Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Lori Magstadt [Navigated by Jane and Rob Davidson]

Youth and young adults in the southwest metro are struggling in many areas of life including housing, employment, transportation, finances, mental health, addictions and decision-making. Launch Ministry, which has provided mentoring, Bible studies and support groups, has expanded to pilot the only resource center in the southwest metro to connect homeless youth with services they desperately need. After seeing tremendous need in the two months of being open a few hours per week, Launch wishes to secure the dedicated space and staff in order to operate 5 days per week to better meet the needs of those who are struggling.

Eric Jenson: 3D Printed Arms

Brian —  March 4, 2015

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Eric Jenson [Navigated by Al Qureshi]

I’ve started a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a WREX device to every child who needs one. Our organization was inspired by Emma, who was born with a rare disease. Without a WREX, Emma was not able to lift her arms.  Tens of thousands of kids like Emma are born each year. Only 1-2 children per month are being fitted with 3D printed WREX devices out of A.I.DuPont Hospital for Children in DE. We will increase bandwidth by establishing care centers around the country, and we will work to develop an off-the-shelf version of WREX that will be covered by insurance.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Walid Issa [Navigated by Rick Larkin and Bill Aldridge]

Walid Issa and Ethan Roberts represent Shades Negotiation Program (Shades NP), an executive negotiation and leadership training program, developed and delivered by distinguish global negotiation experts and practitioners for mid-career men and women moving into positions of influence in the public and private sectors in Israel and Palestine. Shades NP aims to develop a network of Palestinians, Israelis and international diplomats (based in the region), who are able to address difficult conflicts more effectively, using the methodology jointly learned and the channels of communication among the network members.

Keiona Cook: Sewing Training

Brian —  March 4, 2015

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Keiona Cook [Navigated by Jodi Powell]

Life skills Learning Center is for underprivileged youth that come from low income families, have ADHD and other behavior problems. Our main method is to teach the skill of sewing. Sewing teaches patience and focus. The other components the learning center will offer are digital screen printing, embroidery, and Fashion CAD. The location will also host parties as a fun learning tool.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Elise Kendall (Team KinoSol) [Navigated by Craig Westgate and Rob Kirscht]

KinoSol is a detachable mobile solar dehydrator that dries food for consumption, sale, and to extend shelf life.  KinoSol is marketed towards rural areas where cars aren’t the primary means of transport. The system can be attached to non-car transit sources by a hitch, increasing market accessibility and connecting farmers in small communities. The dehydrator component detaches from the main frame and can be replaced by storage units. Allowing food to dehydrating at home, additional produce can be sold at the market. KinoSol has a freestanding kickstand so individuals can perform other tasks while their food dehydrates.

Matthew Glover: Somali Cooking

Brian —  March 4, 2015

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Matthew Glover [Navigated by Jason Puett and Dylan Decker]

We want to empower Somali women through Somali food. Single moms are the normal in Somali cultural. We want to ease the burden of these moms through employment and access. Our product is the labor intensive Sambusa, a meat pastry. We will hire Somali women to make these Sambusa in bulk and distribute them to western markets creating jobs and awareness for Somali cuisine. We will also distribute them to Somali markets and make them available to Somali moms who will no longer have to make them from scratch nightly.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Joy McBrien [Navigated by Kristin Day]

Empowering women as leaders can positively transform the world. My project – Fair Anita – unleashes the power of the female entrepreneur. We provide trendy products made by female entrepreneurs around the world. The sales of these products provide economic opportunity for over 1000 talented yet marginalized women in 10+ developing countries. Our message is women investing in other women, creating positive impact globally.


Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Eric Darling [Navigated by Jane Wilson]

Our idea is to inspire generosity by allowing people to buy specific items for MN nonprofits. Imagine being able to buy a space heater for a local women’s shelter this past winter (True Story.) Our platform – Donormite – is committed to inspiring teens and young adults in the Twin Cities to be generous. We allow anyone, especially younger people, to create fundraising projects to raise support for Minnesota nonprofits specific needs. We want to enhance our service to allow seasoned donors and organizations to easily match the fundraising projects of younger donors, further encouraging them to be generous.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Bryan Boyce [Navigated by Jim Cross]

We all were born in a given place and time among people with developmental disabilities, yet how many of us see and know these peers in our daily adult lives? Despite appreciable gains in the past half century, adults with developmental disabilities are a still too often segregated and thus marginalized group. My vision is to cultivate a corps of young leaders who will channel this population’s unique narrative capabilities through creative writing classes, events, and publications, allowing our developmentally disabled brothers and sisters and their stories to “disruptively” integrate with broader society and create cascading dialogue, understanding, and change.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Aaron Smith [Navigated by JA Schwartz]

Venture Miles would be a program that combines miles-based fundraising for missions with devotional journeys and spiritual disciplines – the result being measurable change in both participants and in oppressed, unreached and vulnerable people around the world.

Our vision is to engage 10,000 people in sacrificial, faith-forming experiences, logging over 1 million miles, and raising 8 million dollars to measurably impact 62,000 poor, oppressed and unreached people, all for the Glory of God.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Erik Swenson [Navigated by Traci Vitale]

Along with students at Bethany Global University (BGU) we will develop skills to work in, start and sustain Christian Montessori schools worldwide. Innové would support team members and other BGU entrepreneurs with a business and proven educational model that reaches children, their parents and communities. The Montessori model goes beyond religion, race and economic status drawing children and adults to hear the Gospel.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Bart Phillips [Navigated by Elliot Wachter]

For 11 years I had lead a grassroots tutoring and mentoring organization that provides a unique free afterschool program to inner city students in Chicago and, as of this fall, Minneapolis. Our unique curriculum focuses lessons, discussions, and projects around the values and awareness core to building and maintaining strong communities. I have purposefully built this organization independently from my professional career with the intent of finding other individuals with a passion for service and the connections a professional career brings to create a community unto ourselves.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


J.D. O’Brien [Navigated by Randy Larson]

We want to create a documentary called “Out In the Cold: A week of experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis.” Premise: A young man makes himself homeless for a week during the dead of winter in Minneapolis, in an effort to empathize with those who have to put up with that challenging reality.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Thompson Aderinkomi [Navigated by Phil Krafft]

Our idea is to create a new kind of clinic with very little overhead that caters to the smaller budgets and tighter schedules of low income and middle income American families. RetraceHealth provides medical care, in the comfort of our patients’ homes at a transparent price that low/middle income American families can afford despite their high deductibles.

Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Rachel Beaudry [Navigated by Tim Anderson and Jinny Jensen]

YOYO is a Thursday night volunteer program developed to empower the kids and teens of the Frogtown neighborhood through connecting them with Christ and developing a mentorship relationship with the YOYO leaders.



Meet our remaining 16 Innové semi-finalists who are feverishly polishing their business plans in order to soon pitch their idea to our judges.


Hayden Larson [Navigated by Ellen Quereshi]

Our idea is to use the simple idea of a Christmas ornament to both share the good news of the Christmas story and create jobs in places of poverty. We started in Haiti by employing Haitians to build beautiful Christmas ornaments, then sold them through a variety of outlets in the US, reinvesting the money back into Haiti to support many worthy causes like churches, schools, feeding programs and more job creation. Innové would take the concept to Guatemala and create jobs there.


We’ve gotten some very interesting and very strong feedback from our first round Innové applications.

Certainly, the $250,000 was a big draw, but we’ve heard time and time again that it was the mentoring and coaching that they felt was the most valuable resource they received from Innové. But even beyond $250,000 and coaching, we’ve found that there are even more benefits to applying to Innové, some of which might not be evident at first glance.

  1. The very act of applying helps hone your vision and mission. There is something important about having to put something down in writing. We’ve gotten feedback from applications who were thankful just for the application! The discipline of answering the application questions forced them to think more clearly about what they hoped to accomplish and how they planned to accomplish it. The initial application isn’t designed to be long and intensive, but we’ve found that even that process has been a benefit to young social entrepreneurs who are working to clarify their thinking around their ventures and ideas.
  2. Again, the coaching is invaluable. Did you know that social ventures have launched Innové without having received any money? Many found that the coaching and mentoring that is involved with the Innové process was exactly what they needed to both serve as a sounding board, or also to sometimes serve as some invaluable course corrections. None of us can do this alone. Several have found that having someone believe in them and push them in positive directions was EXACTLY what they needed.
  3. Networks are increased and community is formed. Social entrepreneurism can be a very lonely place. It’s invaluable to know that you aren’t alone and to have a placebo connect with like-minded peers, who understand you perfectly because they are on the same journey you are. Many first round applicants remarked that a benefit they weren’t expecting with Innové – but were thrilled to have received – is the new connections and friendships it formed. Not only did many connect meaningfully with their peers, but they also were introduced to brand new professional networks that were an integral part of their future success.
  4. Future funding often hinges on early success. How often have you heard from a potential investor, “Come and talk to us in a couple years once you can demonstrate some success.” That first dollar is the most difficult. With Innové being willing to take a chance on untested ideas that we can help nurture, it opens up the door for future investment.

The coaching and $250,000 are certainly exciting. What’s even better, however, is that there is a host of other benefits in applying to Innové. If you were considering applying, it’s time that you simply take that plunge. It’s worth it.

Colonial Church seeking young entrepreneurs is also the title of the news piece that ran in Edina’s Sun Current last week. The story focuses on our 2nd round of Innové, plus also mentions our November 3rd “Investing in Dreams” event where we celebrate both local entrepreneurs as well as entrepreneurs in developing nations around the world.

An excerpt:

Colonial Church’s grants for young social entrepreneurs worked so well that they’ve decided to do it again.

And this:

Last year’s Protégé Leah Driscoll, founder of the Twin Cities Mobile Market, will be joining a panel discussion during Colonial Church’s Investing in Dreams event. Investing in Dreams will focus on investing in meaningful ways by investing in social entrepreneurs and helping people in need. The event is 7:30-9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, at Colonial Church, 6200 Colonial Way, Edina.

You can read the full story by clicking here.

The Benefits of Innové

Brian —  October 5, 2014

Beyond the obvious possibility of $250,000 in prize money, there are other benefits to Innové. In fact, time and time again, the feedback we’ve received is that the below benefits are much MORE valuable than the money.

  1. Undergo a rigorous process and receive constructive feedback on a project or venture they have eagerly desired to pursue but for which funding and assistance has been unavailable. The actual process of applying for Innové forces you to hone your mission and strengthen your plan.
  2. Receive hands-on coaching from a team of mentors and coaches with a wealth of successful experience in a variety of marketplace and entrepreneurial ventures to improve and develop a venture idea for judging by a panel of experts.
  3. Gain experience and feedback on how to pitch and communicate your venture, not just for the sake of Innové, but for other future partners as well.
  4. As a semi-finalist, participate in a one-day workshop with marketplace and cultural leaders as well as other semi-finalists in order to build relationships, receive encouragement and further refine ideas, and then “pitch” their venture to a panel of judges.
  5. As a Protégé, have an opportunity to present their winning idea audience of prospective supporters and investors and the congregation of Colonial Church and participate in “incubation” with project mentors to receive further consulting, financial and business planning assistance, and funding awards.

Innové is not just simply about the money. Innové is about relationships, networks, skill building, mentoring, and so much more.

What Motivates Innové

Brian —  October 5, 2014

Colonial Church successfully helped launch five entrepreneurial mission initiatives through the first round of Innové in 2012-2014. At our 2014 Annual Meeting, the congregation voted to offer a second round. We intend to be faithful stewards of our resources for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Colonial Church has people, relationships, experience and facilities to assist and direct mission endeavors. We desire to unleash these resources for the sake of Christ’s work in the world.

Colonial Church desires to be a place where people are drawn to develop and use their particular gifts, talents and skills.

Historically, common mission works to generate enthusiasm, galvanize service, solicit deeper faith, necessitate prayer, build community and bear fruit for the kingdom of God. Colonial Church seeks to do that which will stretch us toward greater faith and dependence on Christ.

These are the things that motivate us. Below is the foundation which guides us.

Foundational Values

Colonial Church views itself as a “place to grow in Christ and serve the world.” In other words, the energy Christians gain from their relationship to Jesus within this faith community is ultimately intended for the sake of others. Applied to entrepreneurship, the purpose of work is to serve. We serve the world by creating and providing goods and services that enable people and the earth to flourish. Often these goods and services will take on redemptive qualities. Rather than simply adding to a community’s stockpile of available products of supplying another new amenity for amenity’s sake, Christian entrepreneurship seeks opportunities where service or products may be used to help, heal, restore, redeem or bring hope.

In both creative and redemptive work, Christian social entrepreneurship provides workers opportunities to express at least a portion of their God-given identity through meaningful and creative labor. We should strive to inject a sense of mission, purpose, meaning and joy into all we do.

The apostle Paul encourages that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people” (Colossians 3:22-24). When our tasks are done for a higher purpose, ultimately in service to God, they have their own integrity apart from anything else they might accomplish, for the labor itself brings honor to God. Moreover, if we perform our tasks “as working for the Lord,” we will want to pursue them with all of the skill, care, and quality we can bring. At the same time, when we engage our tasks as “working for the Lord,” there is a built-in safeguard against work ever becoming a source of idolatry for which we would sacrifice family, health or friendship.!

[Ideas adapted from James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. (Oxford University Press, 2010.), and Jeff Van Duzer, Why Business Matters to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed). (IVP Academic, 2010).]

More than 150 people are involved with Innové in some capacity, most of whom participate in a very focused area which allows them to best utilize their experience and talents. Typically this takes the form of Task Forces, which are listed below to help you understand a little more of what goes on behind the scenes of Innové.

Task Forces

Publicity: Tasked with promoting the competition through various networks directed to young adult communities for the sake of inviting proposals.

Prayer: A regular gathering of members to pray for the participants and for wisdom for the discernment of judges and navigators and congregation.

Screeners: Reads initial proposals and determines pool from which semi-finalists are selected by Navigators. First line of communication with applicants.

Navigators: “Listening mentors” who will select semi-finalists from a screened pool. Each Navigator will choose one applicant to mentor, coach and walk through the rest of the Innové process. Navigators will participate with semi-finalists at February 28 Immersion Day Workshop. Emphasis will be on a strong relationship between Navigator and the Semi-Finalist each chooses to work with.

Judges: Review semifinalist full proposals, listen to pitches and select Protégés. Participate in All-Church Reveal Day as responders to presentations on May 3.

Skills Coaches: A pool of approximately 50 people to serve as coaches for semi-finalists. Coaches will have expertise in areas related to entrepreneurship and business planning, project development, mission and business, and much more.

Immersion Day: Organize and carry out February 28 workshop for semifinalists.

Incubator: Plan and execute a one day incubation for Protégés with specialized seminars, networking and personalized coaching. Assist in relationship connections at Colonial and guide toward successful launch of project. May 16.

The Twin Cities Mobile Market has had quite a journey since becoming an Innové Protégé in 2013. From a discovery in Innové’s Incubation process that the non-profit designation they were counting on might not be the best fit, to ultimately deciding to operate as a program of the Wilder Foundation, the Twin Cities Mobile Market has necessarily remained flexible in their launch plans without drifting an inch from their mission to strengthen low-income communities by increasing access to healthy food.

In the words of Protégé Leah Driscoll:

Innove’ really enabled us to turn our idea into reality. Not only did we receive initial start-up funds, but we gained great connections with others that played a pivotal role in moving the Twin Cities Mobile Market forward.

Innové is much more than funding. It is connections, coaching, and so much more.

Look below at some pictures of the old city bus now turned into a market on wheels, the design, incidentally, having been done by an Innové Coach.

Twin Cities Mobile Market Twin Cities Mobile Market Twin Cities Mobile Market


When we began the Innové Project we knew that we needed to see actual results out in the community. That is, would we really be able to help young social entrepreneurs launch or scale their ideas to do good in the world? Here’s an answer to that, directly from a 2013 protégé:

When we met Innové, The Sheridan Story had hopes of what we wanted to become, where we wanted to go, and the way in which we wanted to impact our community. In the Twin Cities, over 100,000 kids live in food insecurity and face hunger on the weekends – our mission was to change that. Through the support, education, and funding The Sheridan Story received through Innové, we launched as a non-profit organization, began our expansion into multiple schools, and flourished.

The Sheridan Story has grown from operating in 1 school to 25 schools, from serving 300 kids a week to 1700 kids a week – in 1 year. And we’re still growing. This growth, not just organizationally, but in the impact we are now able to make in our community, would not have been possible without our partnership with Innové.
If I were to summarize in one sentence… Innové’s investment of their time, their talents, their people, and their funds have changed the story of child hunger in our community, and for that we are incredibly grateful.
Rob Williams
Executive Director of The Sheridan Story & 2013 Innové Protégé