Being the first to do something means overcoming a number of challenges others won’t face.
As an entrepreneur in southeastern Minnesota, though, you can take a moment now to exhale — that won’t be you. Plenty of others here have already blazed that same path.
Today, you have the benefit of reflecting on and learning from the area’s entrepreneurs, past and present, knowing anyone can start a business in Red Wing. Whether you envision a startup that matures into an operation with a smaller, family-sized team or a large-scale enterprise with hundreds of employees, you can look to local precedents from a variety of sectors as you progress with your own venture.
With that in mind, here are three examples entrepreneurs who struck out on their own and found success right here in Red Wing:
Before launching a startup in the town where she was born, Susan Langer traveled the world and built a career in marketing and philanthropy. She left the area after high school and swore to herself that she wouldn’t move back.
Sure enough, however, she returned to Red Wing after she reconnected with and married her high school sweetheart. And not long after, she made another bold move, becoming a mid-career entrepreneur and forming a financial tech startup called Live.Give.Save. that she hoped would realize an idea she had been toying with for several years. The venture won the Ignite Cup, Red Wing Ignite’s virtual “Shark Tank” competition in partnership with the regional E1 Collaborative, in 2017. Susan went on to develop an app, Spave, that was acquired by a Michigan credit union in 2021.
By the time she became an entrepreneur, Tammy Lee had already worked in news, politics, the airline industry and led a Series A funding round for a genetics company. But the Minnesota native was ready to become her own boss and launched a medical tech startup, Xena Therapies, that she moved to Red Wing to make the most of the area’s skilled workforce and business-support network.
Her company has developed two lines of plant-based, cool-therapy products and honed its niche in the market as it weathered the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic knowing Red Wing is behind it rooting for it to succeed.
Roger Sievers, Renee Sievers, and Jessica Sievers
Entrepreneurship allowed Roger Sievers to turn his side hustle into his day job. His work in digital marketing for a local newspaper planted the seed for the idea that became Sievers Creative, a passion project he pursued in his spare time when his employer rejected the idea. The enterprise grew steadily at the family’s kitchen table with the help of his wife, Renee, and then his sister, Jessica, before outgrowing the space and prompting Roger to leave his job at the paper in 2017.
Today, Sievers Creative employs a team of eight from its modern, renovated space at the Anderson Center. The firm has matured into a full-service marketing and design firm that provides 21st-century services with a personalized touch for businesses in the area and beyond, producing steady, substantial revenue growth year over year.