I love that Minnesota Business magazine has dedicated an entire issue to women leaders. We’re an incredibly fortunate business community because we have numerous women to feature and likely not enough space in one issue to capture all of these talented people (a good problem to have). One great woman that I’d like to introduce you to is Lauren Mehler Pradhan, the new director for Grow North.
Grow North is making Minnesota a key leader and destination for food and agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship by connecting and advancing this entrepreneur ecosystem. A program of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship (HCE) at the Carlson School, Grow North is working closely with other HCE programs like MN Cup, WE* and Min-Corps to advance its goals.
Lauren moved to Minneapolis twelve years ago to work at General Mills, where she excelled in marketing and brand management. She has numerous stories about the significant impact big companies can have on food systems when they make even small changes. In her most recent role, she led the effort to remove artificial flavors and colors from all of General Mills’ cereals.
After Lauren joined Grow North, she was inspired by the changes around her, particularly the growing number of small companies and entrepreneurs driving the food system. She wanted to find ways to support and impact that community in hopes of accelerating change.
She believes that the right connections, at the right time for the right entrepreneur can ignite success, and Grow North will work tirelessly to make that happen. Grow North’s ultimate goal is to serve entrepreneurs and help them grow, scale and sustain their businesses, create jobs and help put Minnesota on the map as a leading home and destination for food, drink and agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship. We’re lucky to have her on our team and know she will do great things. Welcome, Lauren!
Melissa Kjolsing is the director of the Minnesota Cup, an annual entrepreneur competition at the University of Minnesota.