Red Wing, MN

Red Wing, MN

Technology Strengthens Community in Red Wing, Minnesota

Red Wing Ignite fuels economic development by providing workspaces, networking opportunities, and events and programming—all supported by gigabit internet access—to local residents involved in key sectors of the community.


Entrepreneurs, businesses, and students in today’s world have one thing in common: the more advanced technology they have at their fingertips, the more likely they are to thrive. With that commonality as a starting point, Red Wing Ignite brings these groups together in its industrious namesake town along the majestic Mississippi River to create a diverse and dynamic business community ecosystem, where ideas are shared and resources are optimized.

Thanks to key technology partner Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC), the City of Red Wing, and the additional supporting organizations making it possible, this tech hub for the greater Minnesota area is uniquely positioned to develop smart gigabit applications addressing local community needs. And the impact covers more than just one community.

HBC’s fiber optic transport ring connects more than twenty southern Minnesota cities with multiple 10 GB and 100 GB backbones—the technology that Red Wing is currently leveraging to spur innovation. And the end result of the innovation? Local and regional economic development through new company creation and job expansion. At the end of the chain, the benefit goes not only to Red Wing residents, but to folks throughout the region.

As a rural community with a population of 16,526, Red Wing offers a unique perspective within the growing body of SGCs around the country. The gigabit applications and related services developed in Red Wing could likely be deployed in small towns across the country with similar environmental conditions. Because no matter where you are in America—from the coastal hotbeds of innovation to tight-knit communities on the Mississippi—when like-minded people get together to share ideas for the application of new technology, great things happen.

Ground-Level Impact: Prairie Island Community’s Tribal Lands

The nearby Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island nuclear generating station is located adjacent to the Prairie Island Indian Community’s Tribal lands. In 2003, Xcel gained legislative authority in Minnesota to expand the number of radioactive waste casks on site. The legislature granted the request, but required the company to make greater use of renewable energy in generating power, such as wind power. For this reason, applications making clean energy more efficient would add value to the Red Wing area in particular.

Locally, Red Wing was an innovative adaptor of municipally developed solar power, installing 217-kW of solar at six sites around the city in 2013. An application that leveraged this power would make a big difference in this small community.