Three young, area companies and a longtime, family-owned corporation were honored Monday at the fourth annual RAVE event in Rochester.
RAVE, which stands for Recognizing Awarding Valuing Entrepreneurs, helped kick off the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week events. It’s orchestrated by Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. and the Journey to Growth initiative.
The event was at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Rochester.
“Every entrepreneur starts with a dream. The reality of transforming that dream to a thriving and growing business is very demanding work. We want to highlight our entrepreneurs and show them that we support and respect the work they do,” Xavier Frigola, director of entrepreneurial programs at RAEDI, said in the announcement of the event.
The RAVE event spotlighted three local companies:
• Sprouts Daycare in Stewartville, co-founded by Krystal and Patrick Campbell, opened its doors about two weeks ago in response to the area’s growing need for more childcare.
The 7,500-square-foot facility is located in Stewartville’s Schumann Business Park, next to the Schwickert’s Tecta America plant.
• Vyriad Inc., a Rochester biotechnology firm launched by Mayo Clinic Drs. Kah-Whye Peng and Stephen Russell, was also honored. Vyriad uses viruses, such as measles and others, to attack cancer tumors.
After raising $9 million, the young company is building a state-of-the-art headquarters to manufacture anti-cancer vaccines on Rochester’s former IBM campus.
Mayo Clinic, RAEDI, the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund LLC and a Korea-based venture firm committed financing for the project. In addition, a total of $370,000 in funding for equipment is committed by the state of Minnesota, and the City of Rochester.
• Trailtopia Adventure Food, a maker of pre-packaged, freeze-dried meals, was also spotlighted.
Vincent Robichaud founded Trailtopia in 2013. The start-up is now based in Byron.
• A lifetime achievement award was presented to Steve and Umbelina Cremer for their third-generation company, Harmony Enterprises Inc.
Based in the nearby, small community of Harmony, the manufacturer makes and services recycling and waste management equipment.
Harmony Enterprises was founded in 1962 and started by making ice fishing shelters and related systems for recreation vehicles. It has evolved several times over the years.