Episode 60: Talking Family Business, Buttons, and Digital Marketing with PJ Calkins

This week on the podcast we chat with Rochester resident and longtime entrepreneur PJ Calkins. PJ began his entrepreneurial career at the age of eleven, where he and his siblings manufactured and sold pin-back buttons door to door. A few years later, the family took the business online, becoming the first pin-back button company selling on the internet. On the show today we talk about PJ’s involvement with his family’s business, how digital marketing can help your company, and what the temperature of the entrepreneurial climate is like right now for young professionals.

Diverge Part 4.3: Becky Montpetit and Rochester MN Moms Blog

This week on the podcast we listen in to the full interview with Becky Montpetit, Founder of Rochester MN Moms Blog, in our Diverge series. This is the final piece of our multi-part series where we explore the stories of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

“I think it’s really important to look at where your passions are and where your passions lie. Sometimes, we sit in a job or a career and we realize that we really love it and love what you’re doing, but there is that missing piece of fulfillment.” –Becky Montpetit

Photo Credit: Gina Zeidler Photography

Episode 59: Transforming Science Education with InSciEd Out

This week on the podcast we take a trip to Lincoln K-8 Public School to speak with the Integrated Science Education Outreach Program, or InSciEd Out. Today we’re joined by Chris Pierret, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Mayo Clinic and InSciEd Out organizer, and Lincoln teachers Liz Koehler and Kyle Casper. On the podcast today we talk about InSciEd Out, an innovative collaborative partnership that is redefining today’s science curriculum, discuss specific science education modules that the program has implemented in Lincoln classrooms, and take a peek at the future of the program.

“InSciEd Out was a great way for us to learn as teachers that it’s ok, we can be scientists too and we learn right along with the students.” –Liz Koehler, Lincoln K-8 Public School science educator

Diverge Part 3.2: Jackie and Ryan Steiner and UNRAVELED Escape Room

This week we listen in to the latest story in our Diverge series, where we explore the journeys of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Today we listen in to the full interview with Ryan and Jackie Steiner, owners of UNRAVELED Escape Room.

“You surround yourself with people who tell you you can’t do it, and pretty soon you think you can’t do it. …Luckily we’re strong enough individuals.” –Ryan Steiner

Episode 58: How to Navigate Career Change and Manage Risk and Uncertainty

This week on the podcast we listen in to the latest audio from our #Emerge video series. In these videos, we sit down and have a conversation about entrepreneurship in Rochester and peek into the city’s startup culture with a member of the innovation community. This week, I sit down with Collider Coworking Community Manager Jamie Sundsbak. We talk about navigating career change, how to handle risk and uncertainty, and ways to build your business while maintaining another full-time job. And as always, we end by talking about the current state of the Rochester entrepreneurial community and what it needs to grow.

“That’s what a true entrepreneurial community should do. We give first, we surface what’s going on. We go out of our way to help people in any way that we can.” –Jamie Sundsbak

Episode 57: Examining the Multiplier Effect of Inclusion to Expand Your Business

This week on the podcast, we talk about a recent Supplier Diversity Summit held in Rochester. The summit was hosted by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce to highlight the benefits of engaging with diverse suppliers and to explain the importance of diversity and inclusion in today’s workforce. In the podcast today, we dive into the keynote speech at the event, which was given by Dr. Tony Byers. Dr. Byers has over twenty years of experience with diversity and inclusion initiatives, including roles at Starbucks, Heinz, and Cargill. In his talk, Dr. Byers explained the importance of diversity and inclusion for growth of a business and spoke about how the “multiple effect of inclusion” helps businesses capture new markets, expand their existing markets, and truly innovate.

“We want to not just count heads, but make heads count.” –Dr. Tony Byers

Diverge Part 2.2: Rosei Skipper with Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness

Photo credit: M Brandt Photography

Our podcast this week features the latest installment in our Diverge series, where we tell the stories of four entrepreneurs who took significant risk to change career paths. On the show today, we speak with local entrepreneur Rosei Skipper. Rosei is a trained medical doctor who completed a five-year residency program at Mayo Clinic in Adult and Child Psychiatry. Now, she teaches yoga and barre classes around town and holds individual and group yoga and meditation classes through her business, Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness. On the podcast today, we listen in to Rosei’s full interview, where she talks about her career divergence from psychiatrist to yoga, wellness, and social media guru. 

“The first step for me was actually to practice the thing. You don’t have to make any big change in your life to just start moving in a new direction.” –Rosei Skipper

Episode 56: David Edmiston and the U.S. Commercial Service

This week on the podcast we speak with David Edmiston, Senior International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service. The U.S. Commercial Service is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and serves as a “public facing agency that exists to work with companies that produce goods and services here in the U.S. to help those goods and services get to international markets.” Today on the podcast we talk about international trade and exporting, the first steps Minnesota businesses should take to enter the global market, and the role of the U.S. Commercial Service in this process.  

“A lot of folks don’t realize that actually 95% of potential customers are outside of the U.S.” –David Edmiston, U.S. Commercial Service

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s 2017 Q2 export statistics.

Diverge Part 1.3: Kim Gordon and HGR Real Estate Investment Cooperative and Management

This week on the podcast we listen in to the full transcript from the latest installment in our Diverge series. In Diverge, we explore the stories of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. First in the series is local business woman Kim Gordon. Kim left a sixteen-year career in physical therapy to launch HGR Real Estate Investment Cooperative and Management with business partners Beth Nordaune and Erin Nystrom. Kim has previous entrepreneurial experience as a co-owner of Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Rochester.

“I think we have a good concept. But yeah, there’s doubt all the time. I think too, when you doubt it, then you keep challenging yourself, how can I make it better? How can I make sure that what I’m creating will last?” –Kim Gordon

Episode 55: Enhanced Fitness Features, Animated Emojis, and Augmented Reality, Oh My! The Latest from Apple

This week on the podcast we discuss the latest products unveiled by Apple: the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV with 4K and HDR, iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, and iPhone X.

Episode 54: Edward Cohen and EZ2See Products

This week on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneur Edward Cohen and talk about his small business, EZ2See Products. Edward is legally blind and has difficultly reading text. For himself and others with vision difficulties, the large print calendars on the market just were impractical and the numbers were still difficult to see. To make his life easier, Edward created his own portable large print calendar, which ended up quickly turning into a business. On the podcast today we talk about Edward’s journey to launch EZ2See Products, the things he’s learned along the way, and what he thinks his business needs in order to grow.

“I’m not in the medical profession. I don’t change people’s lives… .It just kept gnawing at me. This might be a way that I could give back to my community.” –Edward Cohen, Founder of EZ2See Products

Episode 53: Talking Entrepreneurship with City Council Representative Nick Campion

This week on the podcast we talk about entrepreneurship with Rochester City Council Representative Nick Campion. Born and raised in Rochester, Nick received a degree in Computer Information Systems from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he minored in Entrepreneurship. In Rochester, he joined the mobile app development startup DoApp during the early stages of the company and stayed with the business after it was acquired. This week on the podcast, we talk about Nick’s first-hand experience in startups, the growth of entrepreneurship in Rochester, and what role he thinks government should play in business development.

“I think we have a lot of work to do in figuring out how to make Rochester an accessible place to start a company. I think a lot of people are struggling and starting to feel the pinch with the costs of renting space, the costs of paying property taxes, the cost of finding employees.”

Episode 52: Weekly Roundup- Apri Health, the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, and Teen Entrepreneurship

These past eight days have been momentous for the southeast Minnesota entrepreneurial community. This week on the podcast, we look back at our top stories of the week. First, we check in with Apri Health, a machine learning and AI startup that recently pivoted to expand their focus. Second, we take a dive into the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund and learn what this seed capital source can do for the community. Lastly, we spend some time with the five teenage girls of SKeMAs who are developing a mobile application, called Via, to limit distracted driving. The teens hope to advance through the semifinal round of the Minnesota Cup competition this week.