and other hardware that is not easily changed over from one product style to another. This form of automation is characterized by high initial investment and high production rates. It is therefore suitable for products that are made in large volumes.”

Some Products We Perceive to Be Categorized as Fixed Automation

Extrusion, Actuators, Gearboxes, Bowl Feeders.

Programmable Automation

“is a form of automation for producing products in batches. The products are made in batch quantities ranging from several dozen to several thousand units at a time. For each new batch, the production equipment must be reprogrammed and changed over to accommodate the new product style. This reprogramming and changeover take time to accomplish, and there is a period of nonproductive time followed by a production run for each new batch.”

Some Products We Perceive to Be Categorized as Programmable Automation

Robots, Conveyors, Drives, PLCs

Flexible Automation

“is an extension of programmable automation. In flexible automation, the variety of products is sufficiently limited so that the changeover of the equipment can be done very quickly and automatically. The reprogramming of the equipment in flexible automation is done off-line; that is, the programming is accomplished at a computer terminal without using the production equipment itself.”

Some Products We Perceive to Be Categorized as Programmable Automation

Robots, Conveyors, Drives, PLCs – Can all fit in category three.

Asyrils Asycube and Flexible Feeding Technology we feel firmly fits in category three.