Monthly News and Event Notices from The Network Connect
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Network Connect Events

April Investor Connection Event (ICE) 
The year's first ICE event is coming in April. Register now to attend.

If you are a business ready to present to investors, please contact Dick Sommerstad to discuss participating.

While the event it open to all entrepreneurs, business owners, C-level individuals, Angel investors, CPAs, Attorneys -- only a dozen businesses get to pitch and have a 'formal' presence at the event. Contact Dick at

Tuesday April 18, 2017. Event is from 3PM-6PM (participating businesses and investors have activities prior to this start time)
Minneapolis Club, downtown Minneapolis.  
Click here for the event flier.  REGISTER here...  
(See all new Spotlights at the end of this email)

1. Featured News & White Papers

Angel Tax Credit Program - 2017  ~ FEB. UPDATE ~

Minnesota's Angel Tax Credit Program provides a 25-percent credit to investors or investment funds that make equity investments in startup companies focused on high technology, new proprietary technology, or a new proprietary product, process or service in specified fields. The maximum credit is $125,000 per person, per year ($250,000 if filing jointly). The tax credit is refundable, making residents of other states and foreign countries also eligible. Since the program’s inception in 2010, over $370 million has been invested in more than 400 Minnesota startup businesses through the program.
For 2017, $10.7 million in credits is available, with $5 million reserved until September 30, 2017 for investments in businesses owned and managed by women or minorities or that are headquartered in Greater Minnesota. As of 2/13/17, $5.3 million remains available for investment in general business and $4.7 million for targeted businesses.  

Investors that made investments in 2016 were emailed their Angel Tax Credit certification on 2/10/17.  If you did not receive yours, please check junk / spam folders in your email first -- and if not there, contact the program staff at -- be sure to include your current email address.  

The program will end this year unless the Minnesota legislature extends it. So far two bills have been introduced to extend the program, one indefinitely extends it at $20 million per year but limits it to business in cities that do not receive Local Government Aid (LGA), and the other extends it one year at $10 million. Find key legislator contact information here and express your opinion.

For more information about the Tax Credit program, contact Jeff Nelson...  

SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative Set to   
Help Entrepreneurs Grow and Succeed in Minnesota  

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota District Office is accepting applications to a FREE mini-MBA training program for small to medium-sized business owners and CEOs in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2017. Read the 1-page press release here...  

Five Surprises That Wouldn’t Surprise Us in 2017  
The past year was full of surprises; 2017 may be the same. While we expect modest returns across asset classes, interspersed with volatility, we see five potential developments outside of the consensus view that are distinctly possible.  Read the blog post here... 

Article referenced by Network Connect
client: LIVE.GIVE.SAVE.  

Susan Langer, CEO of Live.Give.Save. links you to this article by Brett King, CEO of Moven, and how he envisions the future of our "technology-optimized world". There is a correlation to the vision of Susan's company.  Of note: "Underpinning all of this is an expectation that banking, payments and credit will just work, in real-time, solving my problems and helping me manage my money everyday.”  And “… Uber (is) the largest acquirer of small business bank accounts in the United States today, bigger than Wells, BofA and Chase combined.”  Planning for (and saving for) retirement is difficult.  With the demise of traditional banking and physical credit cards -- all moving to the world of digital, you'll want to learn more about the Live.Give.Save. retirement account technology they are devising with a a strategic partner … making saving for retirement second nature. Click this link -- you'll need to log into your LinkedIn account to read the article.  

Getting the Bookkeeping Done Right   
Typically, a small business starts with choosing a business name and legal entity type, opening a checking account, and funding it with a contribution of personal cash. As sales occur, the owners deposit money into this account and pay business expenses out of this account. Tracking finances tends to be done on the cash basis and is often limited to checking the bank balance regularly to see how things stand. Somewhere in the background are the thoughts of maintaining business records, paying taxes, paying employees, drawing out cash, and producing financial statements.  Read the short white paper here...  

Baird Capital  
2016 was an active year for Baird Capital and we are excited to be entering 2017 with significant momentum. In 2016 we selectively deployed $72.1 million in new and add-on investments and returned roughly $256 million to our investors, one of our strongest years of distributions in our history. Our global venture and private equity team is actively reviewing a number of investment opportunities in our target sub-sectors while at the same time maintaining our focus on maximizing our existing portfolio value. We continue to be committed to working with high-quality businesses in the Industrial Solutions, Healthcare and Technology & Services sectors where we have considerable resources to help companies drive growth. To share an investment opportunity in one of our targeted sectors click here

Defense Alliance Acquired  
Defense Alliance, founded by Minnesota Wire in 2004, has been acquired by Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI) of Salt Lake City, Utah. Read their press release here...  

Attention All Clean and Green Companies   
The Cleantech Open Business Accelerator is now accepting applications for our 2017 session! They welcome companies of all stages (from concept to commercialized) with a mission to solve some of the world's most pressing problems through clean tech and sustainable solutions. The application period started Feb 1, 2017, and ends at 11:59pm on May 1, 2017. It's $150 to apply ($100 for student-led teams), and applicants can take advantage of one of these discount codes to make it even more affordable:

  • EARLYBIRD50 for 50% off application fee through April1.
  • 2017STUDENTAPP for $50 off application fee through May 1.
  • STUDENTPART for $250 off participation fee through June 5.2017

You can also visit The Cleantech Open Midwest website for more information:
We look forward to receiving your application, and learning more about your business! For more information, please contact Steve Webster at

Top 100 Descriptors in MN Business Names   
New Business Minnesota recently completed an analysis of the “word frequency” on all 50,000+ business that registered with the Secretary of State in 2014 to produce a list of the top 100 descriptors in business names. Click here for a PDF version of that analysis...

How Are Your Receivables?  
Brad Connor of Partners Funding recently attended an event, focused on financing, involving four (4) panelists -- two of which were entrepreneurs. One entrepreneur was in business for five years and the other for twenty years. While there were a couple of notable point’s, throughout the discussions, worth expounding on, "Factoring as a Tool for Growth" was not mentioned. Find out why?  Read the full post here...  

From the Olsen Thielen Advisor - 2017 Mileage Rates  
As of January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be: 
  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 54 cents for 2016)
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents for 2016)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Lt. Governor Tina Smith and DEED
Launch #InnovateMN Campaign  

Campaign will highlight emerging discoveries and technologies that enhance Minnesota’s economic future.
Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Shawntera Hardy today launched the #InnovateMN campaign, celebrating emerging technologies and discoveries in Minnesota. Throughout the next year, the campaign will highlight Minnesota’s culture of innovation by sharing stories of businesses and entrepreneurs on the cutting edge.  Read the full press release here...  

Network Connect Business Opportunity Update
ezbox - Electrical Systems Solutions, LLC
2. Events & Networking

February 2017 and beyond...

Architect of Defense Award  
The 9th annual Defense Alliance "Architect of Defense" award (for 2016) will be presented at a special event on Thursday, February 23, 2017. Read about it here - and go to Defense Alliance's website to register.

Recruiting & Hiring 101  
A FREE G&A Partners Webinar.
Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 11:00 am CST
Learn more -- and register here...  

2017 Innovation Competition  
Global Midwest Alliance invites you to enter (and/or attend) the 2017 Innovation Competition ... presented by Polsinelli. This is the 8th Annual Innovation Competition, being held on April 4 in connection with the Alliance's Corporate Venturing program. It focuses on the Midwest's excellence in technology, innovation, products and services. (The Innovation Competition was created to help emerging and venture ready companies gain visibility and make connections. The competition will provide a showcase for developers of new technologies that offer competitive returns for investors and customers while providing solutions to global challenges.) Learn more here... And here is a link to the Press Announcement...  

Club E Events   
Go here for ALL ClubE event notices and to register...  

1) Art of Failing Fast
Mar. 2, 2017 11AM to 1PM - Minneapolis MN

2) M&A / EXIT STRATEGIES ... Upsize Magazine and Club E 
Mar. 23, 2017 11AM - 1PM - Minneapolis MN

3) SportsTech – A Venture Capital Perspective
April 6, 2017 11:15 AM - 1PM - Minneapolis MN


Upcoming MN Department of Trade Events   

  • Feb. 22 - 8:30am - Finding & Motivating the Right Foreign Business Partner; DEED Conference Center, 1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street - Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101
  • Feb. 24 - 9:30am - German Career Day and Resource & Information Fair; 301 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN
  • Mar. 1 - 8:30am - Latin America Series: Business Opportunities in Colombia; DEED Conference Center, 1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, E200, St. Paul, MN 55101
  • Mar. 16 - ExporTech - U.S. Commercial Service - Minnesota; U.S. Department of Commerce, 330 2nd Ave. South, Suite 410 Minneapolis, MN 55401
Visit DEED's site for details and information as to how to register...  

7th MN Entrepreneur Kick Off   
Learn more about this event on their website here...
When: March 14, 2017
Where: Fort Snelling 
Time: 2:45PM - registration; 7:45PM Close

March 27, 2017 - GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha
Go here to learn more...  

36th Annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium & Coulter Investment Forum  
SAVE THE DATE May 16-17, 2017
Ann Arbor, Michigan | Marriott Resort. Go here for information

Events from Minneapolis SCORE    
Minneapolis SCORE has a lot of local and online workshops coming up learning events coming up. Go here to check them out! click here 

Spotlights for February 2017
Introducing RiskSmart Advisors   
Businesses of all sizes are challenged with the increasing demands to protect their data and the data they share with external third parties.  They need to be secure and compliant.  Information security (InfoSec) risk management is driven by owners, shareholders, board members, business partners/service providers, customers and federal and state regulators.  Managing third party relationships is perhaps the biggest area of concern and the most difficult to proactively manage.  Being able to proactively manage service provider relationships is essential as principal companies are responsible for monitoring the cyber security and compliance status of their third party service providers and business partners as required by federal and state regulations. RiskSmart Advisors’unique RiskPortal allows organizations to manage these InfoSec demands in real time.  Companies use the RiskPortal to create, maintain and proactively manage their Written Information Security Program (WISP) in a cost effective and efficient manner, including managing their service provider InfoSec and compliance risks.  Read the 1-page overview here...

Chain Reaction Innovations   
Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) embeds innovators focusing on energy and science technologies in Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago for two years to provide access to cutting-edge equipment and experts to accelerate the de-risking of game-changing technologies. Program participants will receive the financial and technical support needed to mature nascent technologies that face long development cycles to the proof-of-concept level, thus getting them to the point where they can access conventional sources of financial support to scale and launch into the marketplace.

Innovators are supported through fellowship funding that covers salary, benefits, and use of laboratory equipment and office space. Through a partnership with mentor organizations, CRI participants will get assistance developing business strategies, conducting market research, and finding long-term financing and potential commercial partners. CONTACT

Whisper Capital Offers Alternative to Equity Funding   
Whether your business is small, medium or large in size, Whisper Capital has dealt with similar companies before. Because of our experience with a wide range of businesses, the financial products available in our portfolio are also quite numerous and diverse. This along with our team of seasoned financial professionals has earned us a well-regarded reputation among the financing community. Whisper Capital has what it takes to get you the commercial finance assistance you need.
In the pursuit of capital, required to fund start-ups and/or new investment projects, management is often inclined to look for equity investment first instead of debt financing. In reality, Whisper Capital offers a cost effective alternative strategy, when appropriate, using debt financing as the initial strategy followed by equity investment, if necessary. In most cases, if a company or investor cannot qualify for debt financing, their chances of finding reasonable equity investment capital is limited at best. Some of the more prominent lending categories include: 
  • Business acquisition financing
  • Financing for accounts receivable
  • Commercial real estate loans
  • Sale leasebacks
  • Equipment leasing
  • Heavy equipment financing
  • Factoring
  • Medical field financing
Contact Henry Pawlowski for more information. 
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