Start Up Course, Entrepreneur Meet Up coming

The Southern Valley Economic Development Association is still working to secure financing for a proposed hydroponics industry in Wahpeton. If achieved, it would be possible for hops to be grown without soil within the city.

It’s interesting, Justin Neppl said Thursday, Sept. 5. The more conversations one has, the more they’re aware of the activity happening in their backyards.

Neppl was speaking at a meeting of the Southern Valley Economic Development Authority (SVEDA) board. The board members were updated on activities and next steps with potential new businesses.

Entrepreneurs in the Red River Valley are invited to the Start Up Course and Entrepreneur Meet Up, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 11. The Start Up Course begins at 5 p.m. and the Entrepreneur Meet Up begins at 6:30 p.m. Both will be held at The Boiler Room, 404 Dakota Ave. in Wahpeton.

“We’re inviting any entrepreneurs in the community to come in and talk about ideas they have,” Neppl said. “The idea is to have and facilitate an organic conversation with entrepreneurs about possibilities in the area.”

The Start Up Course and Entrepreneur Meet Up are activities which support SVEDA’s objective of growing local jobs. Collaboration is a key component of this objective.

“We will work with local employers to identify opportunities for growth, help increase the number of jobs in Richland and Wilkin counties and foster a diverse and sustainable economy,” SVEDA stated.

In March, Daily News reported about efforts to bring the hydroponics industry to Wahpeton. Round Table Hops, based out of Forest Lake, Minnesota, showed in interest in up to 10 acres in a 32-acre city-owned parcel north of the 210 Bypass.

“The company would place a greenhouse, drying area and small office on its land,” Daily News reported. “Hops, used for making beer, would be grown hydroponically, or without soil.”

SVEDA is still working to secure financing for the hydroponics project, Neppl said.

“The offer will always be open that they can come here,” he continued. “They have a deal in place — a verbal deal — with Wahpeton. Until they can secure the financing and get it done, we’re going to be handcuffed on that one.”

Launched in January 2018, SVEDA includes directors from the cities of Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, as well as Richland County, North Dakota, and Wilkin County, Minnesota. It is headquartered in the Wahpeton Breckenridge Area Chamber of Commerce building, 1505 11th St. N. in Wahpeton.

SVEDA’s next board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 at Fryn’ Pan in Wahpeton.

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