Red Wing Ignite – entrepreneurs pitch to investors

I have attended this event at Red Wing Ignite in the past and really enjoyed it! I don’t know if I can make it, but if you’re in the area, it’s super fun…

Come hear from emerging businesses as they pitch their ideas to investors!

  • Blue Water Farms
  • Poultry Patrol
  • Prempoint
  • School Shark
  • Sprowt Labs
  • SubioMed

This is a terrific opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their big ideas while gaining exposure among prospective investors and business leaders. For investors, it’s an great opportunity to learn about new product and technology innovations and activities within the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

When: Tuesday, January 21 from 5:00 PM-8:00 PM Where: Red Wing Ignite, 419 Bush Street, Red Wing, MN
Evening Schedule: 5:00-Social Hour 6:00-Program 7:00-Networking & Meet the Entrepreneurs

EVENT: Broadband Day on the Hill – March 12, 2020

The MN Rural Broadband Coalition reports…

The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition is proud to announce its Day on the Hill will take place on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul.
Join your fellow broadband advocates from across the state for our Day on the Hill event! The Day on the Hill provides you with a unique opportunity to travel to St. Paul for a day of broadband advocacy and networking with colleagues and legislators.
The Day on the Hill is a great chance for you to speak with legislators directly about why increased access to broadband will improve the lives of Minnesotans.
Mark Your Calendars!  A full description of the day’s events and registration details will be sent to members in the coming weeks.

EVENT March 16: CoBank Broadband Symposium

Looks like a conference many readers might want to attend as part of MREA’s annual meeting

March 16, 2020 (M 8-4)
InterContinental Hotel, St. Paul

Other pre-conference:
NRECA BLC 918.1 Maximizing your grassroots strategy (Mon. March 16, 8:30-4:30)

Monday, March 16

7 am          Breakfast

8 am          Why are you here? Doran Dennis, CoBank

8:15 am     Understanding a feasibility study and the resulting business plan, TBD, Vantage Point

9:15 am     Deploying the right technology, TBD, NRTC

10 am        Break

10:30 am   The right products, the right people, the right pricing, the right promotion, TBD

11:15 pm   Funding your broadband project, Doran & Jonathan, CoBank/Conexon

12 pm        Lunch

1 pm          Business structures, legal and regulatory, Ty Thompson, NRECA

1:45 pm     Break

2:15 pm     Panel discussion, CEO panel.

3:15 pm     Partnering for success, NRECA

4 pm          Broadband operations, Randy Klindt, Conexon

5 pm          Meeting concludes


Sen Klobuchar team talks to Mankato about broadband, housing, transportation and childcare (video included)

There were about 30 people in the Blue Earth County Courthouse room on Dec 17. Lots of community leaders and techies. The conversation extends beyond broadband. I only took notes on the broadband portions – but they also discussed housing, transportation and childcare.

Intro on broadband from Chuck Ackman from Klobuchar’s Office:

Broadband was infrastructure (historically) until the Senator realized it’s a rural issue.

Recent federal happening:

  • Broadband Deployment data (mapping) introduced in July
  • Measuring economic impact of broadband introduced in June
  • Integrity Act (share info) with other government departments
  • Establish Precision Ag Task Force (met for first time last month)

We’re looking for ways to do more with information. The Office of Broadband Development does a good job with that but not every state has an OBD.

Notes from participants:

Brent Christensen:

Hosted the FCC Chair in Madelia last year. Sen Klobuchar has been awesome on this issue. It’s great to see the MN Model go national. Thanks for help with FCC with transition from USF to CAF. The State Broadband Grant program has captured the attention in other states. We have done mapping in MN since 2008. They aren’t perfect, but we tweak them. Our goal is to get border to border broadband – we work with communities on creative solutions. We have several counties with border to border access now – when the community works with their local providers.

We have worked to connect the state grants and federal dollars ($66 million a year comes into the state from fed), which means we use federal funding for broadband as speeds that Minnesota impacts, which means better than would otherwise happen.

We need help with MNDOT – faster permitting would be helpful.

Colleen Landkamer:

It’s expansive to build broadband. Lake County got $66 million to build broadband it came from USDA. So we’d like to see continued funding through the UDSA

Jim Beattie:

The grant program has leveraged private and local public money too. There’s always a partner. We have received 6 grants; waiting to hear on the 2019 awards. There’s $20 million available with $70 million in requests. It has been funded for two years, which is very helpful for planning.

We will see a rapid expansion of broadband – despite short construction season and weather.

I think we’ll get to border to border broadband in 9 years. Continue reading

EVENT DECEMBER 17: Klobuchar Staff to Hold Public Roundtable Discussions on Transportation, Infrastructure, Broadband, and Housing in Minnesota

My plan is to follow along, take notes and livestream. I’ve joined them in the past and they tone has been very conversational so if you have something to say, you might want to show up…

Klobuchar’s staff will hold meetings with state and local officials and community organizations to discuss transportation, infrastructure, broadband, and housing needs

Members of the public are invited to join these discussions and share their communities’ successful projects and priorities for future needs

MINNEAPOLIS– On Tuesday, December 17, representatives from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office will meet with state and local officials and community organizations for a series of public roundtable discussions to highlight local and regional transportation, infrastructure, broadband, and housing successes, current projects and future needs. Members of the public are invited to join these discussions and share their perspectives on the importance of investing in regional community development projects.

Klobuchar’s staff will host roundtable discussions in Mankato and Windom. These events are free and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, December 17

11:00 a.m.

Blue Earth County Courthouse, Third Floor Conference Room

204 South 5th Street

Mankato, MN 56001

2:30 p.m.

Windom City Hall, Council Chambers

444 9th Street

Windom, MN 56101

Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has consistently called for greater infrastructure investments. Klobuchar was one of the first Democratic Senators to support the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. In December 2015, the FAST Act directed more than $4 billion over five years in federal funding for Minnesota to invest in its roads, bridges and transit systems.

As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Klobuchar has long championed closing the digital divide and expanding access to the internet. In July, Klobuchar and Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Gary Peters (D-MI), and John Thune’s (R-SD) bipartisan legislation to improve the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband coverage maps passed the Senate Commerce Committee. The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act would require the FCC to collect more granular data from fixed, wireless, and satellite broadband providers, strengthen the accuracy of data from mobile broadband providers, consider a process to ensure data is reliable, and create a process for state, local, and Tribal governments to challenge the FCC maps’ accuracy. In June, Klobuchar and Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV) legislation to improve broadband connectivity passed the Senate. The Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Technology, to conduct a study of the effects of the digital economy and the adoption of broadband deployment on the U.S. economy. Klobuchar and Wicker also led the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bipartisan legislation directs the FCC to establish a task force to identify gaps in broadband coverage and encourage broadband deployment on farms and ranchland.

Klobuchar has supported various housing programs including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the Home Investment Partnerships Program (the HOME Program), the USDA Rural Housing Programs, and funds from the Community Development Block Grant.

EVENT Dec 13: Website Trends for 2020 in Minneapolis

I know it won’t be in everyone’s neighborhood, but for folks in the Twin Cities, it’s an interesting free event from Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

With the year winding down, MCN invites you to join the final Communications Networking Lunch of 2019. We’re happy to have Dan Moriarty of Electric Citizen join us at MCN’s offices on Friday, December 13 to talk about “Website Trends for 2020.”


It just 8 years ago that the term “responsive design” was coined, and now it’s the expectation that every website is mobile-ready. Just last year that Google Chrome started tagging sites as “not secure” if they weren’t encrypted with HTTPS.

New tools and techniques for designing and managing your website continue to be released, and user expectations continue to evolve. But with so much “newness,” what should we be paying attention to?

We’ll spend our time covering some of the latest trends, and how they might apply to your website. Some are coming soon, while others are still far away. Some are already here!

Topics include:

    • Chatbots
    • Voice search
    • Decoupled websites
    • JAM Stack powered websites (JavaScript/APIs/Markup)
    • Online privacy, and privacy experience
    • AI and machine learning

Event Details (No RSVP necessary)
Friday, December 13 from 12 – 1 p.m.
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
2314 University Ave. W., Suite 20, St. Paul
Learn more

As always, these networking gatherings are FREE and open to anyone interested in the topic, and no RSVP is necessary. Bring your questions, ideas, and lunch and join the conversation!

MN Broadband Task Force – new group meets for the first time (Dec 2019)

It almost feels like the first day of high school. Some folks know the ropes but there are a lot of (very smart and qualified) freshmen in the room. So there was a lot of introductions, rules of engagement (open meeting et al) and planning for the future. It was interesting to get to know the new folks. If I wanted a Reader’s Digest version of the meeting I’d read the intros directly below and then track to the bottom for their brainstormed goals. Or you can kickback and watch the meeting in its entirety.

Welcome from Steve Grove (Commissioner of DEED)

Thank you for helping us build a better Minnesota. A tribal nations leader will be joining the Task Force soon. Continue reading