Official promotes partnerships with Germany

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Karen Develle, executive director for the Minnesota chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, stopped by the office of The Journal Wednesday during her visit to New Ulm.

NEW ULM — A new partnership between New Ulm and the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) could increase local business.

Wednesday, Karen Develle, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the GACC of the Midwest, visited city officials and made tentative plans to work with New Ulm.

“Our mission statement is to foster and promote trade between Germany and Minnesota,” Develle said. “That is the basis of it.”

She met with New Ulm Chamber President and CEO Audra Shaneman and discussed setting up a bus to bring GACC members down for Oktoberfest in the fall.

Develle also met with the Economic Development Director Brian Tohal, who discussed incentives to start a business in New Ulm.

“He was telling me about the various benefits that are offered to new businesses opening up something in New Ulm; the tremendous tax breaks or grant possibilities which I will take back to the Minnesota chapter and to Chicago,” Develle said.

She said she would share the information with Chicago, which is the headquarters of the Midwest division of GACC.

Develle is the only staffer at the Minnesota chapter. She mostly serves as the first contact for Minnesotans looking to export to Germany or German companies looking to expand in Minnesota.

For example, if Schell’s Brewery decided it wanted to sell its beer in Germany, it could contact Develle to connect with experts on international trade.

GACC operates as an Auslander Handelskammern (AHK) which roughly translates to foreign chambers of commerce.

GACC of the Midwest’s network covers 14 states in the Midwest, plus Colorado. It has about 1,800 members. GACC nationwide has about 2,800 members.

For information regarding membership, specific services and more, contact Develle at (612) 865-4170. She is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at


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