The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Southern Minnesota. Local volunteers in the area who recognize the power of storytelling are working to amplify the voices of minority and immigrant entrepreneurs.  Through this forum, they hope to bring the Albert Lea, Faribault, Mankato and Owatonna community together through stories that promote and inspire mentorship.

The effort called “Entrepreneurship for All” is presented by SCORE South Central Minnesota Chapter #0710 and is a social event for entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and those who enjoy hearing their stories. SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors and is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and to grow their existing businesses. Since 1964, SCORE has provided free business mentoring and education to more than 11 million entrepreneurs.

The initiative will kick off with a live event on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 starting at 5:30 at the Oak View Weddings & Events Center. Attendees will enjoy networking over dinner and have an opportunity to hear from a diverse panel of presenters who will highlight their respective journeys as immigrants pursuing their business ideas. Presenters include Bhante Sathi, a native of Sri Lanka who started Triple Gem of the North in Mankato and the Metta Meditation Center at Lake Elysian; Anna Lee is a China native who is an active real estate investor who repositions and operates residential, office and retail properties in Southern Minnesota through her company, Lee Holdings; and Gauher “Mo” Mohammad who is from Pakistan and founded Avimoe Workforce Consultants, a virtual HR outsourcing company with a focus on recruiting and retention strategies.

Entrepreneurship for All Event

The effort is spearheaded by Wendell Engelstad, former Dodge County Assessor, who has run several of his own businesses in real estate, appraisals, property management, and tax preparation over his career. As a SCORE mentor for the past 6½ years, he has worked with numerous immigrant and minority clients. Engelstad was inspired by his mentoring experiences to bring a diverse group of people together to learn from each other.

“Everyone has a story to tell. I have learned just as much from my clients as they have learned from me,” Engelstad says. “I hope attendees are inspired from these stories and see that, with the right passion and guidance, there is an opportunity for everyone to pursue something greater than themselves. It could be a side gig or some larger entrepreneurial goal.” 

The other goal of this event is to attract a diverse group of business-minded individuals who are willing to share their expertise as volunteer mentors.  “Our SCORE chapter has been successful in providing business mentoring for minorities, but we know to keep that going, we need to focus on involving a more diverse group of people in the mentoring relationship,” Engelstad adds. 

This event is open to everyone, but it requires pre-registration. Sponsorships still available – See Link.

See more details at


Entrepreneurship for All Event

Oak View Weddings & Events Center 

7921 County Road 45 S, Owatonna, MN 55060

Wednesday, June 16, 5:30 – 8:30 pm 

Fee: $5.00 per person. Pre-registration is required

Registration Link:

Ticket includes a BBQ Buffet with pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches, Southern baked beans, country style potato salad, creamy coleslaw, fresh-baked cookies, and beverages (coffee, lemonade, or water). Drawings will be held for door prizes.


About the Author(s)

Christie Denson Communications

Amplifying Diverse Voices: Entrepreneurship for All