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Elevator Grant - 7th Annual Conference - Minnesota State Community and Technical College, MN
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$7,500 to support the Three-Part Speaker & Educational Series -- an ongoing community outreach and educational effort that will feature inspirational entrepreneurship speakers and educational events for local and regional business people and entrepreneurs.


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Ended on a Light-Hearted Laugh with Speaker Series

Posted By Beth Pridday, Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our final Speaker Series held April 9th was aimed at a look at a light-hearted look the day to day trials of being a business owner and entrepreneur.  Motivational speaker, Sue Hamilton engaged us for an hour with her upbeat message about learning to love what we do no matter what, staying positive and keeping a smile on our face despite the challenges we face.  The audience took time to share their funny experiences as small business owners and entrepreneurs that they have encountered.

We again, offered a companion workshop following this Speaker Series - Visual Journaling - a creative way to approach your business plan or idea and this workshop was a-buzz with 15 attendees who told me they "had a blast" and "wished it would have been 3 hrs long" as they explored their business ideas and concepts in a visual journaling approach with life coach & consultant Kelly Pratt.

This was again an indicator that folks that attended our Speaker Series did enjoy the enhanced opportunity of the workshops following our Speaker Series and we are making plans to continue this opportunity next year and we explore how to move forward with our 2010 Fall/Winter and 2011 Winter/Spring schedule for our 3rd Annual Speaker Series events.

Again, thank you to the Foundation - we could have NOT done it without you.  More than 1000 people attended our 9 Speaker Series events and workshops over the past 9 months - what a great example of entrepreneurial outreach in our region of small communities.

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We "March-ed" on in March with Nationally Known Speaker - Mark LeBlanc

Posted By Beth Pridday, Wednesday, April 14, 2010

March brought yet another successful Speaker Series, as we welcomed Mark LeBlanc to Detroit Lakes and M State and he spoke to our crowd of 80+ people about "Growing Your Business" - his common sense practical and applicable advice was very well received and many folks took them back to their businesses and put them in to practice and have been sharing their amazing results with us even today.  

Additionally, we enhanced our Speaker Series with a workshop opportunity following the Speaker Series with Mark LeBlanc leading a smaller group of 30 who eagerly paid $29 to have more intimate hour and half with him to dig deeper in to his insight in to how to grow your business by using tactics such as:  1)  creating a defining statement 2) making a list of the 25 most influential people in your life and contacting them 3) going back to the "old school" basics of business cards, rolodexes, databases and more to create and book your time and talents to result in more business.....his practical advice again was very well-received and we continue to hear feedback from his time spent at M State.

We were lucky enough to secure Mark's speaking engagement by negotiating a "hometown" price and with the generous grant funding we secured from the Coleman Foundation.

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February Speakers Series Features Panel of Experts - WOWza!

Posted By Beth Pridday, Thursday, February 25, 2010
Our February 12th Speaker Series was entitled:  Hook Me Up:  networking, Freebies and More! and featured three experts in PR, marketing, print, graphic design and marketing and WOWza....what a great turnout (more than 80 attendees) and many first-timers who were MORE than willing to pay our small fee ($10) for the valuable information they received from these folks!  I used "hook ups" and personal friends in the business to fill my panel and was not disappointed about their willingess to share their knowledge and expertise, as well as their time afterwards to personally answer questions one-on-one and meet with folks.
The event also featured a large packet of "free" marketing tools that we assembled and gave as part of their attendance fee to the event.  In addition, our sponsor, the Detroit Lakes Young Professionals group, gave us the monies to also offer free refreshments, which are also a big hit on an early Friday morning.
One of the greatest outcomes was that our panelists stuck around for almost TWO hours to discuss marketing, PR and other topics with our attendees and didn't seem to mind a bit and in fact THANKED ME for having them and two panelist posted public comment on their experiences in Detroit Lakes, at BES and MState on their Facebook pages, which was seen and heard by many and received many positive feedbacks and comments!
Additionally, many of our attendees begin to practice some of their "tips" and tools they got at the event by immediately getting on Facebook, sending our e-marketing and press releases.  It was an amazing reaction to watch and be a part of!
Lastly, I also received many nice email following the event from first time attendees saying how impressed they were with our services and events we offer at BES!
THANKS Coleman Foundation for helping us put some WOWza into our Speaker Series and for allowing us to help energize entrepereurs in our region!

"Thank you Beth.
I was out yesterday, but did attend the meeting this morning. Great
information!  I had made a comment to Ashley Wilde, the gal that came with me this
morning, about how GREAT of a speaker you are. You're so very comfortable and captivating.  Looking forward to your next event."

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Predictions Correct for "fee-based" Speaker Series

Posted By Beth Pridday, Tuesday, January 5, 2010
As I predicted in my last blog just before our first "fee-based" Speaker Series event our attendance numbers were significantly lower, however what I am pleased to share is that although quanity was down, quality was up.  Our attendance #'s were 26 (down from an average of 75-120) but the small group atmosphere was ignited by energy and exchange that can only sometimes happen in that setting.
The feedback/emails that I received from the attendees (NOT on the paper survey) was confirmation that these "fee-based" Speaker Series have value and were invabluable to those that attended.  We pushed ahead with our plans to hold the break-out mini workshop immediately following and had 5 participants at that and again, it continued to be a valuable experience and education for those that attended.
As always the positive fallout  of our Speaker Series continues to amaze me - - one of the attendees has been energized to start an Entrepreneurial Support Group (ie - MasterMind); several attendees have registered for our workshops we are offering in 2010; and the speaker donated her books to our research library and an attendee stepped up to be a judge in our upcoming HS Business Plan competition this Spring. 
We are moving in to our 2010 line up and will continue our fee-based Speaker Series with the topic:  The Emotional Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship on Fri, Jan 8th - our pre-registration numbers are low, but I have nopes that will again have attendance of approx. 25-30 and another successful event!  I have used the same marketing/public relations efforts for this event as before.  This speaker does not require a fee (she is PT faculty and has graciously agreed to not charge) so I am able to re-direct some funds to paid newspaper.
Two changes I will be implementing in a response to the lower attendance and in an effort to create a more intitmate envirornment for learnng and sharing are:  1) moved the event to a small room with seating for up to 50;  2)  providing coffee/refreshments sponsored by area organizations and businesses to create a more "social" atmosphere.  Looking forward to testing the "feel" of this on Friday.
We have three remaining Speaker Series events after this Friday - I look forward to sharing our results with you and how the Coleman Grant has positiviely affected our ongoing efforts to educate and excite our region about entrepreneurship!

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Speaker Series Marketing on a Budget

Posted By Beth Pridday, Friday, December 4, 2009
Our first Coleman Grant funds are being put to use at our upcoming Speaker Series event on Friday, Dec 11th AND we are stepping out of our usual pattern of offering our events at "no charge" to the community.  This event will have a small fee, along with an additional educational opportunity immediately following in a small group workshop format for another additional fee.  This is in response to the feedback we received from attendees last year and this - - they wanted "more" - smaller group discussion, their personal questions anwered and more education vs lecture.  Our RSVP's are low and we have not required them before, so I have no expections or idea of our #'s on Friday but we are going to move forward and try and educate the public with our marketing and public relations about the "value" of this Speaker Series and hope that they invest.
Our marketing has consisted of press releases, posters, e-blasts, a 1/2 hrly weekly radio show I am a guest on, a local cable TV show guest appearance to help market and PR this event and also the idea of "fee based" Speaker Series events and workshops going forward.  Our community relies on all of these media sources for their information so we are trying to use a combination of 'free' media and paid advertising to reach our audience/potential attendees.
Our Coleman funds will be utilized to pay our speaker for this event and also assist in advertising costs.  Up until this point, we have have 'free' community based speakers and been using a combination of 'free' media and other grant and internal sources to fund our limited paid advertising.
I'll report our results on the Dec. 11th Speaker Series and workshop in my next blog.

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Speaker Series

Posted By Beth Pridday, Thursday, November 12, 2009
We are entering in to our Part II of our Speaker Series, which has been a very well-received community outreach program of our Business & Entrepreneurial Services and I'm thrilled to have received the $7500 which will allow me to pay stipends to regional and nationally known speakers and spend some needed dollars on marketing as well to continue to grow our attendance.
Our next Speaker Series is coming up tomorrow - Fri, Nov. 13th and we are showing a documentary:  The Call of the Entrepreneur and invited local HS's to join us in this, as well as the community and expect a good turnout.  We also inticed them with pop and popcorn and underwrote those expenses with two generous sponsors - a new entrepreneurial business and a downtown business association!
Our Speaker Series continues to be the 'connection' to the community and has acted as a feeder for our PEV course, our non credit workshops, our incubator tenants (two currently reside because they came to Speaker Series) and also elevates us a regional resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
I've attached the flier with our upcoming topics/speakers AND will talk more about our extending the experience by offering mini-workshops after some of the events for an additional fee and more intense educational experience.  A new venture for us, as well as the fee-based speakers - - we'll see how it goes!

Download File (PDF)

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