2020 Nominee BOLD Moves


75F has been relentless in pursuing growth through innovation and client service. A key strategy has been to partner with strategic investors, and 75F recently closed on one of the largest VC deals in Minnesota in 2019.


NOAH (naturally occurring affordable housing) properties are apartments that have aged into affordability. The Twin Cities’ strong real estate market means that investors are driving up purchase prices for these properties, making modest renovations and pricing out the current residents. NOAH homes are being lost at a rate of 150 units per month in Minneapolis alone. To address the severe and growing shortage of affordable homes in the Twin Cities, Aeon has taken bold action. Since 2017, Aeon has acquired numerous NOAH properties, preserving the affordability of 1,795 homes.


After creating a software management system for one company in the monitoring industry and seeing the efficiencies it created, we realized the industry is lacking innovation. This was the motivation to start a new company to better serve our Nation. In 2018 Aguardion was created by the team that created this product and it was developed into a SaaS model serving clients across the Country. Our Country has a broken prison system desperately needs overhauling, this software is a disrupter changing the way recidivism occurs, lowering the incarceration which is the social change we need to embrace.


Who doesn’t love a good selfie? If not you, then probably your kids, but selfies are a great way to remember a great time, alone or with friends. AirSelfie combines the ability to take selfies with a small, pocket sized drone, allowing you to take amazing selfies in a way never before possible. Funded through crowdfunding and expected to be shipping soon.


Over the course of the last few years, a one hour long podcast has been produced that provides insightful real-life stories about the most vexing M&A challenges that business owners and advisors face. Episode 172 was just released...."HOW TO CREATE A VISION TO ALIGN YOUR BUSINESS & YOUR LIFE, Featuring CHRIS YONKER"

Ascent Solutions

With purpose and meaning, Ascent Solutions engaged in a brand overhaul in 2019. It's the first major step towards connecting the spirit of their DNA to everything they do and to for whom they do it. With passion, energy and a relentless honesty, a new brand is being created.

Authentic Brand

In 2017, Authentic Brand was launched with a two-fold vision: 1. To create a new way for small businesses to access senior marketing leadership on a part-time, flexible basis (Fractional CMOs). 2. To create a truly unique community of marketing talent, fueled by peer sharing and ongoing learning, and backed by a proven methodology (Marketing Traction). Founder, Jennifer Zick, launched the business without any capital financing, growing it on a bootstrap, cash flow basis. Since launch, the business has been consistently profitable, has doubled in revenue for three consecutive years, and now includes 16 Fractional CMOs (and growing!).


Please read this amazing press release from Newswire.com on exactly why this is a BOLD move in data and healthcare wellness for both employers and employees. I couldn't write it better. https://medicalalley.org/2019/08/benovate-leverages-patented-platform-analytics-to-aid-health-delivery-systems-with-their-quadruple-aim-agendas/

Bus Stop Mamas

Every person is needed in the labor force today. Including mom, and we are making room for motherhood.

Challenging the status quo, Bus Stop Mamas is a workforce tool that accommodates all moms, whoever they are, wherever they are—no judgment. Moms are not one-size-fits-all. The mama network is composed of moms with gaps in their resume and moms who are presently employed full time, who are seeking a better option for their family.

Bus Stop Mamas embraces family-first values, in a business-first culture. Ultimately challenging the perceptions of moms and business practices. That’s BOLD!

Business Broker Investment Corporation

BBIC is beginning to transform the fragmented business brokerage industry. By focusing on businesses and franchises less than $10 million in revenue, BBIC is bringing together brokerages to collaborate on a global scale. Formerly competing businesses are now working together to deliver higher business values to sellers through superior deliverables and qualified buyers. Furthermore, brokers are equipped with a broader arsenal of recurring service offerings . This results in an improved customer experience for both buyers and sellers alike. BBIC is changing the reputation and trajectory of an entire industry.

Carlson Private Capital

The Carlson Companies has had some significant number of successful company exits. Because the family continues to believe their investment strategies for longer-term holds brings value and community growth, they chose to quickly bring in-house a significant number of investment professionals. This quick initiative has a deep team already in place since the beginning of the year as well as one platform investment already completed.

CenterPoint Marketing

Steve and Heidi Clear purchased CenterPoint Marketing on Oct 10, 2018. They did so without prior experience buying or owning a business and without experience in the tradeshow or event industry. They have implemented significant changes during the first year of ownership to build the business and position it for long-term growth.

City Girl Coffee

City Girl Coffee Co. exists to support gender equity, specifically in the coffee industry. This journey began in April 2015 when founder Alyza Bohbot heard the heart-breaking story of a couple in Colombia. The husband, a coffee farmer, had died and when a key piece of farming equipment broke down, the Colombian banks refused to provide the wife the loan she needed to keep the farm alive. The reason: she was female. Alyza, a “city girl” at heart, decided to create City Girl Coffee as a way to do her part in driving change for women in coffee around the world.

CKC Good Food

Since catering our first daycare center from the Caravan Serai kitchen in the early 90s, CKC Good Food has focused on finding new ways to tempt kids' taste buds while incorporating fresh, high quality ingredients used in meals for demanding restaurant guests. Even under today's strict nutritional guidelines of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which governs the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and other federal nutrition programs, we have upheld our commitment to providing delicious, healthful, restaurant-quality meals that kids -- and adults -- love.


ClickSWITCH has developed and scaled a revolutionary account switching technology that streamlines online account switching for consumers. Their primary customers are banks, credit unions and FinnTech companies.

CO2 Partners

CO2 Partners is an premier Executive and Team Coaching firm that also provides Operational Consulting and Strategic Planning services. CO2 has recently launched a new, innovative proprietary leadership assessment tool - "Decoded Leadership". This is a significant advancement over what currently exists in the industry and will highly differentiate CO2 from other coaching firms in the Twin Cities area - and beyond.


Moonshots to the moon and mars are describable, recognizable, and contagious. CoCreateX has vowed to do the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the ignored, because it is assumed to be impossible. What is it? To level-up humanity with a sense of possibility and actionable opportunities to make the world better for everyone. To accomplish this, CoCreateX has persisted to invent and commercialize a distributed social network. Instead of a few large social networks, CoCreateX’s vision is for everyone to have their own social network at their own website.

Colburn Manufacturing Company

Scott worked in several machine shops and was a supervisor at a large company when he thought to himself that he could treat employees better and about the benefits of employee engagement. He took the brave step and started his own machine shop in 1999. 20 years later he has 18 employees and a family culture you can feel when you walk in the door. Scott has an important emphasis on taking care of his employees which has led to very low turn around. Employees describe the culture as family orientated, from the office to the shop floor.


The year was 2008. One of our founders was approached by a group of farmers who said they wanted to manage harvest more profitably, but they didn’t have the right technology to do so. We dove into the problem and got busy developing the software that solved their needs.

Today, listening to farmers and improving their farm management capabilities remains the bedrock of Conservis. We’ve grown to become a leader in farm management software, but not because we have all the answers. We’ve succeeded by listening and earning trust, one farmer at a time.

Dauntless Air

Dauntless Air has the largest U.S. fleet of Air Tractor AT-802F Fire Bosses which are a highly maneuverable, amphibious aircraft mounted on floats produced by another Minnesota based company. The Dauntless Fire Boss aircraft are equipped with custom-built innovative equipment that allows for more efficient aerial fire fighting techniques. These planes have thermal imagining units to accurately target hot spots, onboard gel blending systems to improve drop effectiveness, state of the art avionics for enhanced safety and a lighter fire gate that allows the plane to carry more water for each drop.

Diversified Plastics

DPI’s BOLD move was to change from just one of a thousand of injection molders to a differentiated, digital manufacturer with the goal of a more diverse, profitable company benefiting our employee owners. DPI introduced an innovative additive manufacturing process within past year. This new digital technology is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. Carbon’s Digital Light Services™ (DLS) produces consistent isotropic mechanical properties, creating parts, similar to injection molded parts, that are durable for end-use applications. This technology produces prototype and production plastic parts 100 times faster than traditional 3D additive manufacturing methods, delivering a faster path to market for customers.


Durabotics is the first Robotic Integration Company to introduce an autonomous HelMo Mobile Robot into North America with the ability to move from one machine to another, and also tend a machine performing complex precise moves. When a machine tool needs attention, it sends a signal to HelMo and then HelMo comes to the machine, establishes coordinates, and then unloads/loads the machine. HelMo safely works around humans and does not require safety guarding. It allows the humans to concentrate on operations that require talent, while HelMo helps with the messy, mundane, or dangerous activities.

E&C's Snacks

E&C Snacks has doubled their revenue in just 12 months. According the the founders, the growth is due to not accepting the norm or “industry standard” for small food start-ups. People trust the clean label and simple unprocessed ingredients. They also know that every product we create begins in our home kitchen using ingredients found in any pantry. Customers are smart, within 5 seconds they can fact check anything about your product. Being true to the simple ingredients and company values of small-batch quality comes through in E&C Snack's products and customers really value that, leading to contracts with Costco and sales through Amazon.

East Side Neighborhood Services Inc

In 2017, Kristine Martin was selected as the first woman President of the agency; her male predecessor had served for decades. There is credit for innovation from the Board on down. This move is seen by the organization as a lynch pin for a myriad of impactful actions. These include: first ever all staff training day focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives, the first strategic plan in fifteen years, and procuring more employer partnerships for job training programs.


enVerde provides circular economy solutions by economically repurposing carbon-containing waste into clean, sustainable energy and chemicals. Agricultural, industrial, commercial, and other organizations decrease their operating expenses by significantly reducing their waste streams and creating clean fuels/heat they can use locally and immediately. enVerde’s patented gasification technology, built by a remarkable team with over 220 years of cleantech experience, is based on intellectual property from the University of Minnesota. It has the potential to change how we think of and utilize waste and energy.

Epoch Sports

Epoch lacrosse has transformed the lacrosse industry with a state of the art composite lacrosse stick and innovative protective gear. In addition, completed a MBO, via an Asset purchase in 2019 to gain full control over Epoch Lacrosse. The MBO allowed us to restructure debt, and CAP table and in the process, we gave 15% of the company to the employees.

Excelsior Energy Capital

Excelsior Energy Capital is taking their innovative approach to private equity and raising $250M from institutional investors for specific deployment in wind and solar initiatives. They have a very deep bench of talent looking to de-risk North American wind and solar plants with fixed income-like cash flows from long-term revenue contracts wtih credit-worthy counterparties.

Faith's Lodge

Faith's Lodge supports parents and families coping with the death or medically complex condition of a child in a peaceful environment to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present and build hope for the future.

The innovative and BOLD project we are working on is a new service called Hope Works Here. Hope Works Here is an employer-sponsored benefit that guides the transition of an employee's return to work after the death or medically complex diagnosis of a child.

Fidelity Bank

In a highly traditional industry, like banking, innovation is often focused on technology or new consumer products that remain squarely in traditional banking services. Fidelity Bank used its unique position in the market as one of a few remaining locally owned "community" banks to build on its legacy of delivering high-quality, customer-focused services that cater to the needs of businesses. Over the last few years, Fidelity has made a series of bold moves to expand and diversify with new specialty lending products, including warehouse lending, equipment finance and leasing and factoring with the acquisition of TCI Business Capital last year.

Firefighters For Healing (FF4H)
Transitional Healing Center

FF4H supports burn trauma survivors, first responders and their families who travel to the Twin Cities for medical attention by providing meals, transportation, short term housing, gift cards and emotional support.

FF4H has announced plans to build a 15,000 square foot second floor of the 8-story, 300,000-square-foot mixed-use project developed by Sherman Associates across from Hennepin Healthcare. The $6 million capital campaign will help to provide the much needed expansion to 12 one bedroom units, community space and a center of operations to serve the needs of first responders, burn survivors and their families in ways hospitals and insurance companies are limited. 


Founded in 2012, the company connects employees in office buildings in 15 cities with local restaurants. How it works: A hungry worker uses Foodsby to pre-order a meal from a restaurant in its network, Foodsby aggregates all the orders it receives, sends the orders to the restaurants and the restaurants then make all the deliveries at once, streamlining what can be a logistically complicated process.

Forester Pontoons

In the 1960's, Forester Pontoons was one of the first pontoon manufacturing companies in the state of Minnesota. Forester reached their peak in 2006, producing over 1,000 boats. Business declined and in 2015 they were producing only a few dozen. I purchased the company in 2018 with a vision to bring the brand back and rebuild the company. It started with bank financing coupled with high-interest private loans. The work began with cleaning up the facility, fixing equipment and salvaging inventory.


Everyone wants to be remembered for something important and inspiring and with Foreverance, even after death your life can be an inspiration and wonderful memory for your loved ones. Custom 3D printed urns made to be almost anything, from a classic car, the Devo hat or the Prince symbol for Prince himself (yes, actual urns) give meaning to life even in death.

GO Growth Operators

GO noticed a gap in the services provided by traditional management consulting firms and project consulting/staffing firms. Management consulting firms provide innovative knowledge, insights and strategic guidance, but fall short in helping companies operationalize and execute strategies and are unaffordable for all but large companies. Conversely, project consulting and staffing firms connect companies with experienced talent but they lack the deep institutional knowledge of management consulting firms, and do not use consistent processes in delivering their services. GO fills this service gap with teams of experienced, cross-functional talent who utilize our proprietary, proven processes to deliver our clients measurable growth.


In 2015, Scott County approached Guild Incorporated with a problem: due to a lack of services, individuals struggling with mental illness cycle through the county’s jail instead of receiving the proper treatment and help they need.

Guild understood these concerns. For over 25 years, Guild has provided mental health crisis stabilization and treatment services to other counties with great results. Partnering with officials from the county, City of Savage, Minnesota DHS, and key legislators, we raised the $6.4 million needed for a new facility.

On September 16, 2019, construction began for Guild’s new Intensive Residential Treatment and Crisis facility.


Minneapolis-based HabitAware is a mental health startup & TIME Magazine 2018 Best Invention created from personal need. After co-founder Aneela Idnani shared her secret struggle with trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), she worked with husband, Sameer Kumar, and two technologist-friends, Kirk Klobe & John Pritchard, PhD, to build a smart bracelet, Keen, and empower the 20 Million Americans with Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs) - hair pulling, skin picking (dermatillomania) and nail biting (onychophagia) - to choose healthier coping strategies for stress and other triggers. HabitAware’s BOLD move was to pioneer custom micro-motion recognition to get to the first step of behavior change: Awareness.

Hell's Kitchen

Owners Cynthia Gerdes and Steve Meyer will transfer ownership of their shares into a newly created employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. As such, Hell’s Kitchen will be one of only a few independent restaurants in the country with an ESOP. This means that Hell's Kitchen will be owned by the employees.

ImmunoChemistry Technologies

In a BOLD move, Founder Sally Hed Dahlquist bought out her other founder members to become the sole owner of the company; re-purchased a patent for a product that detects the efficacy of cancer treatments for eye cancer; and is developing strategies for patents, product development, marketing and financing for products utilizing this patented process.

Incubate to Innovate

Incubate to Innovate launched an online collaborative learning community network on August 1st, 2018 called ChangeMakers for Impact via MIghty Networks. The network was built for educators and ChangeMakers who wanted to learn, grow, connect, co-create, build, and resource one another for education reform, social change, and widespread impact. The professional development experiences that Incubate to Innovate facilitates allow educators to take a journey toward greater exploratory and experiential learning using innovation design thinking, and the network allows the learning journey to continue online with people from around the world.

Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners

It started with a promise in a Wayzata church basement 40 years ago.

We will build a community where everyone counts, where all children are cherished and protected, and where family life is valued and supported by all. Since 1979, this great community has been doing just that – leading, rallying and igniting the power of people in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota to address the critical needs of people living right here – our neighbors. What started as a small food shelf has become a resource for thousands of families in eight west Hennepin County communities.

Jack’s Basket

Jack's Basket celebrates babies with Down syndrome. Jack's was created out of a need to change the story for new families by providing hope and encouragement for the future. We educate and empower medical providers to give the diagnosis in an unbiased way, provide up-to-date resources, a connection to the community, and support to new families. Jack's Basket is changing the narrative around Down syndrome and has impacted hundreds of medical providers and welcomed over 1850 babies in 46 states and 11 countries.

KLC Financial

KLC Financial has been extremely focused on improving the customer experience, which has led us to collaborating with our Minnesota community bank partners to help transition them to using e-signature technology for their commercial transactions. We hosted an online seminar for our bank partners to hear from other industry experts on how e-signatures have changed their business. Quickly after, we started consulting banks on the best ways to transition over to e-signatures and have seen business with those banks increase by 30%. In October 2019 alone we did over 50% of the e-signature volume that we did in all of 2018.

Linnihan Foy

Collaboration with Linnihan Foy helps companies take their business to the next level. Their collaborated approach creates a holistic approach to growing the brand. They help drive the brand values through every level of the organization to achieve brand goals. Through this BOLD process they work on 1) Aligning business goals with brand goals 2) Promote the brand 3) Drive culture that drives brand values 4) Communicate brand identity and 5) Drive/lead the brand team. Linnihan Foy facilitates this through change, content, artwork and analytics. This collaboration moves them away from the typical agency to becoming your marketing department.

Loaves and Fishes

While staying true to our core mission as a free meal program that serves home-cooked meals daily at public dining site locations, Loaves and Fishes is also creatively expanding access to healthy food in Minnesota. After learning that small nonprofits throughout the metro area were inefficiently sourcing food in bulk, paying high retail prices, and serving unhealthy fast food meals or processed foods to their constituents, Loaves and Fishes, with collaborative support, developed a cost-effective, healthier solution. Called The HUB, it is an innovative response to a clear community challenge.

Lola Red

We are a dynamic public relations agency with the spirit and the strategy to help our clients make an impact. We care deeply about our clients and treat your business as our own. We’re not like anyone else – you’ll feel it. So will the people you want to engage.

LolaRed is able to achieve this success for its clients because it hires and fosters the best and most innovative talent and then works as a team to create a culture that embodies its spirit.

LUMA - Luxury Matchmaking

LUMA was founded in 2010 by April Davis, who left behind her career working in Management at a Fortune 500 company to pursue her goals of providing elite matchmaking services to singles who were on their quest to find love. From the inception of LUMA - Luxury Matchmaking, April worked diligently to ensure that LUMA was innovative, efficient, and gained client’s the results they were looking for. As a result of the leadership and hard work of April, the LUMA - Luxury Matchmaking team, which has tripled in staff members, now has over 25,000 members, 40+ different locations, and boasts an 83% success rate of getting clients into long-term relationships.

Master Supplements

Master Supplements, Inc was founded in 2002 by Randy Porubcan and Jeff Thurston. Randy is a micro-biologist and owner of several patents on digestive health products, namely probiotics, enzymes, fiber products, affecting a gut health and immunity.

They sell their products all over the world to consumers, retail and medical professional practices.

In working with them, our goal has always been to grow topline sales and bottom line profits. Our means for accomplishing that has been many fold. One of the primary ways the company has grown is the recent acquisition of another digestive health company called US Enzymes.

Meyer Contracting

Great place to work. Meyer Contracting is an MBE, Native American firm with over 30 years of construction experience in Earthwork, Utilities, Piling, Demolition & Concrete Structures. Meyer excels in problem solving and value engineering while focusing on accelerate schedules and reduced risk all while saving our clients time and money. At Meyer Contracting, our goal is to blend knowledge and experience and apply it to every job; giving each client and project the benefit of the “Sum of All of Us”.



MicroOptx has leveraged the power of nanotechnology and advanced biomaterials to create a device that treats glaucoma in an entirely new way. MicroOptx was born from an entirely BOLD idea, but the move that qualifies the company for this award is the recent capitalization of the company. This summer, MicroOptx set out to raise $8-10M to achieve the next value-creating milestone on our way to market approval. After just six weeks, MicroOptx closed on $17M. We BOLDLY crafted the financing to include Angels, VCs and a Corporate - at our target valuation - while balancing control of the company.


Midwest Pantry


At the crossroads of several large scale food and beverage companies including General Mills and Cargill there was a large gap in access to the food and beverage ecosystem. Many food/bev entrepreneurs, including Zoie and Chad struggled to make the next big leap from farmers markets to retail/e-commerce, in their scaling businesses. They realized that there was lack of collaboration, focused resources, and space for these types of businesses to grow. Midwest Pantry was created to provide solutions for this issue! A handful of years later, MWP, along with its members is helping make MN the #1 state to start and grow Food/Bev businesses.


Minnesota United FC


Minnesota finally has professional soccer back thanks to Minnesota United. Their stadium may be best in the U.S., it’s a great family, friends and networking experience. They are an active member of the community, helping to bring economic and cultural activity to an area.


Minnesota Vikings


Viking Lakes is a bold, mixed-use development located in Eagan, Minnesota. It will be a world-class environment with over three million square feet of corporate office, medical, retail, entertainment and multi-family housing. Viking Lakes will feature unique amenities for tenants, residents, guests and sports fans.


MN Opportunity Collaborative


Founded in March 2019, MN Opportunity Collaborative (‘MNOppCo’) is a partnership that seeks to inspire investment in Minnesota’s 128 designated Opportunity Zones. It brings together developers, investors, businesses and community development entities to host a statewide project and site directory, host educational events and share best practices on a regular basis. MNOppCo launched a contest for Minnesota Opportunity Zone projects, offering prize money to contribute to pre-development costs. This rallied the community to submit 55 projects totaling over $325 million, also catalogued in MNOppCo’s on-line Directory. Winners were announced in the Fall.


Modal Technology Corporation


AI is making an impact on the world in terms of organizing and predicting outcomes to help improve the human condition. The rate of data that is compiling is staggering and humans can no longer sort through it to use the data efficiently. One critical component of an AI engine is the training. This allows the engine to be smart and get smarter as it sorts through tranches of data. Modal Technology Corporation, a Minnesota company’s technology allows that training to happen simpler, faster, show repeatable results and is a mathematically provable solution!


My Very Own Bed


For the first three years of operation, My Very Own Bed rented a UHaul each time they purchased and delivered beds. It was labor and resource intensive. They doubled deliveries from 2016 to 2017 and knew that 2018 would significantly expand deliveries again.

Wiithout significant cash reserves and just enough coming in each month to cover basic costs, purchasing their own van was a daunting proposition. They met with Cornerstone Auto who helped them find and finance a used van and then donated a wrap of their logo on the outside. Notwithstanding their concern about making this large purchase, My Very Own Bed took the bold move to make this investment.




January 2015 the NETZRO team began transforming how food waste is viewed by integrating technology that transforms food byproducts typically seen as waste into completely dried nutrient rich food ingredients. Taking the path of B2B verses creating a trendy food product, building the technology platform to handle scale of processing 1 ton per hour which allows for major impact on how we feed more people better with less resources. With bootstrapping for the first 4 years building technology to scale is now positioned to process 2 tons of rye spent grain per day from a Minneapolis distillery. This high protein/fiber low carb rye grain is milled and sold to various CPG companies.




The collective mission of NorthBridge and its four companies is to solve some of society's toughest problems. We do this by helping disabled individuals achieve goals that will empower them to live their most independent lives (Bridges MN), and by providing hope, improving quality of life, and preserving families affected by opioid addiction (Northstar Behavioral Health). Through those responsibilities came the invention of technology that matches individuals with disabilities to caregiver-roommates (Rumi) and a real estate company that will help other companies break down the biggest barrier to supporting more individuals - access to appropriate real estate (Truss).


Oppidan Investment Company


Last year alone, Oppidan Investment Company, a national property development firm headquartered in Excelsior, Minn., experienced a 105 percent increase in activity year-over-year, including transactions valued over $450M from 80 projects covering 4.9 million square feet in 29 states. Oppidan’s build-to-suit activity was also strong in 2018 with 19 projects and 1.1 million SF in 14 states. How’s all of this possible? It’s due to the company’s reputation of being fast, flexible and value-oriented while meeting their clients’ needs and exceeding their expectations. Every Oppidan client over the past 28 years has become a repeat client.


PCs for People


PCs for People provides computers, low cost internet and computer repair to low income families. We fund our mission by providing secure, responsible electronics recycling to businesses and use the proceeds and equipment to provide the life changing benefit of digital access.


Planet Princess Foods


Planet Princess buns & 'bagels' fill the gaping hole in the gluten-free market by providing gluten-free, grain-free, low carb, protein rich, clean bread alternatives. Our ingredients are non-GMO and register low on the glycemic index. Our buns and bagels contain no lactose, no additives, no fillers. Our nutrition panels speak for themselves.


Playworks Minnesota


Playworks is leveraging recess to ensure that Minnesota Children feel safe and supported at school, gain the foundational skills & leadership opportunities necessary for success on the playground, in the classroom and in the future.

Unique from other educational initiatives play is a universal human behavior, accessible to every child regardless of language, culture, economic background, physical ability or academic achievement. Recess is the largest classroom in a school and done well, can ensure EVERY child has the opportunity to feel like a hero, learn how to be a good friend, and step up as a leader.


Portu Sunberg


Portu Sunberg is accomplished because we’re invested in developing a phenomenal culture rooted in these core values: Drive. Devotion. Discovery. Detail. We hire the best, train leadership and empower employees to enhance collaboration and drive collective success. We provide our teams the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit, shape strategy and influence results. A key element of this is our commitment to developing women in leadership at all levels. Diverse perspectives make our teams stronger and our solutions innovative. At Portu Sunberg, 80% of our employees are female, and women make up over half of our broader leadership team.



Puris is at the forefront of the new wave of plant based protein and nutrition, as well as being a leader in advancing peas as a versatile food source. Puris is the leading supplier of pea protein to Beyond Meat, which had one of the most successful IPO’s in 2019. Puris is growing quickly and just completed a joint venture with Cargill to expand.


Michael Martin — a recovering Wall Street Investment Banker — is the Founder and CEO of r.Cup. He has been an innovator in sustainability and social change marketing, campaign creation and impact investing for 30 years, starting with Concerts for the Environment which morphed into the agency Effect Partners.

Michael witnessed the plastic crisis first hand at the large events and festivals at which Effect Partners spearheads greening initiatives and wondered how he could create a solution for the waste problem by leveraging his resources and experience in live music and entertainment. r.Cup was born as a rentable, reusable, returnable cup model.

Seachange Print Innovations

Industry leader Wendi Breuer revived SeaChange in a no-growth industry as an integrated-digital-marketer growing from ashes to $21MM in 2018 revenues, while employment rose to 100. At first, people worried about their jobs~ then the wage freeze was replaced by annual reviews, raises, bonuses and a 401(k) match.

Sept 2019, SeaChange bet on a $2MM HP inkjet press after reviving the failed company. A BOLD turnaround transforms digital printing while cutting their carbon footprint. The high-speed machine cuts waste and pollution and is the capstone of a $10MM invest by Breuer and others who bought the OLDCO assets in 2014.

Select Communications

Select has been in the wireless industry for decades, operating through multiple changes, not only in the industry, but in Select’s business. Seven years ago, after growing the business to 55+ Select owned locations and 30+ Subagent locations, Select decided to sell its corporate owned retail stores to a private equity firm as part of a rollup. Select retained and grew the Subagent channel and six months ago made the BOLD decision to get back into the retail game by acquiring five locations as Select Retail stores. The industry has undergone monumental changes in those seven years and operating retail locations within the industry is very different now. The risk is much larger, but it is risk Select was willing and eager to tackle in order to make a difference in these communities.


Sezzle has quickly and successfully developed a fintech solution allowing for a growing number of consumers to access products to purchase and set up payment terms that electronically allow consumer flexibility.

Silicon Prairie Portal & Exchange

Company raised money for itself using it's own platform and immediately recognized that the cost of capital would be too high if startups had to pay between $10-20,000 for Private Placement Memorandums. Silicon Prairie was inspired to create "Geppetto" a Smart Document Automation system that can work on entire binders of documents sourced from Word, PDF, and Web including from lawyers, government and the IRS from a single-keystroke model. This dramatically slashes the cost of PPM time from 40-50 hours of lawyers doing "find-replace" to a 4-5 hour assembly and review!

SilkTech Biopharmaceuticals

SilkTech is focused on helping people with Dry Eye Disease. It is estimated that up to 340 million people suffer from Dry Eye Disease (DED) worldwide, with 45 - 60 million people in the US alone. Estimates show that nearly 16 million patients are diagnosed with DED in the US, and further studies suggest up to an additional 30 – 40 million individuals may remain undiagnosed and could benefit from therapeutic treatment. Recent evidence suggests the magnitude of the problem is increasing over time

Sleep Number

As a purpose-driven company, Sleep Number’s mission is to improve lives by individualizing sleep experiences. Our revolutionary Sleep Number 360® smart beds deliver proven, quality sleep through effortless, adjustable comfort. Our integrated SleepIQ® operating system captures over 9 billion biometric data points every night and delivers actionable insights to improve your overall sleep health and wellness.

To experience proven quality sleep, visit SleepNumber.com or one of over 600 Sleep Number® stores. More information is available on our newsroom and investor relations site.

Mattress company executives attributed the big bump-up in earnings and revenue to sales of the company's new Sleep Number 360 "smart bed."

Smile Network International

Smile Networks founder created Inspire Boutique to help fund the work of the organization. To leave an economic impact in the communities served by Smile Network, Smile’s founder began actively sourcing unique gift items from economically impoverished women who were making exceptionally high quality goods in developing countries. Goods are purchased at fair trade prices and 100% of the profits are returned to funding more surgeries for the kids on the Smile Network waiting list. In January of 2018, Smile Network was invited to be one of a few select Minnesota brands featured by the Superbowl host committee.


Snowbank Lodge & Outfitters

Adam made the bold move buying a Northwoods lodge. Made a complete life change and followed his passion to the northwoods.


Live.Give.Save., Inc. (LGS) is a woman-owned fintech startup from rural Minnesota with a mission to make the world better – one community, one person, one transaction at a time – by transforming technology and spending for good. LGS launched its first product, spave®, in the App Store in July 2018. Spave is the only all-in-one solution with a distinct focus on giving and inspiring social good. It enables consumers to easily track spending across multiple banks, set goals, save for their dreams, and donate to causes they care about without changing the way they live.

St. Paul Saints Baseball Club

Winning the minor league championship is no easy feat. 18 team members banned together to win the 2019 championship! The Saints led the American Association in attendance for the fifth consecutive season and the last championship win was 15 years ago in 2004. Additionally, all of this and more helped earn the Saints an unprecedented fifth consecutive American Association Organization of the Year honor.

Starkey Hearing Technologies

Livio® AI was released in the US and Canada on August 27, 2018. In February 2019, Starkey launched brand new revolutionary features such as fall detection and alert, Thrive® Assistant and real-time transcription in the US and Canada. In the following months, Livio AI was released globally and is now available worldwide. In its recent November 2019 launch, Starkey unveiled the newest features of sensor-enabled power saving and reminders, making Livio AI an even more user-friendly device. Starkey Hearing Technologies’ breakthrough technology is innovating the hearing aid industry the way Apple® innovated the phone industry through the introduction of the iPhone®.


Talencio has achieved a 73% growth this year through key strategies and targeted innovations. First, Talencio's unique and innovative new service offering, TASC (Talent Acquisition & Strategy Consulting) combines the established models of retained and contingent search, effectively lowering the client's risk and introducing a high-level of collaboration between Talencio and their client.

Another strategy Talencio implemented was the expansion of its marketing and sales efforts throughout the U.S. health technology market. They introduced new methods of digital marketing, launched a new website, hired sales leadership, and more.


Burnsville Family Physicians (BFP), Catalyst Medical Clinic (CMC) and Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) are excited to announce the launch of Infinite Health Collaborative (i-Health), effective October 1, 2019. The independent physician practice will include operating divisions of family medicine and orthopedics. OBGYN Associates (OGA), a partner in the creation of i-Health, will join on January 1, 2020, establishing a women’s health operating division.

The creation of i-Health provides a framework for growth and sustainability of independent physician practices that focus on patient choice and share core principles of physician autonomy, quality, value-based care and innovation. The goal of the organization is to enable physician practices to remain independent.

The Coven

The Coven was started by four female advertising executives who made the BOLD move to exit an industry that refused to honor their worth. They created a space to encourage, enlighten, and provide women with opportunities for personal and professional growth. The Coven is a collaborative community space centering the experiences of women, non-binary and trans people. Their network and physical gathering spaces exist to cultivate a dynamic and diverse community of people who inspire each other to lead more empowered lives, and build meaningful businesses.

The Fish Guys

In 1993, The Fish Guys was founded to responsibly source high quality fish in Minnesota and the Midwest. As a result, they have experienced tremendous growth and been at the forefront of letting Minnesotans enjoy high quality seafood. They have also recently expanded into meat products with the same attention to quality. Award winning chef Tim McKee also recently joined to lead the effort to ensure they have access to the best products.

The Loft Literary Center

The Loft’s Executive and Artistic Director, Britt Udesen was hired with one mandate: BE BOLD. So when she proposed launching a literary festival, the board leapt at her enthusiasm, while admitting they didn’t know what a literary festival is. Luckily there were examples around the country. One of the largest—the Texas Book Festival —draws 40,000 annually and, until recently, was programmed by a soon-to-be returning home Minnesotan. The moment was ripe, the talent was available, but the challenges were huge. To take the idea to launch would cost $800,000+. Getting community and sponsors behind it would take enormous effort.

The Sanneh Foundation

TSF is raising funds in its comprehensive campaign to continue its mission to empower, improve, unite communities. Its BOLD move in the last 2 years has been to innovate its Dreamline program (which performs mentoring services to underserved youth in their schools), into another program called the "Pathways Program" where Sanneh Foundation Dreamline coaches can earn college credit with St. Mary's University to obtain their teaching degrees.

Tierra Encantada

This year we were thrilled to be recognized on the Inc 5000 due to our almost 800% growth in the past three years. When opening in 2013, we were one of multiple Spanish immersion concepts – but over the past five years we have clearly established ourselves as the leader in Spanish immersion early education®. This can be seen not only through our rapid growth – but the overwhelming response to our franchising expansion launch this year. We secured our first multi-unit franchisee just months after launching – and Inc named Tierra Encantada one of the 10 Hottest Franchise Businesses in 2019.

Titanium Partners

There are two major projects happening these days that we are proud of; there was a need for commercial real estate development in Duluth which was fulfilled by Titanium Partners, and we also have a project coming up for Lake Superior College student housing, which will be a 100 unit, 200-bed project on campus. There hasn't been a new building of this type built on a community college campus recently, but with their large international student population, it was needed. It also required coordination between public and private entities to get the project going. The City of Duluth, the State of Minnesota, Lake Superior College, and Titanium Partners all worked together.

Top Knot Tribe

Kendra Lambert has been working with aspiring business owners since 2013 and after launching the Top Knot Tribe Box in November of 2017, her mission of “supporting women in business” only escalated. Since just recently (October/2019) launching a course to teach women how to start their own “boutique style” business, the Top Knot Tribe is coming full circle.

Ultra Green Packaging

Kristin Davidson, the owner of Ultra Green Packaging, bought the company out of a bankruptcy auction in 2017. She has grown the company from less than $80,000 in sales to $4 million. Ultra Green's compostable and recyclable food-service packaging can be found in leading retailers and restaurants nationwide, including Target, Hy-Vee, Lunds & Byerlys, Whole Foods and Kowalski's.

Village Bank

Village Bank developed the #ItTakesaVillage Entrepreneur Educational Series to ensure start-ups and small businesses have the knowledge and tools to achieve success. As a community bank committed to helping local business owners, Village Bank saw a need for educational opportunities to discuss the financial nuances of starting and running a business. Aleesha Webb, President and Vice Chairwoman at Village Bank, joined by entrepreneurs and business leaders Erin Newkirk, Amanda Brinkman, and Allison Kaplan, hosted events to discuss hard-won learnings, big ideas, and smart financial wisdom to pave the way of an entrepreneur’s journey to success.

Warner’s Stellian

A rare successful multi-generation company that continues to grow and thrive, especially in an increasingly competitive retail market.

In 1954, Jim Warner took a job at Stellian’s store in St. Paul. Jim bought the business in 1971 and added his name to theirs, also making it plural to include his wife and children. He established a solid foundation for success by offering the best products available and making sure every customer received exceptional service from sale to delivery.

Those values were passed on to his nine children who now own the company. Nineteen third-generation Warner family members also work full-time for the company.

Wayne Transports

As Wayne Transports has moved from the 2nd to the 3rd generation in ownership and management, Jess Siemers and team have taken Wayne to new heights through leveraging technology, talent (including the addition of a new and innovative Chief Financial Officer), as well as, successfully completing and pursuing M&A opportunities, all while preserving 100% family ownership.


In 2014 Wellbeats pivoted to become a content and software-as-a-service (SaaS) company. This allowed Wellbeats to expand beyond fitness centers to a broader customer base. In 2018 Wellbeats entered the workplace wellness arena and in 2019, disrupted the way fitness is delivered and experienced in corporate wellbeing. Wellbeats, is now available through health plans such as PreferredONE and HealthPartners. Wellbeats is replacing gym reimbursement offerings by providing fitness that fits lifestyle, ability and workout preferences of diverse employee populations.

Westwood Professional Services

When Fran Hagen, Sr. opened Westwood’s doors in 1972, he and his team were eager to show clients how really smart engineering could enhance communities. That's the passion that got us going, keeps us ticking, and has us working across the country, and sometimes even overseas. When there is a big site challenge or a design that requires innovation, that's our sweet spot. Just ask one of our 10,000’s of happy clients or give us a call. We are here to help.

Westwood has grown, through acquisitions and organic growth, in a highly competitive environment.

Wings Financial

Wings Financial has been a Start Tribune Top Places To Work winner for 10 years in a row. With nearly 600 employees, almost half of their workforce is Millenials, and their turnover has been lower than average. With companies across the globe trying to figure out how to attract and retain Millenials, especially in the financial services industries or industries with a set working location or working hours, Wing Financial is doing a lot of things right when it comes to building culture and providing innovation in Talent Management.

Xcel Energy

Carbon Free electricity by 2050.

We have a number of plans underway to transition to cleaner energy resources. These include:

Implementing the country's largest multi-state wind plan with 12 new, low-cost wind farms across seven states.

Moving forward with our transformative Colorado Energy Plan that will retire two more coal units by 2026 and add significant new wind and solar resources, as well as large-scale battery storage.

Proposing a new Upper Midwest Energy Plan that aims to continue our clean energy transition by closing our remaining coal units in the Upper Midwest, extending the use of carbon-free nuclear energy, using cleaner natural gas, and increasing wind and solar energy.

Replacing coal generation with cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar power. Under approved plans, we are retiring 23 coal units from 2005 to 2027 — about half of the coal-fueled capacity we own.