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SBA Meets with Fargo Entrepreneurs

SBA at Fargo Startup HouseWhen two SBA officials recently traveled to Fargo, District Office staff took advantage of the opportunity to connect them with local entrepreneurial community builders to share stories, insights, and needs.

Dr. Winslow Sargeant (Chief Council, Office of Advocacy), Matt Varilek (Region VIII Administrator), Mike Gallagher (North Dakota District Director), and Brittany Sickler (Economic Development Specialist) met with Jake Joraanstad of Myriad Mobile and Miguel Danielson of Danielson Legal.

Joraanstad and Danielson are founding members of Emerging Prairie, an organization committed to informing, connecting and empowering the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the upper Great Plains. Emerging Prairie provides news, media, and supports events such as Startup Weekend Fargo, 1 Million Cups and Startup Drinks, which are targeted towards the regions' entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators.

The group also toured the Fargo Startup House, an upcoming center where entrepreneurs can collaborate to build their new companies while gaining access to world-class small business resources and 1GB internet. The initiative plays an important role in a shared goal to create, attract, and grow new businesses.

Dr. Sargeant directs the Office of Advocacy, whose mission is to "advocate" on behalf of small businesses both within the executive branch and to Congress. Dr. Sargeant brings to his advocacy role the experience of launching a technology company, Aanetcom, that was later acquired by PMC-Sierra. Prior to joining the Office of Advocacy, he served as the managing director of Madison-based Venture Investors, LLC, a venture fund specializing in technology transfer startups.

Varilek oversees the delivery of the Agency's small business programs and services in Region VIII, SBA's most rural region comprised of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Prior to joining SBA, he served as Economic Development Director for U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, focusing on legislative issues related to small business and entrepreneurship. In the private sector, Varilek analyzed energy and environmental commodity market dynamics as Director of Policy and Research for Natsource, LLC.

Pictured are Mike Gallagher, Matt Varilek, Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Miguel Danielson, Brittany Sickler, and Jake Joraanstad.