North Dakota Business Owners Get Expert Advice at Ecosummit

They're getting a step ahead in the local business world at the first Entrepreneurial Ecosummit

FARGO, ND — Many say Fargo is a city with great football, healthcare and education.

But local business leaders are saying it’s much more.

“It’s an incredible business climate where people of all ages, all backgrounds, have an opportunity to build companies that make an impact,” said Greg Tevhen, executive director at Emerging Prairie.

Fargo is full of small businesses and it’s the entrepreneurs behind those ideas which make North Dakota’s economy thrive.

Entrepreneurial leaders want to make the state’s economy even more successful by meeting with North Dakota business people.

They tried to answer one question.

“How do we up North Dakota’s start-up game, entrepreneurial game, small business game, by helping and looking at a new way of how we help entrepreneurs,” said Andy Stoll from the Kauffman Foundation.

Stoll said the solution involves looking at places which already have strong entrepreneurial ecosystems.

“People with good ideas, they live everywhere, but places like Silicon Valley and New York, when we traditionally think of entrepreneurship, they built systems over decades to support their entrepreneurs,” Stoll said.

Tehven said support can only happen one way.

“Stripping away this idea that we all need to be a devil’s advocate, telling an entrepreneur why they can’t do something versus giving them all the reasons why they can,” Tehven said. “We want to increase optimism, participation and hopefully more and more people will start businesses.”

J. Legreid traveled from Bismarck for the conference because he hopes more people will develop businesses in his hometown.

“I want to help entrepreneurs be encouraged to take a risk and start a business and really make the community into the place where I want to raise a family someday,” Legried said.

It’s why he has some advice for any entrepreneurs who may be nervous to take the dive.

“Biggest encouragement is just to take the risk, take the jump, try and make those connections and go for it,” Legried said.

Emerging Prairie, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the Kauffman Foundation and the Startup Champions Network all hosted the summit.

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