Innovators Ignite Change with FINNOVATION Fellowship

by / ⠀Featured News / October 16, 2023
Innovative FINNOVATION

Three social innovators from Minnesota are transforming their ideas for social change into reality, thanks to the support of the FINNOVATION Fellowship. This yearly business development initiative offers curriculum-based training, personalized mentoring, and a $50,000 living stipend to nine budding social entrepreneurs. The current fellows include Brittany Clausen, who is growing her racial justice consultancy firm Envision Greatness; Erik Halaas, working on establishing an eco-conscious burial service called Meadowlark Natural Burial; and Haggai Simon, developing a homework organization app for university students with ADHD titled BrainFlow.

These ambitious entrepreneurs aim to address pressing social issues and create a sustainable impact on the community through their unique ventures. With the resources and guidance provided by the FINNOVATION Fellowship, they are given the opportunity to refine their skills, expand their networks, and accelerate the growth of their socially-driven enterprises.

The FINNOVATION Fellowship and Its Mission

Originated by the Minneapolis-based FINNOVATION Lab, this program encourages positive societal impact through financially sound business models and assists visionaries aspiring to create change. CEO Connie Rutledge explains, “At our heart, we really are a leadership development program,” adding, “We always tell the fellows they’re so early stage with their businesses, typically, that the whole point is that we are investing in them as a human.

Under this initiative, participants receive guidance, resources, and support to turn their innovative ideas into successful, sustainable businesses that benefit the community. As such, the program not only fosters entrepreneurial growth but also aims to cultivate a new generation of conscientious, socially responsible leaders.

The Impact of the Fellowship on the Social Entrepreneurs

Clausen, Halaas, and Simon exemplify the drive and ambition that the FINNOVATION Fellowship cultivates in its participants. By empowering social entrepreneurs, the program tackles the most urgent social problems and fosters a fairer and more inclusive world. Through mentorship, skill development, and funding, the FINNOVATION Fellowship enables these change-makers to create innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing issues.

As these entrepreneurs succeed, it not only leads to tangible social and environmental improvements but also inspires others to transform their communities and enact meaningful change.

Brittany Clausen and Her Vision: Envision Greatness

Brittany Clausen, the founder of Envision Greatness, aims to transform how organizations address racial justice by providing consultancy and training services focused on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. Through her firm, Clausen is helping businesses and nonprofits to build more inclusive workplace cultures, break down systemic barriers, and foster dialogue around diversity and inclusion.

With the support of the FINNOVATION Fellowship, Envision Greatness has the potential to create lasting, systemic changes in both public and private sectors, ultimately leading to a more equitable society.

Erik Halaas and His Mission: Meadowlark Natural Burial

Erik Halaas, a passionate environmentalist, has taken on the challenge of revolutionizing traditional burial practices by introducing Meadowlark Natural Burial, an eco-conscious burial service. The venture offers an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional burial methods, minimizing the impact on the local environment and promoting sustainable practices in the funeral industry.

Through this innovative service, Halaas aims to create a more sustainable future while addressing the pressing environmental concerns associated with traditional burial practices.

Haggai Simon’s Solution: BrainFlow

Haggai Simon, the creator of BrainFlow, is committed to supporting university students with ADHD by providing them with a homework organization app that caters to their specific needs. The app helps students manage their tasks and deadlines in a more organized manner, reducing distractions and fostering better focus.

As BrainFlow grows and reaches a wider audience of students in need, it can significantly improve academic outcomes and promote a more inclusive and accessible education system.

Conclusion

With programs like the FINNOVATION Fellowship, change-makers like Clausen, Halaas, and Simon are empowered to pursue their visions and create lasting social impact. As these entrepreneurs continue to grow their ventures, they are contributing to the creation of a more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable future for all members of our society. The FINNOVATION Fellowship not only cultivates entrepreneurial growth, but it also serves as a beacon of inspiration for others who dream of making a difference in their communities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the FINNOVATION Fellowship?

The FINNOVATION Fellowship is a yearly business development initiative that supports budding social entrepreneurs with curriculum-based training, personalized mentoring, and a $50,000 living stipend. The fellowship is designed to help these entrepreneurs transform their ideas for social change into reality.

Who are some current FINNOVATION Fellows and their projects?

Some of the current fellows include Brittany Clausen, who is growing her racial justice consultancy firm Envision Greatness; Erik Halaas, working on establishing an eco-conscious burial service called Meadowlark Natural Burial; and Haggai Simon, developing a homework organization app for university students with ADHD titled BrainFlow.

What is the mission of the FINNOVATION Fellowship?

The mission of the FINNOVATION Fellowship is to encourage positive societal impact through financially sound business models and assist visionaries aspiring to create change. The program aims to cultivate a new generation of conscientious, socially responsible leaders.

What are the benefits of the fellowship for social entrepreneurs?

The FINNOVATION Fellowship provides social entrepreneurs with the guidance, resources, and support needed to turn their innovative ideas into successful, sustainable businesses that benefit the community. It promotes the growth of entrepreneurial skills, fosters networking opportunities, and supports the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing social issues.

What is Brittany Clausen’s vision for Envision Greatness?

Brittany Clausen, the founder of Envision Greatness, aims to transform how organizations address racial justice by providing consultancy and training services focused on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. She seeks to help businesses and nonprofits build more inclusive workplace cultures, break down systemic barriers, and foster dialogue around diversity and inclusion.

What is Erik Halaas’s mission for Meadowlark Natural Burial?

Erik Halaas, the founder of Meadowlark Natural Burial, seeks to revolutionize traditional burial practices by introducing an eco-conscious burial service. His mission is to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional burial methods, minimizing the impact on the local environment and promoting sustainable practices in the funeral industry.

What is Haggai Simon’s solution in BrainFlow?

Haggai Simon, the creator of BrainFlow, is committed to supporting university students with ADHD by providing them with a homework organization app that caters to their specific needs. The app aims to help students manage their tasks and deadlines in a more organized manner, reducing distractions, and fostering better focus.

First Reported on: startribune.com
Featured Image Credit: Photo by RDNE Stock project; Pexels; Thank you!

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