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.

Episode 51: Chris Schad and Byolincs

This week on the podcast we discuss a recent Byolincs “Meet the Expert” event with Chris Schad, Senior Strategy Consultant at Mayo Clinic. Byolincs is a community group dedicated to training and educating entrepreneurially-minded scientists and medical professionals that meets bi-weekly within Mayo Clinic. At the most recent event, Chris Schad spoke about Destination Medical Center (DMC)- a 20-year economic development initiative to transform Rochester into a destination medical city- the first new building in the life science-focused Discovery Square DMC subdistrict, and availability of wet lab space for emerging biotech startups in the city.

Episode 50: Brittany Fenley and Platinum Studios

This week on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneur Brittany Fenley of Platinum Studios Dance and Pageantry. Platinum Studios is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit that offers full scholarship opportunities to children in Rochester and the surrounding community. The studio focuses on children between the ages of three and seventeen and teaches ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, and cheer. They also offer a dance competition program and natural pageantry experience.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help because there are people out there who want to help you. If someone says no, move on to the next one.” –Brittany Fenley Owner of Platinum Studios

Episode 49: Rochester's Entrepreneurs #Emerge

This week on the podcast, we visit the latest edition in our #Emerge Facebook live video series where we sit down and talk about the past week in the Rochester entrepreneurial community. In this episode, we speak with Collider Coworking Community Manager, Jamie Sundsbak, about the recent “Welcome to the Neighborhood” event with Mortenson, Rochester Rising and Collider’s first year, the “Google Interwebs”, and lessons in being a solopreneur. We wrap up the conversation by discussing some major strides taken by the Rochester entrepreneurial community over the past year.

Episode 48: 1 Million Cups Rochester with Pure Rock Studios, ROCKchester, and Carpet Booth Studios

Today on the podcast we listen in to some audio from the very latest 1 Million Cups Rochester. This month was a very special, music-focused 1 Million Cups. The event had one main pitch from Ryan Utterback of Pure Rock Studios and mini pitches from two entrepreneurs in the music community. Pure Rock Studios is Rochester’s premier music and lesson facility, offering live group classes, performance opportunities, and ways for local musicians to connect with Pure Rock students. Dylan Hilliker of ROCKchester and Zach Zurn of Carpet Booth Studios also told a bit of their story at the event. ROCKchester is an all local music festival that was developed to give teens a place to play live music. Carpet Booth Studios is Rochester’s only studio providing recording, production, and composition session work.

“Art knows the gaps and how to fill them. And so do entrepreneurs.” – Dylan Hilliker, Founder of ROCKchester.

Episode 47: Nikolai Zeppa and Stationary Astronauts

This week on the podcast, we got to talk with another podcaster in town, Nikolai Zeppa of Stationary Astronauts. Stationary Astronauts began as a clothing line and podcast, called “The Useful Podcast and Beyond.” The Stationary Astronauts have plans to grow the business into the place to go for viral content creation and advertisement for businesses in Rochester. On the podcast today, we talk more about Stationary Astronauts and what it takes to be an entrepreneur in Rochester…and beyond.

“I’ve learned over the last few years just how important taking care of myself is, hence Stationary Astronauts, going within to blast off to see the stars and to be able to change people’s lives for the better.” –Nikolai Zeppa, Founder of Stationary Astronauts

Featured Story: Rochester Native and Former US Army Ranger Launches Executive Protection Services Ehni Enterprises

Episode 46: Funding Your Business with MNvest Equity Crowdfunding

This week on the podcast, we recap a recent event held in Rochester, “Funding Your Business with MNvest Equity Crowdfunding”. This event was organized by Collider Coworking and hosted by the Well Living Lab. The program featured Rick DeVoe, owner of Fair Trade Books, and David Duccini , Founder and CEO of Silicon Prairie Portal and Exchange. MNvest is a law that permits equity crowdfunding in Minnesota, opening a new revenue stream for Minnesota-based small businesses. MNvest provides the first opportunity in over eighty years for anyone to invest in public offerings from private companies. Under this law, Minnesota businesses can raise up to $1M or $2M in capital. Non-accredited investors can invest up to $10,000 per offering. There is no investment cap for accredited investors and founders of that company. MNvest.org is a nonprofit organization in Minnesota that provides education around the MNvest equity crowdfunding law.

Featured Story: Singer/Songwriter Opens Carpet Booth Music Production Studio to Fill Gap in Rochester Music Scene

Tickets for Rochester Rising’s 1 Year Birthday Party and Community Celebration: https://goo.gl/DdFbCo

Episode 45: Emerge 0 with Chris Lukenbill

Photo courtesy of Jamie Sundsbak.

This week on the podcast, we listen in to some audio from our very Facebook live video in a new #Emerge series. As in all things related to entrepreneurship, this is an experiment and a work in progress. On our first episode, we talked with local entrepreneur Chris Lukenbill. Chris was the Founder of Able.ag, a software branch of the vertical farming technology company Bright Agrotech. Able.ag built software for farmers by farmers, to pass down knowledge and assist farmers serving their communities. Just last week, Bright Agrotech was acquired by the Silicon Valley company Plenty. As part of this process, Able.ag will be shut down and the team is going in separate directions. In this episode, Chris talks about his new direction and a brand new local startup that he wants to build in a unique manner.

“I always like the idea and I always tell people, when you’re going to start something, tell everybody about it.”- Chris Lukenbill

Join us on Thursday at 5PM as the community celebrates the life of Able.ag.

Episode 15: Chris Lukenbill and Able.ag

Featured story:  New Initiative to Gage Interest in Shared Community Kitchen Space in Rochester