Greater Fergus Falls expanded their entrepreneur initiative with a partnership with Rural Ideas Network.

In an effort to continue growing the business community, Greater Fergus Falls (GFF) launched an entrepreneur initiative earlier this spring; a no-cost, one-on-one, confidential business coaching program for new and early stage entrepreneurs. Due to the increased demand, GFF is pleased to announce a partnership with Rural Ideas Network to expand service offerings to entrepreneurs extending throughout their 10-mile service area.

Since inception, GFF has received over 430 inquiries requesting technical assistance from new and existing entrepreneurs, and this year alone, this program resulted in the creation of 20 new businesses. Expanding these services beyond the boundaries of Fergus Falls will provide rural entrepreneurs increased opportunities to move their ideas from conceptual to open for business.

The Rural Ideas Network is a consortium of people and communities sparking growth in rural America using proven programs and services. The Rural Ideas Network is a nonprofit organization that partners with rural communities and economic development organizations like GFF to provide a full spectrum of consulting services and programming to entrepreneurs. GFF’s new virtual entrepreneur lab will offer one-to-one startup coaching, business management coaching, entrepreneur roundtables, and professional development panels without ever having to leave home.

Executive leader Jordan DeGree said, “At the Rural Ideas Network, we're seeing a growing number of rural communities across the country refocus their economic development efforts on supporting the entrepreneurs who are already within their communities,” he continued, “this ‘grow your own’ approach to economic development makes a lot of sense when you consider that more than 50% of jobs in this country are generated by small businesses. We're thrilled to help communities like Fergus Falls amplify how they support their local business owners.”

GFF will continue to offer traditional in-person consulting to those located in Fergus Falls. To learn more about these free and confidential business support services, please visitgreaterfergusfalls.com/elab.

CEO Annie Deckert said, "This partnership allows us to provide professional one-on-one expertise to both those who want to start a business, and existing business owners in our community. The demand for these services has continued to increase, especially within the last six months. Rural Ideas Network provides a team of confidential experts and a setting for our entrepreneurs and businesses to access from the comfort of their own home, at no cost. Encouraging entrepreneurial innovation and strengthening our existing business climate is a crucial piece of our strategic framework, and compliments our proactive business recruitment and attraction efforts."

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