7 Rivers Alliance - May 2015 Newsletter                      
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Dear Community,
We are constantly on the look-out for opportunities to connect you to regional, national and international resources and opportunities.  The month of April was full of connections that could lead to future business and collaboration opportunities. 
On April 8th, we participated in a USDA listening session with local and federal officials and learned about new resources available to our members.  See the links for each state and community grants available: for Wisconsin, for Minnesota and for Iowa.
On April 21st, we coordinated the America’s Competitiveness Exchange visit for 57 representatives from 28 countries.  At the networking reception, the room was buzzing with energy and we are still logging all of the contacts that were made.  As of today, we have documented requests from Argentina, Mexico and Belize for follow up discussions with numerous businesses in the region.
On April 23rd, we coordinated the Agri-Tourism seminar at Branches Winery in Westby, Wisconsin.  It was a great mix of entrepreneurs, farm owners and elected officials, sharing information about their destinations and learning from each other. I was amazed by the wealth of knowledge in the room and the ideas that were generated.  
This month, we will offer two new exciting events:  The Heritage Tourism Seminar in Prairie Du Chien on May 6th and the Creating an Arts Destination Symposium in Winona on May 27th.   Each of these events is packed with excellent speakers and great resources. Space is filling up quickly and you are encouraged to sign up.
In June, we will offer the first site selection summit for community leaders and government officials to learn what other communities in nearby states are doing to attract and retain businesses. National best practices will also be shared for marketing to business.  Save June 18th on your calendar as this is an event that you will not want to miss.  Phil Schneider, President of the International Site Selection Guild will be our keynote speaker.  Special thanks to our sponsor:  Dairyland Power Cooperative for supporting this event. 
It is an exciting time at The 7 Rivers Alliance.  Check out event photos and resources below.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
Lisa Herr,
Executive Director 


ACE 2015 Success

International delegates received a genuine Oktoberfest welcome as they arrived.
Introductions, networking and making connections.
Jack Wilson, VP of Business Development of Eco-Latch Systems, LLC sharing his innovative 'Box Latch' technology.
Honorable Tim Kabat, Mayor of City of La Crosse welcoming delegates to the La Crosse region before dinner reception.
The 2015 Americas Competitiveness Exchange held on Monday, April 20th was a huge success, with over 150 attendees, including local elected officials, government officials and international delegates from 27 countries.  The guests were greeted to La Crosse as they walked through the doors at the Western Technical College's Lunda Center, by a full Oktoberfest band.  Great networking opportunities arose that evening, followed by dinner. The event concluded with a Trane tour on Monday night and by Tuesday the city of La Crosse was already talking with international delegates about creating sister cities with their countries. To view more photos from the event, like us on Facebook!

Grow Agri-Tourism!

Luke Zahm, Chef & Owner of Driftless Cafe describes his buy local relationships to support regional farms.
The following Thursday, April 23, 2015, we hosted our ‘Grow Agri-Tourism!’ at Branches Winery in Westby, WI. The event had an excellent turn out with over 35 people attending! Those attended had the opportunity to learn about regional and national best practices on how to create an agri-tourism destination in their community. Businesses that attended included Organic Valley, Kickapoo Gold, The Driftless Café, and Lanesboro Local, amongst others. To view more photos from the event, visit our Facebook Page.

Site Selection Summit

The 7 Rivers Alliance is pleased to announce its 2015 Site Selection Summit. Economic development professionals will meet with site selection consultants on June 18, 2015 at Cedar Creek Golf Club in Onalaska, WI and learn about creative incentive packages for locating new business and expanding businesses in the region. Economic development professionals will also have the opportunity to learn best practices. This event is $40 for members and $50 for non-members. Go to to register. We encourage you to register early as space is limited.
Date: June 18, 2015  
Time: 7:30 am to 11:30 am  
Location: Cedar Creek Golf Club, Onalaska, WI
Registration for the event can be done online or sent in by mail at:

7 Rivers Alliance, 
601 Seventh Street N.
La Crosse WI, 54601.

Creating An Arts Destination

'Creating an Arts Destination', the third and final seminar in our tourism series will be on May 27, 2015 at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, in Winona, MN.  An amazing array of presenters, such as the Great River Shakespeare Festival and the Mid-West Musical Festival will share how the arts builds tourism in communities. Space for this event is filling up fast. We only have 10 more seats available, so register now!
Don't forget, as an Investor/Member of The 7 Rivers Alliance you are eligible for a discount on all our events! Please contact us at for your PROMO code.
Investors: 20% discount on all registration fees for events and programs
Members: 10% discount on all registration fees for events and programs

Registration for the event can be done online or sent in by mail at

7 Rivers Alliance
601 Seventh Street N.
La Crosse WI, 54601.

New Economic Overview of 7 Rivers Region

A new economic overview of 14 counties in Southwest Wisconsin, Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa was prepared by Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission on May 1st, 2015. This overview provides data for population, jobs, average earnings, unemployment, completion, exports and imports in the 7 Rivers Region. To view the full report, visit our website. 

LADCO - 2015 Business Plan Competition

The La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO) presents The 2015 Coulee Region Entrepreneurial Initiative – Business Plan Competition. This is an exciting opportunity to turn your manufacturing or service business idea into a reality! Winners are eligible for cash awards, rent deferral at the Coulee Region Business Center and zero-interest loan up to $5,000. Submit your business plan today! For full details on the competition, visit:

Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference

The 13th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference will be held June 2-3 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The two-day conference is one of the Midwest's premiere “how-to,” hands-on events for entrepreneurs of all ages and experience levels. Attendees range from ‘treps who are still developing their ideas to emerging company leaders who have already attracted angel and/or venture funding. These businesses cover a broad span of categories, from information technology to cleantech, from advanced manufacturing to the life sciences, and from business services to consulting. Learn more and register at

The International Food Technology Exhibition

The International Food Technology Exhibition or IFT15 is an annual trade event attracting 20,000+ attendees. Exhibitors at the show include food scientists, ingredient or additive companies, food safety services, equipment, packaging, contract manufacturers and many others. At no additional cost, companies participating will receive a host of benefits including access to renowned product development experts and industry leaders partnering in the exhibit, economic development professionals with knowledge and access to resources supporting Wisconsin’s production diversity, infrastructure, workforce, and business climate and an opportunity to visit with potential suppliers, customers, etc.  Companies need to arrange their own registration and travel to the Expo. For more information, visit

Mark Your Calendar!

Annual Meeting 
Mark your calendar for The 7 Rivers Alliance's Annual Meeting and State of the Region Report. This Annual Meeting is held every year for all our members to attend. This year we plan to include a State of the Region Report to showcase what is going on in the region.

Date: November 4, 2015  
Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm  
Location: TBA
Copyright © 2015. 7 Rivers Alliance. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
601 Seventh Street North, La Crosse, WI 54601

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