What is it?

It’s a weekly gathering of entrepreneurs, mentors, advisors, and others to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. It is modeled after the 1 Million Cups initiative founded by the Kauffman Foundation. Entrepreneur leader in the Bemidji region have decided at this time to take pieces of the 1 Million Cups format but more importantly, make their own catering to the uniqueness of this Northern Minnesota region. The weekly meetings are called Entrepreneur Meetups.

Check out this video about the 1 million cups program

Meeting basics:

  • Everyone is welcome. This gathering is open to anyone interested in hearing, supporting, and connecting with the area’s entrepreneurs. No attendance requirements or membership fees.
  • The gatherings are run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
  • Meetings are weekly at 8:00 am to 9:00 am in the atrium of the Mayflower building. Come as early as 7:30 for social time.
  • Attendees are encouraged to come early or stay after to socialize and connect with new faces.
  • Presenters are encouraged to limit their presentation to 6 to 10 minutes to allow plenty of Q&A time.

Currently there are four rotating formats:

  • Learn & Grow’ Week where we hear successes and challenges from a local entrepreneur and learn what they see the future holds for their business.
  • ‘Motivational/Educational’ Week, where we bring in a presenter to inspire us to move to the next level in our business or educate us on a topic important to entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneur panel discussion’ Week – a chosen topic is presented to the group and the panelists provide their insight and engage discussion with the attendees.
  • Pitch’ Week – a time for someone to pitch an idea for a new business or a new direction for an existing business and receive valuable feedback from the group.
  • Open forum’ Week – free time to bring up topics on your mind or follow-up on previous Meet-Up discussions.

View this Month’s Activities

Each week involves entrepreneurs sharing with entrepreneurs. We find the engagement of the audience after the presentation (Q&A time) is where the magic happens.

Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather real-time feedback, connect with a community that cares about their progress, and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business.

The culture surrounding the Entrepreneurs Meetup is that of a supportive, neutral space welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face.

Interested in presenting or being a part of the of leader group?

Feel free to contact the leader team:

Erik Hokuf, Aircorp Aviation erik@airorpaviation.com

Sarah Hokuf, Evolve Creative sarah@evolve-creative.com

Samantha Nienow, Red Zest Design samantha@redzestdesign.com

Mychal Stittsworth, Stittsworth Meats mychalstitts@gmail.com

Mike Karvakko, Karvakko Engineering mike.karvakko@karvakko.com

Jason Brodina, Choice Therapy jbrodina@choicetherapy1.com

Justin ‘Bud’ Kaney, Bemidji Brewing Co. justin@bemidjibeer.com

 Tiffany Fettig, LaunchPad   Launchpad@greaaterbemidji.com

Past Presenters:

Mychal Stittsworth, Stittsworth Meats
Jason Brodina, Choice Therapy
Mitch Hill, Extreme Detail
‘Why I went into business for myself ‘panel –Sarah Hokuf (Evolve Creative), Raechel Schwarze (KD Floral), Kendra Fuller (Urbanesque), Erik Hokuf (Aircorp Aviation)
Blair Treuer, Babe’s Playground
Ester Aube, Book restoration
Tammy Schotzko, We Love Messes
Dr. Jim Bensen, BSU President Emeritus
‘Employee management’ panel – Tim Allen (T&K Outdoors), Jane Hastig (Glass Doctor),  Megan Hill (Bemidji Brewing), Jaime Quello (Peterson Sheet Metal),
Dan Carlson, Dive Depot
Micah Ricke, TEAM Industries
Colleen Falk, Fieldstone Financial
Marketing panel – John Martens (TJ Design), Mitch Blessing (Design Angler), Brian Bissonette (PBC), Trish Barthorpe (Photos By Trish)
Mark Hendrickson, Modular Electric Guitar’Talent Retention & Attraction’ Panel Discussion – Jason Brodina (Choice Therapy), Mike Karvakko (Karvakko Engineering), and Erik Hokuf (Aircorp Aviation)
Kim Nagle, Business consultant
Sarah Hokuf, Evolve Creative
Scott Nyegaard, Legacy Group
Britney Muller, Pryde Marketing
Adam Wagner, Vertical Malt Co.
Trish Barthrope, Photography By Trish
Deb McGregor, Life of Joy
Jen Johnson, The Skin Co. & Spa
Will Weaver, LitWeaver
Lew Crenshaw, Mentor
Molly Luther, Good Life Cafe
Dennis Weston, Arthurs Board
Kendra Fuller, Urbanesque Boutique
Brad Rutten, Task Automation
Keila McCracken

DSCN2932_2809Dan Carlson