Broadband is only one ingredient is success –relationship is another

Red Wing Ignite supports economic development in Red Wing based on community-wide access to gig broadband. They were a Blandin Broadband community. They’re a great example of maximizing the value of a gig by getting people to use it.

The Red Wing Republican Eagle recently posted a letter from Susan Sorensen Langer (founder of Live.Give.Save., won the annual Ignite Cup business competition in early 2017) about Red Wing Ignite’s role in that win.

First info on Live.Give.Save

Live.Give.Save. is a mobile app that makes saving and giving as easy as spending. We’re aiming it particularly at millennials. We call the concept “Spaving.” Every time you spend on yourself, you save for your future and give to someone in need without changing a thing. Together, we’re making the world better … one community, one person, one transaction at a time.

Now some background on the development of the business…

Kirsten Mikkelson Ford of Focus Design sparked everything off by recommending I meet Neela Mollgaard of Red Wing Ignite. That spark lit a flame of opportunities that continue today. Neela first invited me to apply to Red Wing Ignite’s accelerator program, followed by an introduction to Mark Thein of Small Business Development Center, who helped me develop my business financials, and then Shari Chorney of Red Wing Port Authority, who suggested I apply for a loan from agency’s newly created entrepreneurial fund.

I joined Ignite’s coworking office space and received a Port Authority loan to conduct marketing and develop a prototype. Kirsten, Neela, Mark and Shari participated in a “Design Thinking” session at The Nerdery (a large software development firm in Bloomington, Minn.,) to help inform and shape our prototype design. The prototype was completed in December 2015 and used to help solicit funding from prospective early-stage investors (aka, family and friends). I was introduced to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation where I also applied for funding.

My company — Live.Give.Save. — became a formal corporate entity in February 2016 and I started raising capital, over-subscribing our seed round that summer. I hired a chief technology officer, Tim Dokken (who serendipitously grew up and graduated from Red Wing High School), to lead our technology development.

Now here’s the best part: While sitting around a table during one of our coworking updates at Ignite, I shared that we needed to establish a beta test for our product. I received a list of individuals to contact in the community and the concept of our community-led, controlled beta test was formed. …

We were recently invited to participate in the Ignite Cup — and won! — earning us a semifinalist position in the Minnesota Cup, the nation’s largest statewide startup competition.

I just had a funny conversation today about broadband and increase in jobs. I maintained that jobs was a 20th century measurement for a 21st century opportunity. I think this is a good example. You need broadband – but that’s not the only connection you need. Communities with broadband and support like Red Wing Ignite are well poised to take on their future!


This entry was posted in economic development, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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