Apr 3, 2018 | By: Shirelle Moore

MPR Hosts Panel About Entrepreneurship Featuring Bemidji Businesses

It was a packed house at the Hampton Inn in Bemidji tonight as community members came out to join Minnesota Public Radio in learning the secret behind Bemidji’s successful businesses.

“Bemidji over the years has become a hot bed of starting companies and expanding companies, and I became really interested in what’s happening here,” says Chris Farrell, the host of MPR’s Conversations On The Creative Economy.

Representatives from Bemidji Brewing, AirCorps Aviation and Stittsworth Meats all took part in the panel. They shared stories of their humble beginnings and the tricks of hiring the right staff, finding the ideal location and using social media to your advantage.

Tina Kaney, director of internal operations at Bemidji Brewing, says, “People are excited to work in our industry. It’s pretty popular right now and it’s getting a lot of coverage, especially in the Twin Cities, and people are becoming more aware of craft beer and all the different flavors, and so they’re excited to work for us and learn even more.”

Mychal Stittsworth, the owner of Stittsworth Meats, says, “I had a problem with advertising and not knowing how well it worked, so when I got into social media and doing things like that, I could see direct results on how well different things worked.”

“One of the things that we learned when we were exploring where to go is how much entrepreneurship is happening in greater Minnesota. There’s a lot going on. There are stories to be told. There are businesses that are being started,” says Farrell.

When asked why MPR chose Bemidji for the discussion, Farrell said there’s just something about the community that makes the town unique.

“It seems to be one of those places that’s trying to encourage people to start their own business; share information; nurture new businesses; encourage entrepreneurs. And that’s the kind of environment that we like exploring and understanding,” says Farrell.

For anyone hoping to start their own business one day, the panel offered some key advice.

“Just always kind of say ‘yes.’ Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and just stay focused and don’t give up, I guess,” says Erik Hokuf, the general manager of AirCorps Aviation.

Tonight’s entire discussion aired over MPR. You can listen to the event here.

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