EDAM Fall 2021 Conference

Join Northspan as we facilitate two panels at the Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM) 2021 Fall Conference. Participants from throughout the state of Minnesota will attend to network and learn from educational sessions exploring economic trends and leading practices.

Registration and full agenda available here.


Entrepreneurialism in the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy

Date: Friday, October 1, 2021

Time: 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV), recognizing economic challenges and declining rates of entrepreneurship in the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy, launched an initiative to build a Tribal Economy Business Incubator (TEBI) program. MLCV brought together a diverse team of organizations to explore the concept and lay the groundwork for a comprehensive inclusive program to support entrepreneurs.

Partners in the work include:

  • Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures – A political subdivision and for-profit corporation owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota; owns the properties slated for incubator development and convened the partners behind this project to conduct the necessary due diligence
  • Northspan Group, Inc. – Completed background research on the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy, an extensive community engagement process in conjunction with community coordinators, and compiled the final report
  • Maxfield Research – Conducted market research to assess viability of proposed uses for each of the properties
  • Neighborhood Development Center – Developed proformas for the four facilities, an overall TEBI program budget, and a series of policies and procedures to guide its operation
  • HyTec Construction – Completed scopes of work for construction or renovation of TEBI buildings
  • Initiative Foundation – The operating partner for the TEBI
  • Community Coordinators – Led the coordination of securing Tribal & Non-Tribal participants for the focus groups. Also participated in focus groups and sharing their experiences in the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy

The process brought together the team’s unique talents, generated enthusiasm for the initiative among both Tribal and non-Tribal residents of the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy and positioned the project to pursue Federal funding. This panel brings together the partners on the project to share how they put together this complex initiative and worked to set up entrepreneurs for success.

Facilitated by Northspan President & CEO Elissa Hansen


  • Dustin Goslin, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV)
  • Beth Gruber, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV)
  • Matt Mullins, Maxfield Research
  • Mitch Feierabend, HyTec Construction
  • Bradley Harrington, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe & Wenji-bimaadizing Media, LLC
  • Suzanne Wise, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Carolyn Beaulieu, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Brian Voerding, Initiative Foundation

Registration and more information available here.


New Waves on the Great Lake: Post-Pandemic Real Estate in Northeast Minnesota

Date: Friday, October 1, 2021

Time: 9:45 – 10:45 a.m.

There has been no shortage of press on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the real estate market in major cities. But how has Greater Minnesota weathered the storm, and how are its communities positioned to take advantage of a changing economic reality? Northeast Minnesota offers the perfect test case to explore these changing realities, as it includes markets such as the Duluth metro, the towns of the Iron Range, and rural destinations such as the North Shore. This panel will explore the real estate market in northeast Minnesota with a special emphasis on the changes in the commercial market since the start of the pandemic. Insights from Northland Connection, Northspan’s regional program that hosts a commercial real estate database and provides background data and information to support economic development efforts, will supplement the insights of some of the region’s leading realtors and brokers.

This panel brings together commercial realtors from an array of backgrounds and areas of expertise, and it adds a focus on the host city and region for this fall’s conference.

Facilitated by Northspan Research Director Karl Schuettler


Beth Wentzlaff, CMRA, LLC

Greg Follmer, Follmer Commercial Real Estate

Steve Bragg, Calhoun Companies

Andrea Zupancich, Z’Up North Realty

Registration and more information available here.