Finnovation Lab Announces Sixth Cohort
Nine individuals have been chosen to participate in the 2023 iteration of Finnovation Lab Provided photos

Finnovation Lab Announces Sixth Cohort

Nine local entrepreneurs have been selected for the Finnovation Fellowship Program, which runs from September to June.

The Finnovation Lab this week unveiled the list of nine local entrepreneurs participating in the sixth edition of its fellowship program.

The Finnovation Fellowship Program aims to support and empower entrepreneurs by providing educational resources and mentorship. The program, which runs from September to June, encourages fellows to address cultural, social, and environmental issues, according to a news release issued Monday.

Each fellow receives a $50,000 living stipend, a $3,000 health care stipend, access to advisers and mentors, and a dedicated workspace in the Finnovation Lab in downtown Minneapolis. The program is housed inside of Finnegans Brewery, and it’s operated by the Finnovation Institute, a nonprofit funded by a grant from the Bush Foundation.

The cohort was selected by a committee of program alumni and community leaders, 55% of whom identify as women, and 77% identify as BIPOC.

“We have a long history of supporting unique approaches to economic disparity, racial equity, and planetary health. We hope to give the new Finnovation Fellows a launching pad for growing their businesses that they won’t find anywhere else,” said Connie Rutledge, executive director of the Finnovation Institute. 

The new fellows and their missions are:

Marcus Carpenter: Founder of Route1, a hub for supporting Minnesota BIPOC farmers in their quest to alleviate food insecurity.

Brittany Clausen: Founder of Envision Greatness, a podcast about working towards achieving racial justice, and devising new strategies for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

James Everest: Using spatial sound installations to craft immersive healing environments for those with neurological disorders. The effort is called Sound Garden Arts.

Anisa Hagi-Mohamed: Founder of Anisa Hagi, LLC, a platform promoting mental well-being through products that incorporate positive affirmations of Somali culture, identity, and history.

Erik Halaas: Working to establish what’s billed as Minnesota’s first “natural organic reduction facility” through an organization called Live On Minnesota.

Karina Kelton: Working with Raices Latinas on user-friendly mobile apps designed to connect the Spanish-speaking, Latino community to resources.

May Lee-Yang:  A writer, performer, and educator who’s working to amplify the Asian-American experience through board games.

Haggai Simon: Developer of an app called Diddit that uses behavioral science to help college students with ADHD stay on top of their homework and on track to graduate.

Elizabeth Zalanga: Working to increase access, readership, and enduring financial sustainability of local news organizations through the Creeble Midwest Local News Initiative.