5 Entrepreneurial Journeys

By Bruce Corrie
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Recently, I met five entrepreneurs from various backgrounds that help illustrate the many entry points that begin the journey to a successful business.

Rama Prasad transitioned from the corporate world and is exploring a new business idea. It is in early stage development in the wearable technology sector. She is very close to launching her idea and all I can say at this time about her product — Wow! It was nice to see Rama able to connect with resources and mentors to help bring her idea to fruition —  however she realizes that the local start-up ecosystem is not as good as the San Francisco area.

At the launch of the George Latimer Library in St. Paul, Ocean C. Poet talked about the difficulty for a disabled and transgender graphic artist entrepreneur to launch a business. I offered to introduce Ocean to some business resources like African Economic Development Solutions. Ocean’s test of our business infrastructure revealed that it may not be accessible to all.


Connie Sheehan thought about launching a fitness training business for a while. Connie envisioned it to be more than just a business, more of a social enterprise that merged fitness training for women with spiritual and cultural wholeness rooted in African American spirituality. I introduced her to a young and innovative entrepreneur, Dalton Outlaw, owner of Element Boxing and Fitness in St. Paul and they struck a deal. She leases space at Element Boxing, a perfect way to incubate and grow her business, PUSH Fitness. Saint Paul’s newest business — Welcome!

Teenagers Cristina Corrie (my daughter!) and Molly Raths launched iPerform Theatre Company seven years ago. It is a business which offers summer theatre camps for and by neighborhood youth. Because both Molly and Cristina have started college out of state, they created an intern program to teach kids business and theatre skills. Interns turned co-presidents Sean Corrie and Frankie Buettner and executive team members Jackson Humes and Megan Raths are helping to gear up for the new season. Time to sign your kids up for this fun theatre camp weekday nights from July 5th-29th!


There is a transition of ownership of family farms with the aging of family farm owners in Minnesota. Recently, Agua Gorda Cooperative in Long Prairie secured a loan from the Latino Economic Development Center to purchase a farm in Todd County. The 54-acre farm will be used to grow several crops, including tomatillo, brussels sprouts, honey dew, summer squash, watermelon, melon and hot peppers. “It is great to be able to connect the enthusiastic Latino farmer with a farmer who is moving on but at the same time wants to make sure the farm passes on to good hands,” says Mario Hernandez of LEDC.


Bruce Corrie, PhD, blogs at and is a professor of economics at Concordia University ‑ Saint Paul.