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Super Bowl Host Committee Awarding Grants To Community Groups

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Super Bowl 52 is now 11 months away. But some people are already celebrating its outcome.

Well before the final two football teams are chosen, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is choosing local winners.

Each week over the next year, the committee is giving out thousands of dollars in grants to groups working with children and families. They are also getting small business owners ready to take advantage of the opportunities to come.

This group means business. They are small business owners, learning what they have to do to compete for those lucrative Super Bowl contracts.

The Business Connect Workshop is organized by the NFL and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

BJ Waymer works with NFL Business Connect.

"You will find people who are doing fencing, signage or kindering, or they make the pins that we wear. All of those things will be needed when we come in for the Super Bowl," Waymer said.

The NFL is reaching out to businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and members of the LGBT community.

"You must have experience. You have to be good at what you do," Waymer said.

Robert Battle is the owner of B&L Supply in St. Paul.

"They are going to have to shop local. It's going to create a heck of an opportunity for us to participate. They are pretty much laying out how to do it from A to Z," he said.

Since the Super Bowl in Houston ended and the countdown to Minneapolis started, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee has awarded grants to community groups here every week. Last week, they gave a $100,000 check to the St. Paul Parks and Recreation department.

The money will be used to build courts at two rec centers so kids can play a game that's popular among southeast Asian children.

Mike Hahm is the director of St. Paul Parks and Recreation.

"For our visitors and residents who want to play Sepak Takraw this sends a strong message or incentive to come into our park system, use it and feel welcome," Hahm said.

This week, the city of Faribault received a $49,000 grant to build a new playground and other safe spaces.

As for the NFL Business Connect Program, the application deadline is April 1. Only about 350 businesses meeting the criteria will be chosen.

There are 56 categories, including florists, caterers, artists, snow removal workers and tent makers, and you must have at least three years of experience as a business owner.

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