Our entrepreneur team is busy gearing up for Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation's (SMIF) "Entrepreneurial Bridge" conference on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato.

Partners from across our region are joining together as sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, panelists and attendees to provide a day of learning, sharing, inspiration and networking.

The conference is for any entrepreneur - seasoned or novice - as well as those working to assist entrepreneurs. The goal is provide attendees with practical resources for building financial support, education and partnerships.

Mayo Clinic's Thom Rooke, MD, is providing the keynote address, and Dan and Angie Bastian of Angie's Artisan Treats will be the luncheon keynote.

The rest of the day is customized into tracks for attendees to choose their own course and learn from various speakers and panelists.

The three tracks are centered around the three resources we believe entrepreneurs need the most: financial support, education and business expertise, and regional connections and partnerships.

Attendees will take the first steps towards mastering cash flow and building financial projects, while learning real-world techniques to improving their understanding of the critical elements of their current or future companies.

We're calling this event "The Entrepreneurial Bridge" because that's how we see our foundation's work. We know we're one of many resources for entrepreneurs; as such, we see ourselves as a bridge. We have a strong position as a regional catalyst and connector.

Our purpose for this is event is to bring together entrepreneurs and service providers from across our region and link them to each other.

As a result, we hope entrepreneurs will find new resources to help them start or grow a business. And we would like for entrepreneurs to connect with each other and discover new partnership opportunities. We know this will be a successful day of learning and sharing for everyone involved.

To learn more about this event or to register, visit www.smifoundation.org or contact Pam Bishop at (507) 455-3215 with questions.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments. You can reach me at (507) 455-3215 or email timp@smifoundation.org.