BEMIDJI — Two northwest Minnesota residents will join six others statewide for an entrepreneurial program.
According to a statement from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, residents of Bemidji and Fosston have been chosen for the two-year Initiation Fellowship. The program helps social entrepreneurs accelerate their ideas, grow their networks, and develop their business and community leadership skills.
The eight selected fellows will also receive an annual stipend of $30,000 during the program, which also includes comprehensive programming, executive-level monitoring, leadership training, and continuing education. They will also be supported by program staff to advance their business or nonprofit efforts.
Daniel Barrientez Jr. of Bemidji was selected for his criminal-friendly employment project. Released from prison in 2010, he initially struggled to find a job because of his record. Barrientez went on to earn a culinary arts degree and plans to open a food truck business and create jobs for ex-criminals.
Brenna Rollie from Fosston was selected with her company Aham Love Yoga. Rollie hopes to improve the health and well-being of rural Minnesota communities by offering classes, community events and youth camps. She plans to make such efforts with healing, community building, and culture in mind.
The program was launched in 2016 and is managed by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, West Central Initiative, Initiative Foundation, and Southwest Initiative Foundation.