US Ignite, Inc. Adds Red Wing Ignite in Minnesota to Growing Smart Gigabit Communities Program

November 29, 2017 – Red Wing, Minn. – Today, US Ignite, Inc. announced that Red Wing Ignite, located in southern Minnesota, is the newest participant in the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program. US Ignite is a nonprofit that spurs the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015, US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program is creating “living lab” environments for the next generation of gigabit applications. Red Wing Ignite joins 24 other national and international communities participating in the SGC program.

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THE HILL: Eliminating net neutrality would hurt rural America

A forthcoming decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate net neutrality will instantly undermine a decade's worth of public investment in rural broadband — at the exact moment rural America is ready to realize the economic potential of the digital age.

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“Angel Fund’ established by local group

“Angel Fund’ established by local group
A new, locally focused angel investment fund, Golden Triangle, Fund, LLC., is being
established to provide funding and support to early stage, high growth companies in Red
Wing and Southeast Minnesota.

Angel Funds are groups of individuals who invest capital in a business start-up in exchange
for convertible debt and/or ownership equity. Think of the popular television show, Shark
Tank, where entrepreneurs pitch their business plan to a panel of investors who decide
whether to invest in the business.

Angel Funds serve a need as bank financing is typically not available to early stage
companies due to risk.

“By providing capital and leadership, we are hoping the fund will positively impact the local
economy through the creation of good, high-paying jobs,” stated Rich Bodensteiner, a
shareholder in the fund.

The fund will typically invest $25,000 to $100,000 at the seed stage, where investors are
actively involved with the founders to help them build successful companies, and may
provide larger follow up investments.

“We have so many tremendous community assets such as Red Wing Ignite which offers
resources to help startups and entrepreneurs,” said Mark Poss another shareholder. “But
the thing that is missing is access to capital for entrepreneurs. We see the creation of this
fund as one more tool to help develop more local businesses and the economy.”

While the primary focus of the fund is local and regional economic growth, angels also seek
a return on capital. The nature of angel investing is high risk, and sometimes high reward.
“Identifying and helping the next blockbuster company would benefit the entrepreneur, the
community and the investors, a triple win, “according to Poss.

The Golden Triangle Fund is partnering with RAIN Source Capital Management and Red
Wing Ignite to oversee the fund. RAIN Source Capital forms and services angel funds in 12
states.

For more information on angel funds and their impact on local economies contact Neela
Mollgaard at Red Wing Ignite. neela@redwingignite.org.

Viewpoint: Community's let's-do-this attitude prevails

Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." Immigrants, inventors and innovators spurred Red Wing's early growth. Whether it was manufacturing, agriculture, or the arts, our founders shared a combined sense of risk-taking, resourcefulness, unbridled will, and community. They worked together..

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How Tech Can Help Outstate Minnesota

How Tech Can Help Outstate Minnesota

A natural match: Metro tech companies need talent, while outstate Minnesota needs jobs
Dilema: Greater Minnesota needs jobs, while Metro tech firms need people. What if there was an overlapping solution? What if there was a way to bring tech jobs to the rest of Minnesota?

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Calling all entrepreneurs: Round 2 of Ignite Cup set for April 18

On April 18, Red Wing Ignite will host the second annual Ignite Cup, a competition for start-up businesses in southern Minnesota. The winner will have the chance to compete as a semifinalist in the statewide MN Cup business competition.

"The Ignite Cup brings a voice to some of the greatest minds in the area," said Neela Mollgaard, executive director at Red Wing Ignite. "We're excited about the collaborative nature of this event and partnership with the MN Cup."

To compete in the Ignite Cup, start-ups must complete an online application by March 31. On April 7, five applicants will be selected to present their businesses to a panel on April 18. The panel, featuring qualified economic development professionals, will then select a winner to move onto the MN Cup, where competitors have a chance to gain business plan feedback, mentorship opportunities, media exposure, networking opportunities, and $400,000 in available seed funding.

All Ignite Cup competitors will receive feedback and regional networking opportunities. The Ignite Cup is open to any southern Minnesota resident interested in business innovation.

To apply, go to www.ignite-cup.eventbrite.com. If you have further questions, contact Shannan Harris with Red Wing Ignite at 651-327-2154.

Viewpoint: Red Wing Ignite living up to its name

I would like to share with the Red Wing community about a resource available in our fine city that is unique and extremely valuable. Have you heard of Red Wing Ignite? Ever wonder what the organization does and what it's all about?

I like to think of Red Wing Ignite as our tech and innovation hub — a place for entrepreneurs, experienced as well as beginners and those who love technology to learn, share and grow.

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Startups bring vibrance to rural areas

RED WING — An ambitious headline from an August VentureBeat article read: "In 5 years, the Midwest will have more startups than Silicon Valley."

The area is known more for agriculture than for for technological innovation, but that's not to say the drive isn't there.

Nonprofit organization Red Wing Ignite is helping ambitious entrepreneurs find the resources they need in the Goodhue County town.

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Lt. Gov. Smith discusses 'exciting' collaborations with Red Wing Ignite

Red Wing Ignite Representatives met with Lt. Gov. Smith

Red Wing Ignite Representatives met with Lt. Gov. Smith

By Maureen McMullen on Oct 19, 2016 at 11:37 a.m.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith visited with Red Wing Ignite representatives and toured the building Thursday as part of her "87 Counties in 86 Days" tour, which also included visits to Dodge and Wabasha counties this week.

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Letter to the Editor: Ignite internship helps advance economy

Red Wing Ignite Tech Interns: 2016

Red Wing Ignite Tech Interns: 2016

I came to Red Wing for the first time this summer to take advantage of one of the three tech internship opportunities offered through Red Wing Ignite. If the word “internship” makes you think of a position doing cheap, trivial work primarily for the sake of corporate recruiting, my experience was something very different. 

During a period of two to three months, my employers depended on me to build, from the ground up, a new web application that employees would be using on a daily basis. Together my team of three interns provided solutions for four local organizations that might have otherwise left their tech-related needs unaddressed. 

I found the experience quite worthwhile from my own perspective as well. Apart from helping the Red Wing community, it helped me to gain new vocation-specific technical skills as well as the confidence to know that I’m able to finish such a large-scale project well beyond the scope of my undergraduate coursework.

College students studying computer science and information technology have a lot more power than members of that age group have ever had before. In their early 20s, without a ton of professional experience, they already have the ability to turn ideas into big-name websites, help existing companies function efficiently enough to stay competitive and play a central role in building our increasingly technology-dependent society. Even in a small town like Red Wing, there are plenty of areas for young students at nearby colleges to make a big contribution.

But these internships are also important for the future. Not only do they help prepare local college students to join the workforce of tomorrow, but they also help convince them to start their careers in the Minnesota area, not run off to the West Coast to find work as tech-minded college students are apt to do. It’s clear that these internships are a great opportunity for everyone involved and will help advance the local economy in years to come.

Jonah Tuchow

Northfield, Minn.

Jonah Tuchow was a Red Wing Ignite Tech Intern and attends Carleton College.