Minnesota

The Bold North

These Minnesota changemakers are part of the problem-solving capital of the new economy. They define what it means to forge north.

Cohort Opportunity at Lunar Startups, with Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer

Lunar Startups creates opportunities and access for underestimated entrepreneurs. The deadline to apply to Cohort 2 is January 13. Danielle Steer, Managing Director of Lunar Startups, describes the events leading to the formation of their organization as a “serendipitous perfect storm.” In 2017, the Knight Foundation became interested in supporting underrepresented, underserved entrepreneurs, such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ entrepreneurs. Around this same period, the late Glen Nelson bequeathed a gift to help American Public Media to invest in the future of journalism. This led to the launch of the Glen Nelson Center. Also, around this same time, Ecolab moved their global headquarters, leaving their former building vacant….

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Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 4 with Caroline Karanja, 26 Letters

26 Letters helps organizations put data and action behind their equity initiatives. A recruiter for a Fortune 500 company once told me, “Minnesota is one of the hardest places to recruit people to. It’s also one of the hardest places to recruit people from.” Once people experience Minnesota, it’s hard to leave. And no wonder. Nineteen Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota home. The startup scene is strong. The annual Twin Cities Startup Week attracts thousands of people. Look at almost any ranking of states and cities, and you’ll find Minnesota near the top. The Trust for Public Land ranked Minneapolis first in large city park systems. And in second place,…

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The Power of Telling Your Secret, with Aneela Idnani Kumar, HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet to help manage Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). For 20 years, Aneela Idnani Kumar had a secret. She spent her life in shame and embarrassment. One day, unexpectedly, her secret came to light. This moment transformed her life, and in the process, helped thousands of others. Aneela grew up in a somewhat atypical Indian American household. “My parents came to this country in the 1970s with $500 and one suitcase. They made their way to upper middle class. My mom broke away from tradition as a dentist with her professional practice. In contrast, my father worked primarily from a home office and was in charge…

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Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 2, Danielle Wojdyla, Señoras de Salsa

Señoras de Salsa makes bold, authentic Mexican salsa that generates income for Latina women. Latina women suffer from the largest pay gap of any group. According to the latest report from the US Department of Labor, the average median weekly earnings for a white man is $1,004. In that same period, white women earned $825, or 82% of a white man’s earnings. Latino men earned $722, or 72%, while Latina women earned $612, or 62%. Danielle Wojdyla, Founder of Señoras de Salsa, cares deeply about this issue. “We don’t all have the same opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she says. “Women get messages all the time,…

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Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 1, Precious Drew, Perk: The Natural Beauty Lab

Perk: The Natural Beauty Lab upcycles fair-trade, used coffee grounds from local coffee shops to create natural skincare products. Precious Drew’s reserved, yet bubbly personality naturally attracts people to her. Yet, she has a bit of a contrarian streak. “I’ve always challenged the norm and enjoyed debates arguing the less-popular opinion, whether I agreed with it or not,” Precious says. “I liked the challenge of being able to fully understand and argue for opinions I don’t exactly agree with.” Precious likes to defy expectations. “I grew up in a household with seven siblings: six older brothers and one younger sister. I never really followed what my brothers did. From a…

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Software to Improve Recovery Outcomes, with Melissa Kjolsing Lynch, Recovree

Recovree’s technology-based platform is designed to increase engagement and improve outcomes for those with substance use disorder. When it comes to substance use disorder, it’s easy to focus on the negative. You’ve seen the headlines. Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. Nearly 21 million Americans have a substance use problem. And more than 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. And, of course, the cost of abuse goes beyond the headlines. It is likely that you or someone in your extended family has suffered from the harmful effects of addiction. But this story is not about substance use disorder, addiction, and destruction. This is…

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Announcing Four Guests for Social Entrepreneur Live!

Social Entrepreneur Live! Four entrepreneurs. Fifteen-minute interviews in front of a live audience. Answering your questions. Today, we’re announcing the names of the four entrepreneurs who will be interviewed for the Social Entrepreneur Live event on October 10, 2018. They are: Precious Drew, PERK: The Natural Beauty Lab Danielle Wojdyla, Señoras de Salsa Aneela Idnani, HabitAware Caroline Karanja, 26 Letters We’ll interview these four world-changing entrepreneurs, live in front of an audience. The entrepreneurs will take questions from you. Here’s how you get into Social Entrepreneur Live First, order a Twin Cities Startup Week ticket on Eventbrite. NOTE: You’ll have to do this before you can sign up for the scheduled events. Following that, you will…

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Closing the Adult Education Gap for Employers and Employees, with Ned Zimmerman-Bence, GogyUp

GogyUp removes language barriers from the workplace. According to the most recent report from the US Department of Labor, there are currently 6.9 million job openings in the US. In the last month alone, job openings in nondurable goods manufacturing increased by more than 30,000. Businesses are finding it difficult to find qualified employees who can meet the rigors of technical qualifications. At the same time, 36 million US adults read below the 3rd-grade level. And 90 million adults struggle to read technical writing. Yet, only 5% have access to the instruction that they need. That’s where GogyUp comes in. Their Employment Literacy System (ELS) is a tool for on-boarding,…

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Developing Young Entrepreneurs, with Dario Otero, Youth Lens 360

Youth Lens 360 is a for-profit marketing company that works with youth. Youth Lens 360 provides visual communication, product marketing, and branding services through the lens of youth ages 14-24. Dario Otero, the founder of Youth Lens 360, has seen first-hand how the education system does not support, nurture or value entrepreneurial thinking. “I’ve found in my teaching and leadership experience that underrecognized youth of color have a naturally creative and resourceful entrepreneurial spirit. That gets ignored in traditional education settings,” he explains. “As a result, youth will eventually lose that capacity and enthusiasm for education. They don’t stay engaged when we don’t connect what they are learning to the real…

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Meet the FINNOVATION Fellows, with Katrina Becker

FINNOVATION Fellows are the next wave of social entrepreneurship in the Upper Midwest. Katrina Becker has been quietly working in the background of the social entrepreneurship scene in the Twin Cities. She recently joined the FINNOVATION Lab as the Fellowship Program Manager. The FINNOVATION Fellowship is a nine-month incubator and fellowship program to support impact entrepreneurs. You may have heard about the FINNOVATION Fellowship in episode 252 of Social Entrepreneur. With the launch of this program, the FINNOVATION Lab is building a powerful engine of change in the Midwest – a cohort of individuals with bold ideas and the passion for executing innovative solutions to intractable issues. In this episode,…

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