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Locals join Initiators Fellowship to advance business ideas

Residents from Bemidji and Fosston have been chosen for the two-year Initiators Fellowship. The program assists social entrepreneurs in fast-tracking their ideas, growing their networks and developing their business and community leadership skills.

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Brenna Rollie of Fosston and Daniel Barrientez Jr. of Bemidji were recently chosen as Fellows for the two-year Initiators Fellowship. Contributed
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BEMIDJI -- Two residents of northwest Minnesota will join six other individuals throughout the state for an entrepreneurial program.

According to a release from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, residents from Bemidji and Fosston have been chosen for the two-year Initiators Fellowship. The program assists social entrepreneurs in fast-tracking their ideas, growing their networks and developing their business and community leadership skills.

The eight selected fellows will also receive an annual $30,000 stipend during the program, which also includes comprehensive programming, executive-level monitoring, leadership training, ongoing education. They will also be assisted by program staff in advancing their business or nonprofit endeavors.

Daniel Barrientez Jr. of Bemidji was selected for his felon-friendly employment endeavor. Released from incarceration in 2010, he initially struggled to find employment due to his record. Barrientez later earned a degree in culinary arts and plans to open a food truck business and create jobs for former felons.

Brenna Rollie of Fosston was selected with her business Aham Love Yoga. Rollie hopes to increase the health and wellness for rural Minnesota communities by providing classes, community events and youth camps. She plans to make such efforts with healing, community-building and culture in mind.

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The program was launched in 2016 and is operated by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, the West Central Initiative, the Initiative Foundation and Southwest Initiative Foundation.

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