Virtual Tales on Tap: Christensen Farms

Date: September 29, 2020

Time: 15:00-16:25

Location: Virtual

If your company is a member of the Minnesota Chamber, you will need to log in to our portal to receive member pricing. For instructions on how to create portal credentials and how to register for an event, click here

Join us September 29 via Zoom to hear the story of Christensen Farms from Director of Public Affairs, JoDee Haala. Attendees will not only learn about Christensen Farms and be able to ask JoDee questions, but also meet each other via virtual networking breakout rooms. This event is a great way to connect with other business professionals from across the state from the comfort of your own home or office.

Christensen Farms was recently featured on our blog. Click here to view that post, and join us on September 29 to learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting Minnesota's pork industry. 

Tales on Tap is a series of after-hour get-togethers where guests learn the impressive stories behind a collection of some of Minnesota’s most innovative companies. Attendees gain special insight on fellow Minnesota Chamber member company operations from the owners and top-level managers. Plus, it’s an opportunity to unwind from the workday and connect with other business professionals.


Date: December 6, 2020

Location: Graham Park Fairgrounds, Rochester, MN

Food and beverage businesses from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota are called to register for the Seventh Annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace festival, to be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. To accommodate social distancing needs, a hybrid event is planned, offering online ordering with curbside pickup plus a modified in-person marketplace to take place at the Graham Park County Fairgrounds. Food businesses that use local ingredients can learn more and register online at

Just like grocery stores were called out as essential, farmers markets have continued their service of bringing local farm produce to consumers. This was quickly apparent in Rochester when an online sales platform designed for bulk sales was shifted to allow for smaller pack sales to individual consumers for a drive-thru farmers market on March 21.

Jan Joannides, Executive Director of Renewing the Countryside and co-founder of the FEAST! Local Foods Network, was part of the Farmers Market Food Hub team that made that online pivot, and will be guiding efforts to get FEAST! vendor information online for ordering. “FEAST! is all about expanding markets for farms and food businesses in our region, so we’re all in for meeting the challenge of achieving that amidst the need for safe distancing.”

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is excited to see FEAST transition to a new, covid-friendly, event format. MDA’s Marketing Section Supervisor, Emily Jerve said, “The FEAST! team is adapting their approach to continue to support the food community in their region, just as we recently pivoted a popular cost sharing program to help Minnesota farmers and food makers who are innovating in the new covid-influenced food marketing channels, including E-commerce.”

FEAST! hosts more than 100 regional food businesses each year, including national award-winners. Many exhibitors utilize locally-grown ingredients in foods like cheese, jam, and wine, and include features like gluten-free, grass-fed and organic, as well as environmentally- and socially-responsible practices. See the 2019 exhibitors here, and an array of photos from the 2019 event here

FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace is co-hosted by non-profit organizations, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundationand Renewing the Countryside, and sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. For more, visit Follow @localfeastnetwork on Facebook, @Local_Feast on Twitter, localfeast on Instagram, and use #localFEAST to join the conversation.

Agricultural Drainage + Future of Water Quality

Date: August 20, 2020

Time: 8:00 am - 12:30 pm

FREE Virtual Event.

Join industry leaders, landowners, producers, and agencies for a series of virtual presentations and small group discussions about water resources solutions that address the need for improved drainage, enhanced habitat, and meaningful progress toward water quality goals throughout our region.

Greater Mankato Business Awards & Hall of Fame

Date: November 10, 2020

Time: 5:30 - 8:30 pm

Location: Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center (1 Civic Center Plz, Mankato, MN 56001)

Each year Greater Mankato Growth, Inc., which includes Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, City Center Partnership, and GreenSeam, recognizes outstanding businesses, organizations and professionals at the Greater Mankato Business Awards & Hall of Fame. 

GreenSeam Awards & Nomination Forms:

The GreenSeam Awards have been established to honor businesses or organizations that have contributed to the betterment of life in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa by creating jobs or development opportunities for employees.

These recipients have demonstrated qualities of entrepreneurship and a commitment to their community through service, volunteerism or partnerships.

  • Seamed in Success
    The Seamed in Success award recognizes an exemplary business, organization, community or individual who has made a large impact and added value to the region by highlighting the importance of agriculture.
    Nomination Form

  • Growing in the GreenSeam
    The Growing in the GreenSeam award recognizes an outstanding business that has shown innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and contribution to our vibrant region.
    Nomination Form

E1 Ignite Cup Pitch Competition

Date: May 7, 2020

Time: 5:00 - 7:00 pm


About our Pitch Competition…

If you love the Shark Tank, you’ll love watching local and regional businesses make the case that they have potential!

The E1 Ignite Cup is a startup competition to connect and grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem. The winner of our pitch competition will be a guaranteed semi-finalist at the MN Cup. Watch startups who are at various stages of their business pitch for a chance to grow their company.

A panel of judges assembled from experienced entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem builders will have a chance to question and advise the entrepreneurs after each pitch, as well as forge connections with local and regional resources.

Thank you to our Judges 
Steve Mercil — Investor, Rain Source Capital
Pam Bishop — E1 Partner, SMIF
Mark Thein — Regional Partner, SBDC
Jessica Berg — Regional Partner, MN Cup
Sam Ziegler — E1 Partner, Greenseam
Traci Downs — E1 Partner, Collider
Jerry Olson — Community Member, Olson HR

Are you a business that wants to pitch?

Do you have a business idea you want to pitch to prospective investors and earn the potential to be an automatic semi-finalist in the MN Cup? 

E1 Ignite Cup Prizes
1st Place Winner
· Automatic Semi-Finalist in MN Cup
· $500 Cash Prize sponsored by Great North Labs
· 30-minute mentoring session from each judge
· Designated spot in Startup School Cohort by ILT Studios
2nd Place Winner
· 30-minute mentoring session from each judge
People's Choice Award 
· To be announced

Deadline to apply: April 22nd at 11:59pm CST
Notification of acceptance: April 24th 
Pitch will be pre-recorded and submitted prior to the event. 
Instructions for video recording and submission will be sent along with notification of acceptance.
The deadline for the video submission is April 30th 11:59 pm CST

Value Proposition Design Online

Date: April 22, 2020

Time: 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Location: Webinar

Launch Minnesota and Carlson School - Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship are pleased to announce a lean startup course for technology entrepreneurs.

A structured, hands-on program to quickly assess and refine business concepts, thus avoiding costly mistakes and accelerating your progress to market launch.

  • Lean Startup Intro
  • Product-Market Fit
  • Customer Discovery
  • Pathway to Commercialization
  • Market Assessment

This course begins April 22 and will be held via webinar every other Wednesday.

Ag Summit 2020

Date: April 1, 2020

Time: 8:00 am

Location: Steele County Four Seasons Centre 1525 South Elm Avenue Owatonna, MN 55060

**NOTE: please see event website for any postponements or cancellations due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)** 
The annual Riverland Community College Ag Summit is for producers, food processors, agribusiness professionals, educators, and students.

About this Event:

Riverland’s annual Ag Summit, an informative day of learning and networking for the Ag community. The event is Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna, Minnesota. Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m. with the opening session at 8:30 a.m. A delicious brunch featuring local foods will be served.

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Patrice Bailey, Assistant Commissioner for Minnesota Department of Agriculture, will speak on the Future of Agriculture.

Bailey oversees Outreach, Agricultural Marketing and Development, Dairy and Meat Inspection, and Food and Feed Safety for the MDA. Bailey, a native of Harlem, New York, holds a B.S. in Agriculture Education from Prairie View A&M University (Texas) and has a Master's Degree in Agriculture from Iowa State University. He has served the Twin Cities in several positions focused on bridging underrepresented communities of color to various available resources and advocating for them legislatively at the Capitol. Most recently, he served as the Outreach Director for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage.

Breakout sessions include:

  • Economics of Improving Soil Health with Andy Linder, Minnesota’s 2019 Minnesota Outstanding Conservationist;
  • Best Practices in Farm Transition Planning with U of M expert Megan Roberts; grain marketing; Conservation Agriculture with The Nature Conservancy;
  • Farm Business Management's 2019 Annual Report for Southern Minnesota (data on finances, crops, and livestock).


Richard Schmitz Food Entrepreneurship Series- Be Local, See Global

Date: March 16, 2020

Time: 3:30-5 pm

Location: Ostrander Auditorium - Centennial Student Union, Minnesota State University, Mankato

**NOTE: please see event website for any postponements or cancellations due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)** 


Please join us for a fireside chat featuring two national prominent women leaders in Ag, Kristin Duncanson and Sheryl Meshke.

Be Local, See Global

Join Kristin Duncanson, owner and partner of Highland Family Farms and Sheryl Meshke, CEO of Associated Milk Producers, Inc. for an event showcasing how innovation is survival in an ever-changing agriculture world. Learn how innovation, supply chain managment, sustainability and consumer needs are at the forefront of their daily decision making. Kristin and Sheryl both serve as board members for the the MN AgriGrowth Council. Through their local involvements, they are committed to making an impact on a global scale.


Kristin Ducanson and Sheryl Meshke both know what it takes to be a successful and innovative entrepreneur. Kristin is the owner and partner of Highland Family farms, a Minnesota-based corn, soy and hog farm. She is focused on the triple bottom line, committed to creating benefits in the social, economic and environmental world. Sheryl, Co-President and CEO of Associated Milk Producers, Inc, knows what agriculture success and failure means from all angles. By knowing the industry first hand and educating others, she strives to strengthen the future of the ag and dairy industries.



The Richard R. and Mary L. Schmitz Endowment for Opportunities in Food Entrepreneurship was founded in 1999. The fund creates scholarships and supports an annual lecture by industry experts in the category of food entrepreneurship. This includes executives within a broad range of food processing, retailing and wholesaling industries. Some recent lecturers include Dan & Angie Bastian (Angie’s Artisan Treats), Dave Rettig (Rembrandt Foods) and Glenn Stolt (Christensen Farms).

This lecture provides an opportunity for Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Business to engage the growing sector of Agri-business with our students, alumni, and friends in a format that educates the community about growing needs in the agriculture world.



Jen Cucurullo

Igniting Our Regional Entrepreneurs

Date: February 20, 2020

Time: 5-8:30 PM

Location: Red Wing Ignite, 419 Bush St, Red Wing, Minnesota 55066

Don’t miss out on what’s going on in the entrepreneurial ecosystem
in our region.

At this event, we will discuss the entrepreneurial resources through education, collaboration, market research, business competitions, coaching and mentoring. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn about the exciting things happening in the next few years to jump-start businesses.

You’ll learn more about how we are igniting the regional entrepreneurial resources through education, collaboration, market research, business competitions, coaching, mentoring, and co-working spaces. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to help your community because we are stronger together in our regional efforts.

You will leave this event with new contacts, collaboration tools, knowledge about resources and a greater understanding about investors and funding.

Facebook Event page:

Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Annual Meeting

Date: March 10, 2020

Time: 4:30-8 pm

Location: Minnesota State University, Mankato - Centennial Student Union Ballroom (220 Centennial Student Union, Mankato, MN 56001)

This event brings together the business community along with Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, City Center Partnership and GreenSeam to share the accomplishments of the current year and celebrate the vision for the future. This is also a time where we raise a glass to the companies, organizations and volunteers who partner with us to help our community thrive. 

We recognize individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions, demonstrated leadership through service and volunteerism and made a contribution to the betterment of quality of life, business environment and economic vitality.