Monthly Engage Sessions

Itasca Economic Development Corporation hosts quarterly Engage meetings. These meetings will feature topics that are targeted towards small business and will be presented by Subject Matter Experts. In 2022, Engage Sessions will occur on the third month of every quarter (date and time TBD) via Zoom. Head to the Events Calendar to find the upcoming topics as well as the Zoom links to join!


2022 Engage Session Schedule:

  • Quarter 1 - Thursday, March 17th, 2022 at 2:00 PM - "Engaging" Entrepreneurs - The Gilbert Family
  • Quarter 2 - Wednesday, June 15th 2022 at 3:00 PM - "Engage" Up North - Tamara Lowney
  • Quarter 3 - Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 at 2:00 PM - "Engage" in a more Welcoming Community - Tamara Lowney
  • Quarter 4 - Thursday, November 17th, 2022 at 2:00 PM - Shop Local this Holiday Season


November 2022 Engage - Shop Local this Holiday Season

During this month's Engage session, business owners walk us through the different holiday promos that they have going on now through Christmas Eve! Please let this serve as a reminder to shop local this holiday season!

You will hear from:

  • Rapids Brewing Co
  • Gypsy Creek Boutique
  • Fit Foodie Meal Prep
  • Bender's
  • 218 Style
  • North in Bloom
  • Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods


September 2022 Engage - "Engage" in Welcoming Communities

Welcoming Communities is an effort to bring together individuals and groups with an interest in fostering a more inclusive community. During September's Engage session, We will discuss the work of this group to date, opportunities to engage, as well as plans for 2022 and beyond.


Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

Time: 2:00 - 3:00 pm 

Join Zoom Here:


June 2022 Engage - "Engage" Up North

June's Engage session will include a Presentation by President, Tamara Lowney and Operations & Outreach Manager, Kayla Swanson. This session will be about the Thrive Up North Campaign, and how area businesses and organizations can leverage Thrive's new Incentives Program with New Hires.


Interested in learning more about the Thrive Up North campaign? Follow the link to our website:



March 2022 Engage - "Engaging Entrepreneurs"

This month's Engage session will include an interview with Owners of 218 Style & Gilbert Contracting Services, Jason, Shannon, and Sydnie Gilbert; IEDC's Director of Business Development, Rob Sjostrand; and IEDC's Project Manager, Amanda Lamppa. We are looking forward to hearing about The Gilbert Family's journey as entrepreneurs and how you might relate.


November 2021 Engage - IEDC Social Media Summit

  • 6:08 - Introduction by Kayla Swanson, IEDC and "Social Media Trends & Practical Tips for 2022," Presented by: Elizabeth Chapman, Art Unlimited.
  • 52:24 - "The Value of Video Content: DIY Tips to Make an Impact," Presented by: Autumn Ricke, Pinnacle Marketing Group.
  • 1:58:46 - "Local Spin on Social Media Paid Advertising," Presented by: Lilly Smith & Megan Christianson, Visit Grand Rapids.
  • 2:40:15 - "Is your Website Hurting your Social Performance?" Presented by: Michelle Lexvold, Art Unlimited.
  • 3:28:00 - "Improving your Social Media Presence: Top 5 Things you Can Do Today," Presented by: Sarah Pieper & Autumn Ricke, Pinnacle Marketing Group.
  • 3:58:17 - Closing by Kayla Swanson, IEDC.


August 2021 Engage - SBDC Information Session

Our August Engage session features an information session on the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Director of Business Development, Rob Sjostrand, alongside of Business Consultants, Tony Ward, Austin Miller, and Cory Bolen walk us through the SBDC's role in Itasca County and with Itasca Economic Development Corporation. IEDC's SBDC team walks us through everything that they can assist you with including: business plans, succession plans, marketing assistance and Startup Assistance. This is a great session for anyone looking to create their business plan. Cory walks our viewers through a step-by-step guide to creating a business plan. Rob shows you how you can apply with the SBDC directly form IEDC's website. Check it out, and as always; let us know if you have any questions!


July 2021 Engage - Entrepreneur Fund Information Session

Sr. Business Loan Officer, Mike Korte provides us with a very thorough overview on The Entrepreneur Fund. Mike and the entire team at EF are a great resource to Itasca County, that many have benefited from thus far in their business journey. If you didn't have the opportunity to watch this session live, we encourage you to do so. Please spread the word on everything that is available from EF, such as: "Growing your business, enhancing business operations, small business financing, and professional growth." 


June 2021 Engage - CEDA Information Session

President of CEDA, Ron Zeigler starts the session off by providing an excellent background on Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA). His presentation was a nice introduction leading into Sarah Carling and her discussion of the role she plays in several communities.

Sarah Carling, Community & Business Development Specialist, CEDA elaborates on her background and involvement in CEDA and her contract with IEDC. She also goes into depth on the exciting community projects that she is actively a part of. Sarah has many irons in the fire when it comes to seeing her communities that she is involved in flourish.


May 2021 Engage - Launch MN, Innovate 218, and ILT Academy

IEDC's Project Coordinator, Kirstie McPherson discusses Launch MN as a whole and how IEDC took on the Launch MN Hub grant for North Eastern, Minnesota. She dives into all of the details of our group before passing the torch onto Owner and Founder of ILT Studios, Nick Tietz. 

Nick's presentation is extremely informational. He tells the story of how ILT Academy is going to play a role in the leadership behind educating North-East Minnesota's entrepreneurs to "unleash the power of their ideas." ILT Academy is a strong ally of Innovate 218, and the work of our group wouldn't be possible without Nick and his entire time. We hope you enjoy this Engage Session. 


April 2021 Engage - Social Media Tips & Tricks

Megan Christianson and Lilly Smith, Visit Grand Rapids staff, gives us tips on how social media can help engage better relationships with customers, get brand loyal cunsumers, and attract more traffic to your website, in-turn, adding more foot traffic into your business.

Through this month's Engage presentation, you will reach a better understanding of social media sites in general, and learning what the best platforms are for your business and target market. The Visit Grand Rapids staff will also give you some new creative marketing strategies for you to try this year. If you need help in all areas of social media and marketing, you will want to take the time to watch this one!


March 2021 Engage - Deeper Dive into Quickbooks

March's Engage Session was presented by Katie Dane, Owner of Little Fish Consulting and SBDC Quickbooks Subject Matter Expert. In January, Katie presented us with a Beginner's Guide to Quickbooks. March's session was a follow-up course with a Deeper Dive into Quickbooks.

Katie went through different reporting tools such as memorized reports and automatic report emails. She was able to walk our attendees through online bill pay; a new feature offered by Quickbooks online services. Payments and Invoices were also on the docket for great conversation.

A few links that Katie wants you to be aware of are:




February 2021 Engage - How Will COVID-19 Funding Affect Your Taxes?

On February's Engage session, Katie Glorvigen Tierney, MBT, CPA and IEDC Board Member presented on the effects that COVID-19 Funding could have on your taxes. Katie's expertise showed throughout the entire session as she walked us through PPP Funding, EIDL Advance, Stimulus Payments and more! 

Katie's presentation put us into different scenarios that we could have been in this year. For example, "I only received the unemployment bonus for two weeks, is it taxable?" Also, "I am self-employed and caring for an individual in my family who has COVID-19." If either of these scenarios (or many more) pertain to you, we encourage you to watch the entire video! You won't be disappointed. Katie also provided us with a copy of her presentation. To view that presentation; Click Here. 

We apologize for the format of the video. We were having some technical difficulties while switching hosts during the recording! 



January 2021 Engage - Beginner's Guide to Quickbooks

On January's Engage session, Katie Dane, owner of Little Fish Consultants, LLC and SBDC Quickbooks Subject Matter Expert presents a Beginner's Guide to Quickbooks.

We were happy that Katie was able to walk us through step-by-step and put Quickbooks in an easy to understand guide. From Sales Tax, to mileage and reports.. Katie did an excellent job at going through all of the tips and tricks that there are to know about Quickbooks. We recommend watching this lesson before next month's Engage sessions. In March, Katie will take us into a deeper dive of Quickbooks. We can't wait!

December 2020 Engage - PACE, BER & DBR

On December's Engage session, Peter Klein (SPPA), Vincent Meyer (AEOA) and Whitney Ridlon (IRRRB) gave us a high level overview of PACE, BER and DBR.

Peter Klein says that there are to reasons to invest in clean energy projects such as Property Assesed Clean Energy (PACE):

  • Positive Cashflow
  • No-Cost Marketing Investment

Business Energy Retrofit (BER) is a grant program that is designed to finance energy related upgrades. The grants will pay 1/3 of the total project cost up to $20,000. There is absolutley no risk in applying. Downtonw Building Rehabilitation Program (DBR) is a grant that is designed to help aid in financing code compliant construction and remodeling projects on main street in a downtown location. These grants will pay 1/3 of the total project cost up to $50,000.

Whitney Ridlon says, "There is SO much opportunity for these programs to be utilized in North Eastern Minnesota."



November 2020 Engage - NEXT (Career Pathways) & ICC Internships

On November's Engage session, Career Pathways Director, Claire Peterlin and Itasca Community College Business & Economics Professor, Nick Rothstein presented on internship opportunities that are available at both the highschool and college levels!

We were pleasently surprised when Nick Rothstein invited ICC's Natural Resources Depatment Chair, Lee Kessler on the call. Lee talked about the importance that internships play in every career, but especially the significance it can have on a forestry student. One of Lee's former students was able to attend and share his story! 

We encourage you to view this very informative session! We believe that you'll find it just as great as we did!



Add to Report View Custom Report