Our Ultimate Guide to MN Accelerators (in partnership with Launch Minnesota) is full of useful information, but we wanted to spotlight a few programs in particular to show off a bit of the bright entrepreneurial spirit in the state. Here’s Red Wing Ignite.

blue divider

Igniting Entrepreneurial Potential

Stacy Nimmo

Stacy Nimmo

There’s a lot to be said about gaining a competitive edge in the business world. When it comes to enabling early-stage entrepreneurs, however, there’s much more to be gained through cooperation instead.

Through Red Wing Ignite’s E1 (Entrepreneurs First) Collaborative, entrepreneurs have access to a network of 14 partners in the Southeast region ranging from agricultural specialists to medical technology. For Stacy Nimmo, Red Wing Ignite’s Executive Director, that web of resources is the core of the organization’s strength.

“We’re able to leverage the strength of the individual organizations and their particular focus,” Nimmo said. “And also the strengths of the various individuals that make up those organizations and what their backgrounds and connections are.”

The collaborative represents a new era of developing entrepreneurial talent. Before, there was a greater focus on keeping talent to a specific city or region. Shannan Harris, Program Director at Red Wing Ignite, said the times they are a-changin’.

“We all, historically, were very comfortable with that,” Harris said of the tendency to focus on proprietary talent. “Everyone has had to let go of some of that in order for the entrepreneur to succeed and the region to succeed.”

Both women agree that networks like the E1 Collaborative are going to be crucial for fostering Minnesota entrepreneurs going forward, especially for regions that aren’t equipped with the density of resources like the Twin Cities metro.

“Everyone has had to let go of some of [the focus on proprietary talent in order for the entrepreneur to succeed and the region to succeed.” — Shannan Harris

“The reality is [the Southeast region] will never be an urban entrepreneur ecosystem,” Nimmo said. “But our goal is to grow as a rural entrepreneur ecosystem, and our goal as a rural entrepreneur ecosystem is to meet the needs of rural entrepreneurs which are distinctly different from those who may be living in an urban area.”

blue divider

Eager to learn more about Minnesota accelerators? Check out our other accelerator spotlights!

Vodka & Vaccines — University Enterprise Labs
St. Cloud Connection — gBETA Greater MN St. Cloud