Guest Column: ALEAP embraces new local entrepreneurs

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

Guest Column by Noelle Hagen

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Global Entrepreneurship Week (Monday through Sunday). Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators and is observed in 165 countries with 35,000 events. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight our local network of entrepreneurs and small business owners collaborating and thriving here in Freeborn County.

Noelle Hagen

Entrepreneurs and small business owners support our economy by offering 47.9 percent of jobs in Minnesota at over 500,000 businesses (according to data from the Small Business Administration). In Greater Minnesota, small businesses provide jobs and help grow our local economy.

Email newsletter signup

Albert Lea Entrepreneur Advancement Program or ALEAP (pronounced A-Leap), is a local initiative to foster innovation and encourage entrepreneurs to startup and build companies here in Albert Lea and Freeborn County. ALEAP brings people together for networking events and educational training programs — but ALEAP is much more than that. ALEAP is an entrepreneurial ecosystem built to embrace new entrepreneurs and foster growth in our community. Since the inception, ALEAP entrepreneurs have started eight new businesses and hired 23 employees.

If you have a dream and have passion for building a bigger, brighter and better future for our community, come join us at ALEAP. When you are ready to kickstart your idea and launch your new venture, we at Albert Lea Economic Development Agency will be here to help you navigate the process and can provide you with the resources you will need along your way.

This month’s Evening with ALEAP will feature business owner Michelle Nelson of The Pet Authority. Michelle will be sharing how she engages with her customers on social media and tips for how to captivate your online audience for your business page. ALEAP networking events are free and open to any entrepreneurs, small business owners and everyone with an interest in entrepreneurial growth in our community. Watch for upcoming news about the 2018 ALEAP kickoff event happening Jan. 18.

If you are interested in starting a business in Albert Lea/Freeborn County ,you can call ALEDA at 507-373-3930 to get started. Thank you to all our entrepreneurs and small business owners in Albert Lea and Freeborn County — your businesses provide so much to our community and we appreciate you!

Noelle Hagen is the small business and marketing manager.