Calyxt Chose Roseville for Strategic Growth
Choosing a location is one of the most important decisions a startup can make. The right environment can have a big influence on a company’s growth trajectory.
Roseville offers a number of strategic advantages. The city has a proactive, business-friendly stance as well as a central geographic position within the Twin Cities Metro Area. An educated workforce is easily accessible from Roseville, as is a variety of housing — from apartments and condos to starter and upscale homes.
These assets make Roseville an attractive location for business and factored into Calyxt’s decision to build its headquarters here. The consumer-centric, food ingredient company has an 11-acre site in the heart of Roseville with offices, research labs, a greenhouse and test kitchen. The expansive complex allows the company to develop products from concept to fork — all in one location.
The company's proactive approach holds promise for food products to help reduce heart disease, heart attacks and high cholesterol. Calyxt is pioneering healthier food ingredients such as high oleic soybean oil with zero grams of trans fat per serving and about 80 percent oleic content (as is typical in healthier oils like olive oil). It's also working on a high fiber wheat with three times the beneficial dietary fiber as conventional wheat flours.
Chief Commercial Officer Manoj Sahoo notes that Roseville’s central Twin Cities location is an advantage because all of Calyxt’s employees can “work together on one site, including those in R&D, intellectual property management, supply chain, food applications, administration, finance and general management.”
Calyxt’s innovative gene-editing technology was invented at the University of Minnesota and started out of a garage there. Close distance to this academic institution and presence within the Twin Cities area, which is a major hub for food companies, is a boon for business, according to Sahoo. “The location allows us to attract talent from the University of Minnesota because of its close proximity,” he says. Sahoo also praised Roseville’s range of housing options, noting they’re an “attractive sell to talent from outside of the state.”
The City of Roseville has been an advocate for the company since the beginning. “We’re proud Calyxt chose to locate in Roseville,” says Jeanne Kelsey, Roseville’s housing and economic development program manager. The city worked with the company throughout the permitting process and gave it $400,000 in environmental remediation grant funds to help clean up its site before construction began, according to Kelsey.
Sahoo is also pleased with the partnership. “We’ve had a great experience working with the city. The permitting process to build our headquarters was fast, enabling Calyxt to complete the project on time,” he says. “We felt tremendous support from city officials during the commissioning of the site and have felt continued support by the city’s police and fire departments, as well as other services in the area.”
It’s a mutually beneficial situation. The city assisted Calyxt in applying for $1.5 million in DEED job creation funds. In exchange for the grant funding, the company has committed to creating a variety of permanent, full-time jobs in Roseville. As of December 2018, the company had 50 employees. Additional jobs will be created in the future as the company grows.
Kelsey says the city is working with the company on talent recruitment and is pleased that Calyxt is creating jobs for all levels of trained professionals, from administrative staff to lab technicians, sales staff, research scientists and more. The average salary of jobs the company is bringing in is about $62,000 per year, with a range from $40,000 to $120,000.
“We look forward to a continued partnership with Calyxt,” says Kelsey. “We are happy to share its success story and are open to helping the company solve any future challenges to its growth.”
The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.