The University of Minnesota Extension will host its inaugural Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) conference Sept. 5-6 in Waseca.

The gathering is a community development initiative designed to bring together entrepreneurs, business leaders, economic development professionals, decision makers, and community champions to share ideas and strengthen entrepreneurial networks.

“The conference is designed to connect and inspire attendees. Our hope is that they will walk away with new ideas and connections they can use to support entrepreneurs and small business in their communities,” said Rani Bhattacharyya, Extension Educator for Community Economics.

The conference features two keynote speakers, including Amanda Brinkman, host of the hit HULU Series, Small Business Revolution and Tom Smude, successful entrepreneur and owner of Smude Sunflower oil. Twenty breakout sessions will take place in venues throughout the community, featuring local and state leaders who are making entrepreneurial communities happen. Topics will include innovative strategies for filling downtown spaces, business succession, agritourism in Minnesota, co-working space models, and more.

Communities are encouraged to bring a team to learn, connect, and start a local discussion about your community’s future.

The conference begins at 11 a.m. Sept. 5 and concludes at noon Sept. 6. Registration fee is $80. Registration closes Aug. 6.

Information about the conference is available at z.umn.edu/CEC_Conference

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