business development

Episode 104: Ryan Nolander and RAEDI

Ryan Nolander.jpg

This week on the podcast with sit down and chat with Ryan Nolander, President of Rochester Area Economic Development Inc, or RAEDI. RAEDI is a private/public partnership for economic development that serves Rochester and the surrounding four county area including Olmsted, Dodge, Fillmore, and Wabasha Counties. Ryan began his career with RAEDI this June after spending close to thirteen years with the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. On the podcast today, we talk about:

·      How RAEDI assists local businesses and performs economic development in the region.

·      RAEDI’s focus on entrepreneurial development with the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, the Economic Development Fund (EDF) and the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund.

·      Progress with the EDF over the past years, including the lending of $1.8M (all approved by Rochester City Council) for fifteen different projects. These loans have allowed the recipient businesses to go on to raise $72M in funds and to create one hundred jobs.

·      Progress with the Southeast Minnesota Capital fund, which closed at $2M in June with fifty-six total investors and has invested $500,000 thus far across five different projects.

·      Ryan’s time performing economic development in Albert Lea and how that differs from activity currently taking place in Rochester.

·      What attracted Ryan to the Rochester area.

·      Ryan’s view on entrepreneurial activity taking place in this city.

Episode 91: Lynn Bounds and Edge Fitness


This week on the podcast we got to record off-site with one of my favorite business owners in the community, Lynn Bounds Founder of Edge Fitness. Edge Fitness was launched 3.5 years ago in Southwest Rochester as a unique gym experience and continues to evolve in its offerings. Today on the show we talk about:

·      Edge Fitness’ Zumba on the Plaza events taking place this summer.

·      The importance of work/life balance.

·      Lessons Lynn has learned in business and about herself in growing Edge Fitness over the past few years.

·      Lynn’s personal motivation for Edge Fitness to further personal wellness at an affordable level.

·      Being kind to yourself and taking time for self-care.

·      Business resources in the community.

·      The importance of reaching out and asking for help when you need it.

“If you really have a drive for something or a passion for something, you can make it happen. …You need the passion, anything can be learned.” -Lynn Bounds, Founder of Edge Fitness

Episode 73: 'Should You Build Your Business in Stealth Mode?' with Chris Lukenbill and Jan Hagenbrock


This week on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneurs Chris Lukenbill and Jan Hagenbrock and have a focused discussion about building a business in stealth mode. We talk about what stealth mode is in business development, why some businesses may build in this manner, and why some choose to grow their business outside of stealth mode. This was a great conversation today and hopefully the first of many focused debates on our podcast.

"The challenge that you're running into of going into stealth mode is that your only feedback is from this eco-chamber of people that think it's a good idea." -Chris Lukenbill

"When you [build a business] on your own, you waste your most precious resource, which is your time. You can't get that back." -Jan Hagenbrock

Episode 68: Winona State University + Information Technology Expert Panel, Part 2


This week on the podcast, we listen in to the final portion of audio from a recent Information Technology (IT) Expert Panel with Winona State University Rochester and Collider Coworking. This panel event facilitated an “open and fluid” conversation about IT in Rochester, talent and educational needs in the field, and how higher education organizations like Winona State can help to fill these gaps. The podcast today is the second in this two part series from the discussion. The expert IT panel at the event included David Borrillo of CoreLogic, Nadia Wood of The Hybrids, and Chris Lukenbill of Fresh with Edge. In this final part of the discussion, the panel talked about the importance of developing a business around their IT product, lessons they learned while building a company, what they look for when hiring talent for a startup, and the reality of working with a remote team.

“It’s not just about developing a software solution. It’s also about…the business around it.” –Nadia Wood, Founder of The Hybrids

Episode 66: Garret Sorensen and Mandala Tea


This week on the podcast we talk with Garret Sorensen of Mandala Tea. This business imports and sells Chinese and Taiwanese teas and tea accessories and is based in Rochester, Minnesota. On the show today we talk about the meditative and health benefits of tea, the different types of tea, and how to hold a proper tea service. Garret also shared how the business has grown and developed over the last 13 years of operation, especially through an increased online and social media presence, and how the Mandala Tea was recently revitalized after he almost walked away from it all.

“I think that one of the things is, as far as business success for myself, is not being afraid to ask for help.” – Garret Sorensen

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.

Episode 26: 1 Million Cups Finally Arrives in Rochester

1 Million Cups has finally arrived in Rochester. The inaugural edition of 1 Million Cups Rochester took place this morning at 9AM. The event will be held the first Wednesday of every month, at 9AM, in the Bleu Duck Kitchen event space. 1 Million Cups is a national, educational event for entrepreneurs that is based out of the Kauffman Foundation.

Here’s how to keep in touch with the 1 Million Cups Rochester community:

1 Million Cups Rochester Page




Featured Rochester Rising story: Two Mayo Graduate Students Developing Automated Solution for Cell Culture

Episode 24: Ryan Utterback and Pure Rock Studios

This week, I got to sit down with Iowa native and current Rochester resident Ryan Utterback and learn about his journey building and growing Pure Rock Studios. Pure Rock Studios is a music lesson and entertainment center in northeast Rochester that custom fits lessons to fit the needs of its students. Utterback and his team of fourteen professional musicians place an emphasis on live performance, if the students want to gain this experience. Utterback himself is a professional drummer. He spent several years studying and working as a musician in Hollywood and plays in the local country band County Line Drive.

You can catch the Pure Rock Studios students at their Winter Showcase Saturday February 4th from 1-7PM at Wicked Moose. In this week’s podcast, Ryan and I chatted about Pure Rock, the value of performance, and the future of the local music scene in Rochester.

This week’s featured Rochester Rising article: Rochester Rising and Collider Coworking Bring Rochester’s First Racing Team for Entrepreneurs to the City

Click here to join the Risky Business Racing Team.

Click here for the Risky Business Facebook group.

Rochester Rising Episode 14: Summer Laqua and Sola Salon

This week I got the chance to sit down with local business woman and native Minnesotan Summer Laqua. Summer is a professional hair stylist who runs her own salon at Sola Salon Studios in the Shoppes on Maine. There is a second Sola Salon location in northwest Rochester.

  • Sola Salon Studios began in 2004 and currently has three hundred national locations. Sola Salon Studios is made up of hair and beauty professionals who independently rent and operate a suite at a Sola location. These professions are provided with business resources, training, and tools to succeed by Sola Salon.
  • Summer has been a hair stylist for thirteen years. She opened her own suite at Sola Salon this past year where she is surrounded by passionate individuals.
  • Summer has expressed herself creatively throughout her life. She enjoyed crafting and painting as a child and has always loved dancing.
  • The biggest lessons Summer has learned while growing her business are not to settle and to constantly grow. She sets small goals to achieve big ones.
  • You can find Summer at Studio #19 at the southeast Sola Salon Studios location or reach her by phone at (507) 421-1924.

“I realized somewhere in my mid-twenties that if I don’t make changes in my life, my life is going to pass me by. If I don’t create the life that I want, then I’m not going to get it. And I started to believe in myself, that I could have whatever I wanted. It was up to me. And I just needed to go for it.” –Summer Laqua.