Businesses in the Southeastern Minnesota rural communities of Lanesboro and surrounding Fillmore County continue to strive for sustainability and long-term economic growth, despite the challenges of the ongoing global pandemic.

Winona State University sponsored a series of three professional workshops in partnership with the City of Lanesboro and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) program. Training topics were developed in response to the needs of the regional rural communities and included sessions on business succession planning, seasonal marketing tactics, and workforce recruitment and retention strategies.

WSU’s Business Outreach Coordinator, Julie Kiehne, had the opportunity to visit with Lori Bakke, local small business owner of Granny’s Liquor and member of the REV Committee. Hear what Lori shared regarding the training partnership outcomes:

Winona State University’s educational sessions ignited new ways of thinking about the techniques small businesses can implement to strengthen the Lanesboro entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Cathy Enerson

Lanesboro Economic Development Director

The City of Lanesboro has a desire to encourage, attract, promote and develop industry and commerce within the City for the prevention of unemployment and to provide for increased economic opportunity. The training partnership with Winona State University helped the business community get a step closer to this goal.

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) program

The Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) program is all about finding and igniting existing entrepreneurs in communities. By adopting a “grow your own” approach to entrepreneur development, the REV model helps community grow from within.

In 2018 Lanesboro & Spring Valley (Fillmore County) were chosen as recipients of the 3-year REV program through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). SMIF is a donor-supported foundation, investing in economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. SMIF’s key interests include economic and early childhood development and community vitality.

About WSU-Adult & Continuing Education

Adult & Continuing Education (ACE) at Winona State University offers a wide range of non-credit and for-credit course offerings to enhance professional development. Winona State always strives to meet students’ goals, whether it is online learning, in the classroom, or hands-on experience.

For more information on continuing education opportunities through WSU, contact Julie Kiehne at or call 507.457.5080.