Since 2013, Emerging Prairie has existed to connect and celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Fargo. Through organized events, conferences, and meet-ups, this mission has been accomplished with the support of the Fargo community. “Our Emerging Prairie team fully believes that the greatest way to make an impact in the world is to increase access to technology… so our work is all about connecting and celebrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem and our community has joined us in that pursuit,” explained Greg Tehven, executive director and co-founder of Emerging Prairie.
Hosting world-class events is a signature of the Emerging Prairie team. At these events, there is a collision of entrepreneurs, risk takers, and creatives in an environment that fosters collaboration. Whether it is the weekly 1 Million Cups gathering at Island Park that hosts an average of 130 attendees or the DroneFocus
Conference that draws close to 700 people each summer, the Emerging Prairie Team is cultivating a culture of networking that helps add to Fargo’s uniqueness. “Emerging Prairie provides a safe haven where entrepreneurs get to practice freely with other like-minded entrepreneurs… There is a sense of cooperation wanting
entrepreneurs to succeed because it results in attracting or keeping talented people in the Fargo-Moorhead area,” said Alexandre Cyusa, community liaison at Folkways.
Emerging Prairie values radical inclusivity with all of their events. The young and old, the start-up and the established, men and women, educated and uneducated are connected through the work of Emerging Prairie. Even the volunteers display inclusivity in differing ages and backgrounds as they serve alongside the Emerging Prairie
staff. “We had over 100 volunteers support the work of Emerging Prairie this past year…. each one has a story to share and plays an integral part in furthering the mission of our organization,” explained Megan Jeromchek, event coordinator at Emerging Prairie.
Every connection created through an Emerging Prairie event is worth celebrating in the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a core component of their mission statement, Emerging Prairie seeks to celebrate the risk takers, entrepreneurs, and creatives in Fargo and beyond. The Prairie Den is a prime source of celebration for Emerging Prairie as they continue to graduate start-ups like TellWell, Hash Interactive, BeMoreColorful and CoSchedule into permanent offices spaces as they outgrow the downtown co-working space.
Along with the weekly celebration of risk takers at 1 Million Cups, Emerging Prairie celebrates 1 Million Thanks annually to highlight the bright spots of the start-up ecosystem. “Hosting 1 Million Thanks is the least we can do to say thank you to our community… Emerging Prairie only exists because of the people that are taking risks of starting companies and supporting these entrepreneurs,” said Greg Tehven. On January 25th, the 4th annual 1 Million Thanks was hosted at the Fargo Jet Center, which included their signature champagne marshmallow toast and start-up ecosystem awards.
Catalyst for the Future
“Moving start-ups forward faster” is an often-used phrase of the Emerging Prairie team as they navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Fargo.
As a non-profit, Emerging Prairie is participating in Giving Hearts Day in 2018, an annual day of giving which raised over $10 million in the region in 2017. “We are asking our supporters to help us meet our match of $5000 and any gift helps further our mission in Fargo…. $10 covers an individual’s coffee for a few months at 1 Million Cups, $50 covers a musicians performance at one of our events, and $1,000 paves the way for Emerging Prairie to start new initiatives in the ecosystem,” said Lindsay Brueler, conference director and development associate at Emerging Prairie.