Businesses, small and large, are important to any community, but how does a business begin and stay successful? Through the help of the Southeast Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the newly created Spring Grove Entrepreneur Institute (SGEI) organized four classes for people looking to start or grow their business in Spring Grove or surrounding communities.

The classes covered topics such as how to start a business, writing a business plan and how to finance a business. The last session will look at how to use social media to promote your business.

"We've had good attendance at the meetings and have had people from Caledonia, Mabel and Spring Grove attend," commented Donella Griffin, one of SGEI's developers.

"There is so much to learn about starting and running a business - from paying into unemployment to properly doing sales tax. There is always something to learn, even for an established business, such as marketing with social media."

The fourth session for SGEI is Thursday, June 27, from 6:30 - 9 p.m. at the Spring Grove Communications Building Room 103 in downtown Spring Grove.

This session will be presented by Jeff Ferrazzo of Constant Contact and will focus on "How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World" and "Facebook Marketing." There is a $10 fee.

Each of the sessions have been done by an expert presenter and followed by a panel of local business owners and entrepreneurs sharing their experience and words of wisdom.

"Our goal following these sessions is to continue the link between potential entrepreneurs with current business owners in a regular, monthly networking group," explained Jessi Strinmoen, one of SGEI's developers.

The presentations have been made possible through the grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), Sanibrush, Spring Grove Insurance as well as support from Merchants Bank, Spring Grove Communications, and Spring Grove Economic Development Authority.

Howard Deters, president of the EDA, commented about the importance of these sessions, "The Entrepreneur Institute is very helpful for someone wanting to start a business because they [SGEI] can help that person with a business plan, help them get their books together, and help them have a history, all things that a bank would be looking for in order for a business to get a loan.

"More than anything else, entrepreneurs need each other for support. This is a great support group for businesses in the community and the EDA."

Griffin also agreed that the continuing support is important. "We want people to continue meeting, and when a topic comes up that they want more information on or have questions on, we hope this would be a place they would look for answers and support."

The first three sessions have been videotaped and will be replayed on Spring Grove Public television. Many resources will also be posted on the www.springgrovemn.com website (under the "Business" section). There will be handouts as well as links to other resources, too. This information should be on the website within the next week or two.

To register for the final class in this series, visit online at http://springgrovemn.eventbrite.com or stop at City Hall. Questions regarding SGEI can be directed to Donella Griffin at (507) 498-3336 or Jessi Strinmoen vial email at jstrinmoen@gmail.com.