Rochester Team “Adapt-A-Cart” Wins Open Division of the Inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge


(Rochester, MN) November 3, 2018 – Adapt-A-Cart from Rochester won big in the Open division at the inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge on Saturday, November 3.  Adapt-A-Cart provides an adaption on grocery carts for the wheelchair user that is light, compact, assistive and easily attachable and detachable.  This device allows wheelchair users the opportunity to easily shop with the standard cart from the comfort of their own chair.  Adapt-A-Cart team collaborators are Rochester residents Nicholas Elliott and Cody Schmidt.  

AbleKitchen from Minneapolis placed second in the Open Division.  Vitals Aware Services, Inc. and Mobility 4 All - both from Minneapolis took top honors in the Professional Division.

First place teams in the Open and Professional divisions were awarded $5,000 by The Arc Minnesota.  Second place teams received $2,500 from the Arc Minnesota.  All first and second place teams are automatically eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Rochester, MN on December 7, 2018.

Thirteen teams came from the greater Rochester area, the Twin Cities and nationally from Naples, Florida.  University teams participating included: University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University Mankato and University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. 

The Assistive Tech Challenge was presented by Destination Medical Center Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face.

Special thanks to Fredrikson and Byron, P.A. and Home Federal for their support of the Assistive Tech Challenge.

The Assistive Tech Challenge Debuts November 3 in Rochester

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(Rochester, MN) November 1, 2018 - Destination Medical Center is pleased to introduce the Assistive Tech Challenge - a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Assistive Technology Expo 

Heintz Center, 1926 Collegeview Rd E, Rochester, Minnesota 

Expo Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Assistive Tech Challenge Pitch Competition: 12 Noon – 3:00 p.m. 

 The Assistive Tech Challenge seeks solutions to: 

● Alleviating barriers to employment; 

● Providing support for care providers; 

● Enhancing social skill development to cultivate meaningful relationships; and 

● Improving access to the community through public infrastructure 

There are two divisions: 

Open (community-based teams and students) 

Professional (corporations formed with annual revenues not exceeding $250,000) 

Thirteen participating teams come from the greater Rochester area and the Twin Cities and universities, including: University of Minnesota, Winona State University, Minnesota State University Mankato and University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. 

Teams will address the following questions in a five-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges, followed by two minutes of Q&A: 

● What problem are you solving? 

● How are you solving the problem? 

● Why is your team the one to solve it? 

● What do you need to further develop your idea? 

$15,000 will be awarded by The Arc Minnesota to the first and second place winners in each division to further advance their idea. 

First Prize: $5,000 

Second Prize: $2,500 

All first and second place teams will be eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Rochester, MN on December 7, 2018. 

Special thanks to Fredrikson and Byron, P.A. and Home Federal for their support of the Assistive Tech Challenge. 

Global Entrepreneurship Week Kicks Off Monday as Five Day Celebration of Innovation in Rochester

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It has arrived. On Monday November 5th, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will launch in Rochester for five days, bringing twenty-one different events to the community to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation. GEW is not just for entrepreneurs. It’s for anyone interested in learning more about Rochester’s entrepreneurial culture and how to plug in. So, block some time off on your calendar and get ready to participate in “The Week of the Entrepreneur,” as proclaimed by Rochester’s Mayor Ardell Brede for the second consecutive year.

GEW Rochester will kick off at 7:30AM at the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce with a morning reception with some coffee and light refreshments to network and launch into the week. 

The celebration will be capped off on Friday with a very special presentation from Kira Blackwell, Program Executive at NASA, about the NASA iTECH Program, an innovative way for agencies like NASA to interact and work with entrepreneurs. Kira is an executive management professional with expertise in aerospace, biotechnology, and technology management. The NASA iTECH program is an initiative through NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) to discover and vet innovative technologies to solve problems both on Earth and in space exploration.  

In addition to these events, Rochester Rising will also be hosting some programs during the week. Our first is an Entrepreneurial Book Club Discussion and Happy Hour in collaboration with The Commission. This event will take place on Wednesday November 7th at 4:30 PM at Grand Rounds Brew Pub. The first hour of the event will be an open networking happy hour, similar to our “Elevating Women Happy Hour” events. The second half of the event will include a book discussion about John Carreyrou's "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” the story of Theranos. Come to discuss this riveting story of biotech fraud.

Our second hosted event of the week is a “Mental Health for Entrepreneurs Workshop with NAMI SE MN.” This event will take place on Thursday November 8th at 7:30 am at the Café Steam Broadway location. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. Join us for this timely and vital discussion about mental health issues in entrepreneurs and ways to work toward better overall health.

Our final hosted event of the week will take place at 6PM on Thursday with a Founders Talk with Sonex Health CEO Darryl Barnes. Sonex Health is a Rochester based medical device company that developed the SX-One Microknife, a device for minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery. Since Sonex Health graduated from the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, the company has continued to grow in size and impact in the community. 

Check out the Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week page for the full details and complete event listings. I challenge each of you to attend at least one event this upcoming week to learn more about our entrepreneurial culture.

Press Release: DMC Hosts Design Workshops: Ideas to Solutions in 90 Minutes As Prep for the Upcoming Assistive Tech Challenge

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Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency will be hosting three design workshops September 27 – 28, 2018, to help address challenges faced by individuals with disabilities as part of the Assistive Tech Challenge. 

The workshops will be facilitated by the civic design nonprofit Our City in partnership with the Assistive Tech Challenge. 

Participants in these workshops will learn the art of design thinking to address problems and create solutions in just 90 minutes. 

Ideas that emerge from the workshops will prepare participants to submit ideas to the Assistive Tech Challenge pitch competition on November 3 at the Assistive Technology Expo. 

Two design workshops are scheduled in Rochester on Thursday, September 27 and one workshop is scheduled in Minneapolis on Friday, September 28. 

Workshops are FREE to attend. Registration is required for each workshop at

 Workshop #1: Assistive Tech and the Caregiver Experience 

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Dr. SE, Rochester, MN 55904 | This workshop is embedded within the Transform conference. You will be joined by Transform attendees in exploring design thinking. 


This fast-paced, hands-on workshop will focus on how to use design thinking to help caregivers thrive. Participants will “sprint” from starting from a real or perceived barrier to developing an idea to address it in just 90 minutes. Each participant will walk away with a new understanding of the design process and how it might support caregivers -- plus a real idea of their own to put into action. 

Workshop #2: Assistive Tech and Public Infrastructure 

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Studio 324 (Fagan Studio), 324 South Broadway, Rochester, MN 55904 


This fast-paced, hands-on workshop will focus on how to use design thinking to help design public spaces that support greater independence for individuals with a disability. Participants will “sprint” from a real or perceived barrier to developing an idea to address it in just 90 minutes. Each participant will walk away with a new understanding of the design process and how it might support different development paradigms in the public realm -- plus a real idea of their own to put into action. 

Workshop #3: Assistive Tech and Workforce Readiness and Social Skill Development 

Friday, September 28, 2018., 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55416. 


This fast-paced, hands-on workshop will focus on how to use design thinking to 1) help people with a visible or invisible disability to interact and cultivate meaningful relationships; and 2) alleviate barriers to employment. Participants will “sprint” from a real or perceived barrier to developing an idea to address it in just 90 minutes. Each participant will walk away with a new understanding of the design process and how it might spur development of new products or services in these two important areas -- plus a real idea of their own to put into action. 

About the Assistive Tech Challenge 

The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. 

The Assistive Tech Challenge seeks solutions to: 

  • Alleviating barriers to employment 

  • Reducing the need for and/or easing the demands of direct support on care providers 

  • Developing social skills that better enable people with and without disabilities to interact and cultivate meaningful relationships; and 

  • Improving access to the community through public infrastructure 

The Assistive Tech Challenge is November 3 in Rochester, Minnesota at the Assistive Technology Expo. Prizes awarded to first and second place teams in two divisions. Applications and complete details at 

About Our City 

Our City is a national nonprofit, working to transform how people engage with their cities. 

Our City believes in the power of art, design, and play to transform this engagement. 

About Our City 

Our City is a national nonprofit, working to transform how people engage with their cities. 

Our City believes in the power of art, design, and play to transform this engagement. 

Our City envisions a world where every person sees the world as changeable – then goes out and changes it. 

Our City works to achieve this by creating large-scale public design events, installations, and workshops. 

Through Our City’s work, they empower residents to imagine and build the future of their communities. 

More at 

Press Release: Adapta, Formerly Wing House, Corp., Announces Launch of New Name and Website


Rochester, MN - Adapta is excited to announce the launch of their new name, new look, new website, and the addition of resources for individuals living with symptoms of brain injury & mental health conditions. The new name clears up confusion about their services, but most importantly, it sets the tone for how the organization runs with the additional locations. Adapta aims to help all individuals live a life without limits. The official launch date for the website is September 14, 2018.

Adapta believes people begin to heal the moment they feel heard. Adapta’s individualized services allow people to live in a supportive environment while having unlimited access to the community and resources. Adapta strongly believes individuals do best when they have choice in their living environment. Because of this, Adapta expanded their service options. With both 245D licensed services and a Customized Living option, Adapta can provide services in a variety of locations and ways. Adapta has been successful in preventing individuals from requiring a more restrictive environment at a much more cost-effective rate.

Executive Director, Kasi Haglund, LSW states “We were on the verge of closing due to Minnesota’s reimbursement policy changes, which could have resulted in some residents being placed in a more restrictive and costly environment. After working closely with the Department of Human Services, Wing House was given a second chance due to the success of our program. At that point, we decided to move forward with a fresh look and the decision to share our story with the community.”

Along with the roll-out of the new brand and website, Adapta has created a short brand video showing the impact of their services through the eyes of a resident. As one resident stated, “My brain injury took my life away. Adapta gave it back to me.” It can be viewed here:

Adapta is important to the people of Rochester because our program is a safe and supportive environment for our residents at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers. For example, a day at a more restrictive, alternative local facility can cost upwards of ten times more, most of which is significantly supported by taxpayer dollars. Adapta is not only a better solution for our residents, it is a more fiscally sustainable model for taxpayers.

Press Release: Assistive Tech Challenge Orientation Sessions Scheduled for September 13 & 14 in Rochester and Twin Cities


What: Assistive Tech Challenge Orientation Sessions 

When: Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14, 2018 

Where:  September 13: Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator. 221 1st Ave SW #202, Rochester, MN 55902. 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. 

September 14: Microsoft Store, Mall of America. 162 South Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55425. 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

Details: The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition to highlight new innovations to support people with disabilities in order to facilitate greater independence. In this orientation session, interested individuals and teams will learn more about the Assistive Tech Challenge, connect with disability subject matter experts and with others, and explore an area of highest interest to develop a new product or service. 

Complete details about the Assistive Tech Challenge can be found here

Press Release: Medical Alley Leaders Build Economic Roadmap to Ensure Minnesota's Competitiveness


Medical Alley Association, led by its Board of Directors and executives from all sectors of the Medical Alley healthcare community, convened two working groups to lead the development of a 10-year strategy plan for Minnesota to realize the vision of Medical Alley being recognized as the global epicenter of health innovation and care. Specifically, the two Working Groups focused on Minnesota Competitiveness and Early Stage Ecosystem.

“Minnesota’s place of leadership in the great history of healthcare advancement is secure. The goal of our Board and community is to ensure that Medical Alley continues to lead the transformation of healthcare around the world,” said Shaye Mandle, President & CEO, Medical Alley Association. “We’re excited to lay this foundation for the public and private sectors to work together to deliver the next generation of solutions and opportunities that define health innovation and care.Mandle said.

The Medical Alley Working Groups have delivered a plan with specific recommendations and actions to address Minnesota’s competitive status, lead the development of the ideal early-stage ecosystem that can capitalize on the evolving health marketplace and position the state for a sustainable leadership position.

Minnesota has a rich tradition of growing transformational healthcare companies and the talent to keep them innovating. Competing globally requires our elected officials to enact policies that encourage investment and growth, attract new talent, and properly prepares our workforce for the jobs this growth will create,” said Jeff Mirviss, Senior VP and President, Peripheral Interventions for Boston Scientific, and Co-Chair of the Minnesota State Competitiveness Working Group.

Supporting startups and early-stage companies is critical to ensure that Minnesota remains the global epicenter of health innovation and care. This report puts forward solutions that require commitment and leadership from the public and private sectors. We look forward to working with our state’s leaders on moving these forward,” said Sheri Dodd, VP & GM, Medtronic Care Management Solutions & Non-Intensive Diabetes Therapies. Dodd also serves as the Co-Chair for the Early Stage Ecosystem Working Group.

Additional details can be found inside the plan, or by contacting the Medical Alley Association.

About the Medical Alley Association

Founded in 1984, the Medical Alley Association supports and advances the global leadership of Medical Alley’s healthcare industry, and its connectivity around the world. MAA delivers the collective influence, intelligence and interactions that support Medical Alley.

Press Release: Introducing the Assistive Tech Challenge A New Pitch Competition in Support of Individuals with Disabilities

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(Rochester, MN) August 20, 2018 - Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency is pleased to introduce the Assistive Tech Challenge - a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face.


Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the Assistive Technology Expo

Heintz Center, Rochester, Minnesota

Expo Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Assistive Tech Challenge Pitch Competition: 12 Noon – 3:30 p.m.


The Assistive Tech Challenge seeks solutions to:

  • Alleviating barriers to employment;
  • Reducing the need for and/or easing the demands of direct support on care providers;
  • Developing social skills that better enable people with and without disabilities to interact and cultivate meaningful relationships; and
  • Improving access to the community through public infrastructure.


Who can participate:

Anyone interested in forming a team and developing innovative assistive technology solutions that would allow people with visible and invisible disabilities to live more independently, engage in productive employment, and participate in community life.


There are two divisions:

Open (community-based teams and students)

Professional (corporations formed with annual revenues not exceeding $250,000)


Innovations in both personal technology and the public realm/public infrastructure will be encouraged. Teams will be asked to address the following questions in a five-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges, followed by three minutes of Q&A:

  • What problem are you solving?
  • How are you solving the problem?
  • Why is your team the one to solve it?
  • What do you need to develop a minimally viable product (MVP)?


$15,000 will be awarded by The Arc Minnesota to the first and second place winners in each division to further advance their idea.

First Prize: $5,000

Second Prize: $2,500


All first and second place teams will be eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Rochester, MN on December 7, 2018.

All teams must submit an application to Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency by October 19, 2018.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions. (FAQs)

Orientation and workshop sessions will be announced soon.

To learn more, visit

Press Release: Medical Alley Applauds House Passage of Device Tax Repeal – Urges Senate Action

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Golden Valley, MN- Today (July 24, 2018), the United States House of Representatives voted 283-132 to permanently repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax. The Medical Alley Association thanks those House members who voted to bring certainty to the healthcare marketplace and to prioritize health consumer access to the next-generation of medical technology solutions. The House has wisely voted to make permanent what Congress has suspended since 2016. We are encouraged that this strong, bipartisan vote will prompt the United States Senate to act quickly and move this legislation to the President’s desk for his signature. 

Medical Alley is especially grateful for the leadership that Congressman Erik Paulsen has provided on this issue. He has worked tirelessly, with members of both parties, to prioritize this issue and to eliminate this tax. Today’s vote would not have been possible without his hard work and dedication. 

Medical Alley is home to the most densely concentrated medical technology cluster in the world. We thank the other members of the Minnesota delegation who voted in favor of this legislation, Congressmen Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis, Collin Peterson, and Rick Nolan. 

About the Medical Alley Association

Founded in 1984, the Medical Alley Association supports and advances the global leadership of Medical Alley’s healthcare industry, and its connectivity around the world. MAA delivers the collective influence, intelligence and interactions that support Medical Alley. 

It's Our Two-Year Anniversary!


Today, I am pleased to say, is the two-year anniversary of Rochester Rising. This online news platform was officially launched on July 12, 2016 to fill an unmet need in the community: to amplify stories of Rochester entrepreneurs that would otherwise remain untold. Since our launch date, Rochester Rising has told the stories of over 143 unique startups, innovative small businesses, and entrepreneurial initiatives in the community.

Last year, we threw a party to celebrate our one-year birthday. This year is a bit of a different occasion as I attend the ESHIP Conference in Kansas City over the next two days to collaborate and learn from other entrepreneurial ecosystem builders from around the country. The name “entrepreneurial ecosystem builder” is certainly a nebulous, relatively new term. For a generally introverted person, it’s something that I never envisioned myself doing. But today, as the conference opened, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be- with Rochester Rising and other efforts in the community- even though this realization has taken ­a very long and non-linear path. ­­ I’ve learned many lessons even in the half day that I’ve been at ESHIP so far that I’m excited to bring back to the community.

Building and developing Rochester Rising has been a passion of mine and something that I think is of great value. This would not have been possible without an immense amount of help and support from several close friends, family members, mentors, and collaborators, for which I am truly grateful.

And of course, Rochester Rising would not be possible without all of you, the community. The people who read the stories, listen to the podcasts, watch the videos, and provide me with support and encouragement.

Thank you.

Here’s to another year of amplifying stories of Rochester entrepreneurs.

Press Release: Halcon Furniture Announces Expansion

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STEWARTVILLE, MN, JUNE 7TH, 2018 – HALCON announced today the acquisition of additional manufacturing facilities in Stewartville, Minnesota and the creation of at least 50 new, full-time positions.

HALCON has purchased a 57,500 square-foot manufacturing facility and 10.5 acres of property from neighboring Becton, Dickinson and Company. The facility, constructed in 2014, and property are adjacent to HALCON’s existing headquarters and manufacturing operations.

“The location is ideal, allowing us to expand operations now, and in the future, with all employees continuing to work at a single, unified campus,” said Ben Conway, President.

With more than 330 current employees, HALCON will expand operations in Stewartville to meet demand for their award-winning office furniture product lines, which includes executive desking and conference room solutions.

“We are hiring now, continuing to invest in Stewartville, and very proud to be providing careers in manufacturing,” said Peter Conway, Chairman.

Founded in 1977, HALCON Furniture is a recognized leader in design, quality, and innovation for the contract office furniture industry.

For more information, visit

Five Olmsted County Teams Advance to Semifinal Round of Minnesota Cup


Last Thursday, startup semifinalists were announced in the 2018 Minnesota Cup, the largest statewide startup competition in the nation. These ninety companies will compete in nine different divisions: Education & Training, Energy/Clean Tech/Water, Food/Ag/Bev, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Impact Ventures, Student, and Youth Divisions.

Over $500,000 in seed funding will be awarded this season to companies participating in the Minnesota Cup business plan competition. In addition to financial capital, startups also receive mentorship opportunities, media exposure, and business plan feedback.

Applications for this year’s Minnesota Cup opened on March 26th. Over the next several months, finalists will be chosen in each of these nine divisions, earning a chance to win the overall $50,000 grand prize at the final awards ceremony at the McNamara Alumni Center on October 8th.

This year, Minnesota Cup received 1,661 applications from around the state, a twenty-two percent increase from last season.

Five teams from Olmsted country have advanced to the semifinal round of the competition including:

·      Oronoco-based Busy Baby LLC in the General Division. This company’s product, the Busy Baby Mat, can be utilized on any flat surface to keep babies busy and baby toys safe and clean. The mat is also portable.

·      Rochester-based LipiQuester LLC in the Life Science/Health IT Division. LipiQuester is a patent-pending nutraceutical that sequesters fat from the diet to prevent fat absorption, minus the negative side-effects experienced from typical anti-obesity treatments.

·      Rochester-based Mill Creek Life Sciences in the Life Science/Health IT Division. Mill Creek Life Sciences has developed the first human platelet cell lysate on the market, called PLTMax. The company’s additional product, PLTGold, is a media supplement for stem cell growth.

·      Rochester-based Thaddeus Medical Systems in the Life Science/Health IT Division. This startup has developed iGler, a smart hardware and software packaging solution to protect and keep medical and biological samples cold while shipping.

·      Rochester-based B.A.S.I.C. BALSA in the Youth Division. This team of young women is developing an app to connect immigrants to resources in their new communities to enhance quality of life. This product was developed as part of the Technovation Challenge, a global initiative that enables girls to solve real-world problems through technology.

Congratulations to all the advancing companies and best of luck in the remainder of the competition!

Rochester Rising Publishes Insta-zine to Showcase Stories from Winter 2018


Welcome to our first Insta-zine edition of Rochester Rising (click the link the head over to our Instagram site to check it out)! I have to give complete credit to this idea to Becky Montpetit of Rochester MN Moms Blog for bringing this creative concept to my attention. It’s so important as an entrepreneur and a content creator to keep innovating and trying new things. We did put out a print version of Rochester Rising last fall, but the cost of doing that was so high that we could only print 100 copies to distribute in the community, in addition to an online edition. While you’ll have to do a bit more work to access our stories from this insta-zine, it’s still yet another method to amplify the stories of our entrepreneurs.

Our first Insta-zine contains most of our stories and podcasts published from January through March of 2018.

I wanted to thank all of you so much for continuing to support our mission. As you all (hopefully) saw in my letter to the community, I’m stepping back just a bit from content creation on Rochester Rising, but this news site and podcast is by no means going away.  Please continue to submit your press releases and opinion pieces to us at so this can continue to be a voice for all of our entrepreneurs.

You can find any of the stories mentioned on our Insta-zine on our website and on iTunes (search for “Rochester Rising”). The best way to follow us is to sign up for our weekly newsletter. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and of course Instagram.

Thank you for your continued support. Please help us share this content so we can continue to amplify the stories of our entrepreneurs.

-Amanda Leightner

Press Release: TEDxZumbroRiver Announces Big Plans for the 2018 Experience - 3 Salons!


ROCHESTER, Minn. — TEDxZumbroRiver announces a Salon Series for 2018.

The TEDxZumbroRiver organizers have spent the off season going to TEDx “School,” talking with other TEDx Organizers, and attending other TEDx events throughout the country. Because of the thirst for TEDx content in this area, TEDxZumbroRiver will be bringing TEDx Salons to Southeast Minnesota for 2018.

Salons will take the place of the traditional single large event in 2018, and 2019 will see the return of one large event. Salons are specialty TEDx events that require a license from TED, which was granted to TEDxZumbroRiver organizers Ben Creo and Barb Spurrier earlier this month.

Ben Creo had this to say: “The TEDxZumbroRiver planning team began discussing a three-series salon format for 2018 back in Fall 2017. The team unanimously agreed that making 2018 the year of salons is something our fan base will really enjoy. They are excited for the possibilities and creativity salons provide through unique venues, audience participation opportunities and topics.”

Here’s what attendees experience at these highly popular TEDx Salons:

● Format: The TEDxZumbroRiver team is planning unique and engaging formats to enhance the experience in a manner we’ve never before experienced.

● Lively Discussions: A critical element of salons is lively discussions, allowing attendees to actively participate in the event.

● Size: With smaller audiences than a standard TEDx event, salons bring attendees together in more intimate spaces, providing more chances to get to know and exchange ideas.

● The Single Subject: Having the ability to focus on one subject creates a focused audience and atmosphere.

TEDxZumbroRiver salons will be smaller and have a more intimate audience (100-200 rather than 1,000), shorter programs, more creative formats, a smaller ticket price, and speakers with single-topic themes with opportunities for audience engagement/participation.

The TEDxZumbroRiver Salon experience will be a series of three salons held throughout the year and will lead up to another grand event in 2019.

The First Salon is scheduled for May 10th, 2018. 

Upcoming Community of Wellness Week will Teach Individuals, Corporations, and Communities How to Live Healthier Lives

This article is sponosred by:

Citizens of Rochester, let’s focus on our own health!

Join Lotus Health Foundation and Rochester Clinic for their second annual Community of Wellness Week to learn more about lifestyle medicine and how to take control over your health and wellness.

This weeklong schedule of events will be held from March 9th through March 16th. Most of these educational programs are FREE and take place right here in Rochester.

The programming kicks off on Friday March 9th in Dodge Center with a talk by keynote speaker Dr. Hans Diehl, Founder of the Complete Health Improvement Program, or CHIP. This wellness program does not focus on portion control, excessive exercise, or calorie counting. Instead, it promotes a whole food, plant-based diet with less sugar, oils, and salt along with positive lifestyle and stress management habits. CHIP has existed for over thirty years, assisting over 90,000 people to lead healthier lives.

Dr. Diehl will hold a free CHIP information session on March 13th at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rochester.

The Community of Wellness Week will also feature keynote speaker Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Founder of the Barnard Medical Center, an institution that focuses on making nutrition a routine part of medical care.

Programming on the final day of the Community of Wellness Week, March 16th, includes an educational symposium, with a focus on lifestyle medicine, the holistic approach to health with an emphasis on preventative wellness. The programming offered this day will be of high interest to caregivers, health science students, and other clinical and healthcare professionals. Six hours, or 0.6 CEUs, will be offered through Winona State University’s Adult & Continuing Education for completing this portion of the programming.

These final afternoon talks of the symposium will end with a discussion especially pertinent to insurance agents, employee health professionals, unions, and those in corporate human resources: the clinical application of lifestyle medicine in the community and the corporate world. This final conversation will address the benefits of lifestyle medicine for employee health and its impact to increase employee productivity and decrease corporate health expenditures.

This final piece also includes a discussion from Rob Dill, CEO of Sotarea, a worker health risk management company. This final talk will focus on the benefit of self-insured health plans as a successful method to manage employee health plan costs. Self-insured health plans have been on the rise in the U.S. Sixty-one percent of all U.S. employer health plans are self-insured, according to a 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, representing a forty-four percent increase from 1999.

The 2018 Community of Wellness Week will be capped off by a gala event at the Rochester Art Center in the evening. The gala will include a social hour, gourmet plant-based meal, silent auction, and address by Drs. Diehl and Barnard. The talks will include concepts on modifying habits to improve health, including a direct challenge to the idea that weight should be managed by eating less and exercising more.

The 2018 Community of Wellness Week and educational programming is not just for health care professionals. It is for anyone interested in taking a holistic approach to wellness and learning how to play a more active role in their own health through preventative wellness techniques and self-care.

Learn more and register for any events during the Community of Wellness Week at Follow Rochester Clinic on Facebook for event details and general healthy living information.

Rochester Clinic is a Rochester-based facility that takes a holistic approach to care, treating the entire person instead of simply managing symptoms. Lotus Health Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the Rochester Clinic. Lotus Health provides evidence-based education and preventative services to help people manage or prevent chronic illness and decrease dependency on medications through healthy lifestyle management.

Tracking Walker Use and Enhancing K-12 Science Education- the Latest 1 Million Cups Rochester


Two early stage startups told their story at this month’s 1 Million Cups Rochester: Grand Forks, North Dakota company WalkSmart and Rochester-based startup MindTech.


About MindTech

This startup is led by Area 10 Labs lead engineer Chad Attlesey, software developer Pete Wall, and experience designer AJ Montpetit. The concept was originally developed by Area 10 engineer Adam Salmi.

“We want to inspire first person, personal experiences in education and learning. We want to inspire [kids] to want to learn,” explained Attlesey.

To achieve these goals, MindTech is developing a microscope for everyone, a personal learning tool they hope could be distributed to each K-12 student at the start of every school year. This rugged, high-powered microscope is highly portable, allowing kids to continue to learn outside of the classroom.

“[This microscope] is not a toy, but it’s designed to be used and abused,” Attlesey said.

The device is highly capable. It has data storage capacity and captures 1080p video. It is easily stacked and stored and can be color customized.

The MindTech team aims to get this first product into the hands of the 55M K-12 students in the U.S., a potential $5B market. They currently have microscopes in production and are partnering with the science education non-profit InSciEd Out, which has local and global reach.

The team aims to get the microscopes to a $100 price point with large volume production and sales.

About WalkSmart

WalkSmart, led by entrepreneur Peter Chamberlain, is developing a tool to foster “fitness, safety, and health for walker users.”

Falls cost the healthcare system about $34B each year and are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults. Furthermore, adults who use walkers are four times more susceptible to falls than non-walker users, with seventy-five percent of these falls occurring when the person is not using their walker.

Currently, there are about 3M walker users in the U.S., said Chamberlain, which are evenly split between residing at home and in assisted living facilities.

His product, WalkSmart, aims to reduce falls, hospitalization, and healthcare costs with the first-ever smart walker attachment. WalkSmart discretely snaps onto the wheel of the walker and records data as it rotates. The data is fed into the cloud and can be accessed by mobile and web applications.

Multiple caregivers- who are typically family members- can link to each account to monitor fitness and receive safety alerts for their loved one. Caregivers can access WalkSmart data directly from an app to receive real time information, such as the last time their loved one walked with their walker and their historic walking data. Users can also obtain customized push notifications from the system, altering them if there is no morning activity from their loved one, for example.

Along with these alerts, WalkSmart also gives positive reinforcement messages to the user if they met daily fitness goals. Chamberlain is also developing a wearable device that goes directly on the user’s shoe and sends alerts if they are walking without their walker.

WalkSmart is currently available as a $15/month subscription model. Three healthcare facilities, two paying customers, and Chamberlain’s family testers are currently using the system.


About 1 Million Cups Rochester

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program that takes place in over 160 different communities across the United States to support entrepreneurship. 1 Million Cups Rochester occurs on the first Wednesday of every month at 9AM at the Bleu Duck Kitchen. The next 1 Million Cups Rochester will be held Wednesday, January 3rd.  

Rochester Rising Launches Fall Membership Drive To Continue To Amplify The Stories of Rochester Entrepreneurs

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This week we’re running our Fall Membership Drive to help keep Rochester Rising a part of this community. Rochester Rising is an online news site that amplifies stories of entrepreneurs in Rochester, Minnesota. There are, of course, other online media platforms in town. What differentiates Rochester Rising is that we are entrepreneur-centric, focusing in on the person and how they built, and are building, their business in Rochester and the surrounding area. We produce several articles and one podcast each week and have started to dabble in some video content to tell these stories and showcase the culture and diversity of the entrepreneurial community in Rochester.

Rochester Rising was launched last July to fill a real gap in the community. We had innovation springing up all over Rochester, but no one was really talking about it.

There are multiple reasons why this is the perfect time to tell these stories. Foremost, they show that we do have risk takers in this city. Rochester is perceived as a conservative, risk-averse culture centered around one industry, with any innovation occurring in biotech or healthcare. Those of us engaged in the entrepreneurial community here know that’s not the full picture.

During the seventeen months that Rochester Rising has existed, we’ve told the stories of 110 different entrepreneurs, startups, and innovation initiatives in Rochester and the surrounding communities. Many of these stories were in biotech and healthtech. However, we’ve shared the journey of many other entrepreneurs, including those operating in retail, food and beverage, fitness, tech, and social entrepreneurship.

We feel that it’s important to tell the stories of people taking risks, taking chances with no safety net, innovating, creating, and not following the expected route. These stories are valuable tools to inspire others, showcase the creativity that is already occurring here, and build up the entrepreneurial community piece by piece.

Right now, we also have a unique opportunity in Rochester with Destination Medical Center, a $5.6B economic development initiative to make the city a global destination for health and wellness. Whatever occurs with these developments, they will cause unprecedented change to this city over the next couple decades. Right now, it’s a unique time to launch a business in this city and begin to gain the attention of talent looking to this area.

Now is the exact time for something like Rochester Rising to exist to document and begin to record the rise of entrepreneurship in Rochester. We do have a small and young entrepreneurial community, but it’s growing daily. We feel that it’s essential to tell this story.

Rochester Rising has had steady impact in the community. The articles, podcasts, and videos that we generate allow people to see the faces and hear the voices of our local creators.

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Over the past year, we’ve held events to connect and engage the entrepreneurial community, including our first birthday party in July and several women-focused business events. We have also begun to produce educational materials to help people understand and connect to the community. This includes our “Roadmap to the Rochester Entrepreneurial Community”, which will be updated every year. In October, we self-published our first ever print magazine to share these stories in a different way.

This whole process has involved an immense amount of learning, failing, and growing.

Last November we launched a sustaining membership drive to do exactly that, help to make Rochester Rising a lasting part of the community to continue to tell these stories. Our sustaining memberships are run through the crowdfunding platform Patreon. This method is a little bit different than crowdfunding through Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Patreon campaigns are on-going, where patrons give a monthly contribution to fuel a creative project.

Through Patreon, our sustaining members can give anything from $1 to $25 each month and receive a mix of online-only and tangible rewards, like tote bags and mugs. If you’re not ready or interested in a monthly contribution, one time donations are also highly appreciated.

Why should you care? Why do we need to run a crowdfunding campaign?

Foremost, you get some cool rewards for contributing to this campaign. There is no other way to score a Rochester Rising mug. We also offer some heavily discounted advertising to sustaining members. If you read the stories regularly, watch the videos, and listen in to the podcasts, hopefully you see the value in having something like this continue in the city.

As many of you probably know, Rochester Rising is one person, myself. This is my main job. I do all the writing, recording, producing, social media management, business development, sales, and event management. Many of you readers are solo entrepreneurs and know this struggle first hand. Sustaining memberships have been essential to allow me more time to create content, events, and community. They also reduce our dependency on advertising and sponsorship on this website and podcast.

If you think Rochester Rising is something that should continue to exist in this community, please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more information on our Patreon page

Press Release: Bringspring Meehealth and Ambient Clinical Analytics Sign Cooperation Agreement in Beijing

  Al Berning, CEO of Ambient Clinical Analytics and Dr. Zhang Jiwu, CEO of Meehealth. Photo courtesy of Ambient Clinical Anaalytics. 

Al Berning, CEO of Ambient Clinical Analytics and Dr. Zhang Jiwu, CEO of Meehealth. Photo courtesy of Ambient Clinical Anaalytics. 

Beijing, China – October 26, 2017 Ambient Clinical Analytics announced today that it has signed a Cooperation Agreement with Meehealth (The wholly owned subsidiary company of Bringspring Technologies Co., Ltd, hereinafter referred to as Bringspring Meehealth or Meehealth) in Beijing. Bringspring Meehealth plans to sell Ambient Clinical’s products in China and the companies plan to develop new products for China and the world markets. Founded by a Mayo Clinic academic clinical team and seasoned technology entrepreneurs, Ambient Clinical is located in Rochester, MN, USA. Ambient Clinical’s software enhances the way critical care providers operate. The company sells real time clinical decision support systems and alerting tools to hospitals which result in reduced errors, lower health care costs, and improved patient outcomes. 

"Bringspring Meehealth and Ambient Clinical met in the United States in 2014. Bringspring Meehealth has an international professional team and culture, and places a high value on technological innovation and product quality. Meehealth is honored to cooperate with excellent partners such as Ambient Clinical. “Benefiting society and benefiting mankind is the mutual mission and foundation of the cooperation, and the companies will jointly contribute to the development of world health service." said Dr. Zhang Jiwu, CEO of Meehealth. 

“At Ambient Clinical Analytics, we’re excited to be working with Bringspring Meehealth to cooperate on products for China and the world health IT markets”, said Al Berning, CEO of Ambient Clinical Analytics. “Bringspring Meehealth’s strong support of hospitals across China combined with Ambient Clinical’s products, which are based on Mayo Clinic technologies, make a strong combination to improve healthcare through the use of advanced real time clinical decision support products.” 

“We’re looking forward to working with Bringspring Meehealth and Ambient Clinical to deploy the unique Mayo Clinic real time clinical decision support technology in China.” said Brian Pickering, M.B., B.Ch., of Mayo Clinic, one of the co- inventors of the technology. 

"Bringspring Technology acquired Meehealth, which is the industry's leading health IT company, supporting the company's leading edge in the field of clinical application subdivision. Meehealth has established a cooperative relationship with Ambient Clinical, and we are very pleased and excited about the future. We will fully support and have full confidence in the development of the companies’ cooperation." said Qi Zheng, the vice president of Bringspring Technology. 

Bringspring Meehealth are health care high-tech enterprises with an international perspective, the domestic first-class level, with research focused on medical software products and leads the market by operating room, ICU, emergency department and other clinical information application market customers across the well-known 3A hospitals. With strong technical ability in data processing, data modeling and system architecture design, the company has entered the medical health big data, artificial intelligence and other innovative research applications, relying on the research center in Boston in the United States and the international first-class scientific research talents, Bringspring Meehealth has made remarkable achievements in the research of the health care field, with a mission to improve the efficiency and quality medical services and improve health outcomes. 

Ambient Clinical has licensed Mayo Clinic technologies which include over 1,000 rules and algorithms to give critical care providers real-time access to vital process-of-care information and analytics at the point-of-care, as well as from a central Clinical Control Tower. The CERTAIN product provides critical clinical resuscitation information in the first “Golden Hours” of critical care. Bedside based alerts for conditions like Sepsis allow physicians and medical personnel to spend more time with patients rather than reviewing data. Ambient Clinical’s products are designed to support a hospital’s Lean Quality and Six Sigma initiatives. Ambient Clinical has achieved FDA Class II Clearance for the AWARE and Sepsis DART software platform. 

Mayo Clinic and Dr. Brian Pickering have a financial interest in the technology referenced in this news release. The revenue that Mayo Clinic receives is used to support its not-for-profit mission in patient care, education and research. 

About Bringspring Meehealth
Bringspring (300290) is a technology listed company established in 2005. Driven by ongoing innovative, focus on health data and intelligent cloud services areas. We have established a cutting-edge technologies portfolio in cloud computing, big data, internet of things, artificial intelligence and service. With more than ten years efforts, Bringspring is committed to building a better intelligent and healthier world, and we have grown into a considerable investment value and development potential company. In 2017, company jointly launched the China health big data Limited company, led by National Health and Family Planning Commission, to build a healthy medical big data ecosystem. Meehealth is a leading Health IT company that supports hospitals across China. It has from the world's leading technology and management team, to provide emergency clinical information system (ECIS), Intensive Care Clinical Information System (ICIS), Anesthesia Clinical Information Management system (AIMS), Hospital Unified information Solution (HUIS), mobile Ward Rounds system and the medical industry IT system products , combined with cloud computing, big data, networking, AI and other new generation of information technology to provide the critical patients cloud platform, regional emergency for overall customer collaborative cloud platform and other medical information solutions. In 2016, Bringspring wholly owned Meehealth, has strengthened the company's leading edge in the field of clinical application subdivision. Bringspring integrates high-quality resources, and actively explore the clinical medicine artificial intelligence and big data application platform, build health care big data ecosystem, and promote more intelligent health new service model. 

About Ambient Clinical Analytics
Ambient Clinical Analytics sells powerful real-time bedside healthcare data assimilation, communication, and analytics based clinical decision support tools that support the general hospital floor, Emergency Department, ICU and other critical care areas. At Ambient Clinical Analytics, we understand the power of data to save lives and our analytics based, real- time, point-of-care solutions like Sepsis DART rely on real-time data to improve Sepsis detection and the monitoring of Sepsis treatment. Our business model is supported by software license fees, SaaS, Cloud and system integration support. Ambient Clinical Analytics has an MD and executive team with strong track records in medicine, clinical research and informatics, medical products and IT. Ambient Clinical’s investors include Social Capital, Mayo Clinic, Waterline Ventures, Bluestem Capital, Rock Health and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.

Rochester Startups Hiring: PayGo


Who says that there are no jobs in Rochester startups? Read on to learn more about open job opportunities at emerging businesses in Rochester, Minn. Check back in on Monday for another open position at another small business in the city.


PayGo- Software Support and Design Assistant

Job Description:

We are searching for a sharp, responsible, and energetic person to join our team. The primary function of this position is to provide technical and sales support to our current and potential customers, maintain our company computers, and to assist in ongoing R&D of our software product.

Duties Include:

- Provide first level support to customer support tickets via Help system, email, and phone.

- Assist new customers with installation and configuration of our software via screensharing goodness.

- Develop a specialized knowledge of the software and services that we provide.

- Monitor automated marketing and sale follow-ups and escalate interested leads.

Qualifications/Experience Required:

- You must be tech savvy- You must have a good understanding of Windows OS, MacOS 10.x, and iOS.

- You should have a good understanding of existing technical platforms and trends.

- You should be able to type without looking at the keyboard. If you can't, we'll know you're a phony.

- You must be self-motivated and have a desire to learn.

- Knowledge of things like FileMaker Pro, AWS, WordPress, CPanel/WHM.

- Programming skills.

- Knowledge of what goes on in a retail establishment.

Job Location:


Full Time, Part Time, or Contract:

PT – 30 hours. More as we grow.

Contact information:

Melissa McNallan-

Join in and be Inspired at Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017

This story is brought to you by Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017:

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Plug in and be inspired to innovate during Rochester’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the largest celebration of innovation and community in the world, which occurs in 170 countries and touches 10M people. GEW 2017 will take place November 13th through November 17th.

Rochester GEW will involve a full of week of events and programming, allowing community members to come together to celebrate the entrepreneurship and innovation that this city has to offer. Rochester GEW is an opportunity to leverage connections and engage all levels of the startup, entrepreneurial, and innovation ecosystem, from the solopreneur to the seasoned business leader.

“This is our fifth GEW celebration in Rochester.  As our entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to prosper, we need to celebrate our risk takers and inspire the next generation of local entrepreneurs,” said Jamie Sundsbak, Rochester GEW organizer.

Most importantly, GEW is a time to be inspired. It’s a platform not only for entrepreneurs to connect with each other, it’s an opportunity for all community members to explore their potential as innovators and to connect with like-minded individuals who are just looking to start something in this city.

The theme of this year’s Rochester GEW is honoring the past and embracing the future. It’s a time to explore and celebrate our entrepreneurial roots and engage in what the future of innovation could look like in our community.

GEW Rochester will include a wide range of events to engage and connect the innovation ecosystem of Rochester and the surrounding communities. Programming will include a student showcase, displaying innovations and prototypes developed by students in southeast Minnesota. The team from DoApp, a Rochester mobile application business, will also tell their story and walk through their successful acquisition last year. Events will also include a Women’s Entrepreneurial Happy Hour and a panel discussing business from the media perspective. The week will wrap up with the RAVE (Rochester Area Values Entrepreneurship) capstone event- hosted by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. and Journey to Growth- to celebrate and honor local entrepreneurs.

The Rochester GEW organizing team is still seeking potential sponsors for the week. If your organization is interested in sponsorship opportunities or could donate space for programming, please contact Jamie Sundsbak at

The organizing team encourages members of the community to spread the word about this week, to invite their friends, and to attend as many events as possible to celebrate, engage with, and learn about Rochester’s startup culture.

Keep up with the latest news about GEW Rochester by subscribing to their newsletter. You can also link up by liking the GEW Rochester Facebook page and by following the Twitter hashtags #gewroch and #gew2017.