Forging our Entrepreneur Ecosystem
At the Entrepreneur Summit, education, business, government, and community leaders and stakeholders will converge, to focus on creatively fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in our MNwest region.
In these opportunity-rich, technologically transformative times, leaning in together to shape and strengthen our regional entrepreneur ecosystem is important. The Summit brings businesses and communities, idea generators and critical thinking innovators, colleges and high schools together to lean in, with students and startups, in embracing this opportunity!
Join the Journey
Our regional Innovation and Entrepreneurial history is strong. With insights from that foundation, we can and are creating the next Legacy Companies.
Virtually all of us carry an Entrepreneurial Spirit. (Lemonade stands, sweet corn or used toy sales provide early evidence!) If we keep that spirit alive and adopt a positive, problem-solving mindset – an Entrepreneurial Mindset, we can Forge an Entrepreneur Ecosystem in our MNwest region that will benefit all of us and our communities. Let’s do it Together!
Entrepreneur Summit News
Blog Posts with Gather Town agenda updates, speaker and company backgrounds, and regional entrepreneurship stories will be shared frequently in the days ahead. See the first Founder Insights company background blog, which is posted now!
Whether you are invested in your community as a City, County or School Administrator, as a City, County or School Board Elected Official, as a Student, or as a Community Stakeholder from Main Street, from Manufacturing, from the Ag Sector or as a Retiree, the Summit brings pertinent content.
Make Connections! Talk with company founders, meet Launch MN leadership, learn about
entrepreneurial support opportunities and about funding resources that are available.
Make Connections! Talk with company founders, meet Launch MN leadership, learn about entrepreneurial support opportunities and about funding resources that are available, that could be collaboratively pursued, or that could be developed to increase regional startup financing.
See Program Detail below.
Participate in the pre-program, during-program, and post-program networking through the interactive Gather Town platform. Gather Town enables effective, fun, and easy virtual networking. A practice opportunity will be sent upon Summit Registration! Register Early.
The Entrepreneur Summit brings the opportunity to envision what your future career could be. It, also, offers the opportunity to meet innovation and entrepreneurship supporting Sponsors.
Summit content will be concise. The Virtual settings provide the opportunity to hear presenters share lessons learned and experience-based insights during the morning sessions.
Summit content will be concise. The Virtual settings provide the opportunity to hear presenters share lessons learned and experience-based insights during the morning sessions. The opportunity to learn from others, be it through listening, partnering, or mentoring, advances business success. Founder Insights will be shared throughout the Summit, as will replicable approaches to Main Street Development and innovative problem-solving.
See Program Detail and Presenters below.
The Entrepreneur Summit program is designed to provide all attendees both New Information and Actionable Insights for their businesses, communities and personal life planning.
The Entrepreneur Summit program is designed to provide all attendees both New Information and Actionable Insights for their businesses, communities, and personal life planning. Whether you are invested in your community as a City, County or School Administrator, as a City, County or School Board Elected Official, as a Student, or as a Community Stakeholder from Main Street, from Manufacturing, from the Ag Sector or as a Retiree, the Summit brings pertinent content.
Meet MNwest Founders from High School to Main Street during the early afternoon Founder Presentations. Envision the present and future potential of the region!
See Speakers below.
MNwest Entrepreneur Summit
Showcasing & Supporting MNwest Startups
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Virtual – Through Zoom & Gather Town
Bring your coffee, explore Gather Town, meet friends, discover resources and their providers, connect with sponsors and learn about the regional and global reach of Grand Farm and Autonomous Nation!
8:00 – 8:40 (Gather Town will be accessible at 7:30) Gather Town Link:
Dr. Kumara L. Jayasuriya, President, Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU)
- Scott Marquardt, Senior Vice President, Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF)
- Kivu Immigration Law – Erin Schutte Wadzinski, Founder – Worthington
- Action Manufacturing – Tim Swenson, Founder – Marshall
- D I Labs – Carl Douglass, Co-Founder – Spicer
Kevin Kouba, Economic Development Manager for Otter Tail Power (Sponsor and Intro)
- Southwest Private Industry Council – Eriann Faris, Youth Program Manager
- Cansayapi (Lower Sioux) Community / Cankuya Construction Trades – Jesse Kodet, Educational Coordinator Lower Sioux Agency
The Big Store Fueled Minnesota’s 1st Century – and – Sparked its 2nd !
- Society for the Preservation of Minnesota’s Heritage (SPMH) – Nancy Dilley, Pres. M. Pub. Lib.
- Area Development of Minnesota (ADOM) – Kevin Anundson – State Farm Insurance
- Hometown Kitchen and Bath – Nadine Kor, Founder and Proprietor
Main Street Vitality – Representative Chris Swedzinski – District 16A
Historic Reuse – Fiscal Resources – Representative Dean Urdahl – District 18A
Community Planning and Technical Assistance
SW MN Housing Partnership – James Arentson, Architect
Conference fatigue is a common problem for attendees who sit for a long time at meetings and conferences. Muscles tighten and posture becomes slouched.
This affects the brain as much as the body. We encourage you to take five minutes to stand and stretch.
Dr. George Taylor, CIES Director, Professor SMSU, Author: Blessed Strategy
Rebecca Weber, Dean of Student Services, Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Joshua Haag, Principal, Moorhead Area Career Academy
Tom Hoff, Career & Technology Education Program Coordinator, SWWC Service Cooperative
Advancing + Celebrating the Potential of Unlikely Entrepreneurs & The Academic Impact of Middle School Entrepreneur Mindset Curriculum
Gary Schoeniger, Co-Author & CEO, Entrepreneur Learning Initiative, International Speaker
Northwest Minnesota Foundation – Mic McCrory, Program Specialist, SBDC & Idea Competition
- ILT Studios/Academy, Nick Tietz, Founder & CEO
- gBETA St. Cloud/Greater MN, Joe Sullivan, Director
- MN Cup, Jessica Berg, Director
Erica Volkir, Pipestone Chamber of Commerce
Jay Trusty, Executive Director, Southwest Regional Development Commission
Learn more about these Resource Providers and meet them, the presenters we have just heard and greet each other in Gather Town! We will reconvene here on Zoom at 11:25.
Neela Mollgaard, Director
- Shannon Schlecht – Executive Director, Agricultural Utilization Resources Institute (AURI)
- Bruce Tiffany – Tiffany Family Farms
- Scott Schwalbe – CEO & Co-Founder Nimbelink
- Patrick Donohue – Hill Capital Corporation, President & CEO
- Bruce Gjovig – CEO Emeritus UND Innovation Center & Entrepreneur Coach
- Steve Perkins – Perkins Consulting
- Andrew Gag – USDA
- Tom Geiger – Heritage Bank NA, Chairman and West Central Angel Fund, Investor
- Zach Robins – Messerli & Kramer
- Innovative Entrepreneurs of North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota – 150 Years of Impact! Chapter 35: “Eugene Dahl – Melroe Bobcat 1950, Steiger Tractor 1969”
- Hiram Drache & Bruce Gjovig, Authors
- Breakout Valuation – Accessing Capital to Grow, Patrick Donohue, Author
Shane Johnson, Southern Minnesota Region President, Bremer Bank
Lyft Career Pathways
SW MN CEO
Lois Josefson, Greater Minnesota Development Services, LLC
Craig Oftedahl, Superintendent, ISD 2184, Luverne & Coordinating Founder of SW MN CEO
Own Social and CEO Pilot
Katie Baustain, Facilitator SW MN CEO and Trevor Laughlin, Co-CreateX Co-Founder
Madison Mercantile – Hometown Magic!
Lois Josefson, GMDS & David Neville, President, Minnesota Innovates
Glenn Thuringer – Investor Relations & Economic Development Professional
From Enjoyable Interest to SMB – the Journey
Seed & Stem – Lauren Weg – SMSU Alum
SMSU – Student Founders & SMSU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Dr. George Taylor, Director CIE & Dr. Doug Simon, Sam Walton Fellow Enactus
Invitation to Network in Gather Town at 1:50
Dr. George Taylor, Director Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Alex Cabrera, Possibility Business
Jerry Covington, Director, Minnesota Innovates