Annette Wildenauer Featured in “Voyage Minnesota”

Annette Wildenauer, Edina Innovation Lab’s Chief Innovation Officer, is featured in Voyage Minnesota.

“We believe the right mixture of community, people, business, and passion can spark the best ideas,” says Annette Wildenauer, Chief Innovation Officer and Course Instructor. “The Innovation Lab helps create the chemistry partnerships needed to fuel their business goals.” According to the U.S. Small Business Association (, small businesses account for 44% of U.S. economic activity. Of the new jobs created between 1995 and 2020, small businesses accounted for 62% — 12.7 million compared to 7.9 million by large enterprises. “When small businesses thrive, so does a whole network of other local professionals, including marketers, accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, and more,” Wildenauer says.

The lab isn’t meant for start-ups but for businesses that have succeeded independently for over three years. The inaugural program offered through the Innovation Lab is called Businesses Who Innovate and Grow (BIG). BIG is a six-month program with courses in business fundamentals, including finance and accounting, marketing, relationship management, sales, legal, media marketing strategies, employee recruitment, and human resources. Each cohort at the lab meets twice a month for two hours with a maximum of 10 participants. They work in groups to encourage collaboration and problem-solving, as well as individually with Wildenauer. The cost is $6,000 per participant. The first cohort consisted of 10 established business owners, with companies ranging from an organization dedicated to empowering young women to a family legacy documentary service to a Turkish imported olive oil and dry goods store.

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