By Andrew Jason
Photos by Paul Flessland
The foolish/ brave entrepreneurs who are risking it all were celebrated last month at Emerging Prairie’s 1 Million Thanks. The nonprofit whose mission is to celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the community brought more than 200 attendees to the Sanctuary Events Center to honor recipients who did great things with their company in 2016.
“Emerging Prairie believes it’s important to celebrate both the entrepreneurs and the community of folks who support them,” says Greg Tehven, executive director and cofounder of Emerging Prairie. “1 Million Thanks was a great way to collectively bring everyone together to honor that growth.”
So, without further ado, we present the winners of the 2016 1 Million Thanks.
SOCIAL IMPACT AWARD
Awarded for their celebration of culture creators, Folkways was honored with the social impact award. Folkways founders Joe Burgum and Simone Wai took the stage to thank everyone and talk about the Red River Market, Co.Starters and their numerous other projects.
Learn more: folkways.co
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Max Kringen of Tellwell
In the space of a year, Tellwell has added seven team members to this social media agency. Kringen recently graduated and moved out of the Prairie Den to their new office at 320 5th St. N. Ste. 202, Fargo. The company is a content agency that produces videos, design and other stories for companies.
Learn more: wetellwell.com
Winner: Bethlehem “Betty” Gronneberg of UCodeGirl
Born in Ethiopia, Gronneberg moved to Fargo in 1998 and has a masters of science in software engineering and was selected to the prestigious Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship. She started uCodeGirl to get more women interested in the tech industry.
Learn more: ucodegirl.org
TEAM PLAYER AWARD
Justin Walsh and Garrett Moon, the founders of CoSchedule, brought their whole team on stage to accept the Team Player award. The online content marketing calendar was originally founded in Bismarck, N.D., but has since actively dove into the Fargo entrepreneurial scene.
Learn more: coschedule.com
Winner: Kirk Anton of Heat Transfer Warehouse and Ashley Morken of Unglued
There was a tie in this category. Anton was recognized for his quiet giving. He supports numerous entrepreneurial events and volunteers his time throughout the community. Unglued was created to support the creators and makers in the community, and that’s what this little shop on Broadway does with its eclectic mix of handmade goods created by local artists. Morken is also big on events with the Unglued: Craft Fest and workshops throughout the year.
Learn more: heattransferwarehouse.com & ungluedmarket.com
STARTUP OF THE YEAR
Winner: National Day Calendar
Marlo Anderson, founder of nationaldaycalendar.com, talked about the success of his website that has become one of the top 2,500 websites in the world. Out of their office in Mandan, N.D., they currently track 1,500 national days and have more than 18,000 submissions a year for national days.
Learn more: nationaldaycalendar.com
A YEAR AT EMERGING PRAIRIE
2016 was a successful year for Emerging Prairie. They launched new programs such as The Possibility Symposium on Social Business, Cart Summit, and The League, and 1 Million Cups, TEDxFargo and DroneFocusCon continued to grow. There will be a lot of new additions to Emerging Prairie in 2017, including the Prairie Capital Summit, Meetup Leader Gathering, a podcasting studio and more.