As part of its commitment to powering economic growth in the communities it serves, Great River Energy sponsored the fourth annual Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference.
Led by University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, this event brought together entrepreneurs, business leaders, economic development professionals, decision makers, and community champions from around the state to share best practices for supporting entrepreneurs as a local economic development strategy.
This year’s program featured a lineup of expert speakers who highlighted examples of how communities work successfully to support entrepreneurs, how to understand the current state of entrepreneurship in their communities, where to find resources available throughout the state, and many other useful topics.
An added feature of this year’s conference was a new track that delved deep into the minds of entrepreneurs in a variety of industries to discover what went smoothly on their journey and where they may have encountered barriers. Participants were left with new ideas and practical solutions they can implement in their communities, while forging new connections that can be leveraged to make those efforts successful.
Tom Lambrecht, Great River Energy’s manager of economic development services, attended the event and saw great value in the support systems being established for entrepreneurs around the state.
“Our team understands that entrepreneurial businesses aren’t just the lifeblood of the most rural communities we serve — small businesses are the backbone of the economy across all of Minnesota,” Lambrecht said. “Great River Energy and its member-owner cooperatives are dedicated to supporting Minnesota’s small businesses with innovative economic development programming wherever they call home.”
In addition to Great River Energy, this event was supported by the Minnesota Small Business Development Centers, Rethos, Launch Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and many other organizations.