It’s in our region’s DNA to work hard, be pioneers and help our neighbors. From homesteading to barn-raising, our history is about clearing new ground and working together.

We’ve proven that we’re a great place to live and raise a family. We’ve won awards for economic development. We’ve appeared on many “Best” lists. Now we must prove to ourselves, and then the world, that we have the economic vision and muscle to expand our economy in ways that result in higher wages, more sustainable economic growth and more people reaching their potential.

We need a variety of partners willing to strike out with us, to share our vision, to clear new ground and raise an occasional “barn” – whether it’s venture capital for start-ups or the number of internships offered to college students – to take our talent, our region and our economy to the next level, to secure greater prosperity for all. The Northern Minnesota Chamber has chosen the following initiatives that we care deeply about. We believe every business can get behind and integrate these initiatives into their workplaces to work together to elevate our economy, all of us doing our part.

Mental Health

Mental health improves workplace performance and overall happiness and well-being. We have partnered with Smiles for Jake, which is a suicide prevention movement that spreads positivity through life-affirming actions, listening ears, and the message that everyone should have hope. Born in and spreading from a Northern Minnesota community that experienced the suicide of a beloved son, our short-term goal is to reduce the suicide rate and our long-term vision is to stomp out suicide worldwide. We hope to build a coalition of area behavioral health centers, philanthropies, institutions and individual providers – to break down the stigma of mental health and raise awareness regarding trauma.

Health & Wellness

Health & wellness programs are a win-win for both employers and employees. Employees who participate in workplace wellness programs tend to be fitter, more productive and have better morale than employees who do not otherwise treat their chronic conditions. Employers who offer wellness initiatives have achieved excellent returns on their investment – programs that follow best practice guidelines return $2 to $3 for each dollar invested. These savings can be used to pay employees higher wages, invest in further adapting benefits to specific employee population needs, and create more jobs.

Women in Business

This initiative was developed to create a network of female leaders equipped with the skills, insight, and passion needed to work collaboratively and to positively enhance the business community of Northern Minnesota. The purpose is to elevate women’s careers to the highest levels in the workforce and community through training, mentoring and relationship-building. This program will provide useful tools to help women meet their career and life goals and will focus on community engagement.


The Northern Minnesota Chamber believes technology and innovation power the region’s ambitions. Public and private leaders have been working together toward the goal of building a smarter, stronger and more technically proficient region. Technology has the potential to drive the region to a future when the state’s economy is marked by innovation, diversity and technological advancement. Technology-based industries and businesses create tremendous growth and opportunity in the Minnesota economy and are essential to competing in an interconnected world. Outdated laws and regulations impede Minnesota’s technological innovation and deployment.

Startup Culture

Innovation is everywhere in Minnesota. Whether you’re in Detroit Lakes or Thief River Falls, Bemidji or Duluth, creative entrepreneurs are growing our economy every day. Launch Minnesota is here to help you get your technology startup off the ground. Learn more about the grants, tax credits, and programs available to startups through Minnesota programs. The Northern Minnesota Chamber seeks to elevate startup networks across the region, bringing community leaders together to maximize efforts. Together we can build a startup ecosystem that helps everyone grow.

Faith at Work

Programs designed for senior business executives help those who want to excel their business by applying tested principles, and who desire to become part of a community of like-minded leaders. Seasoned executives, as well as entry-level young professionals, are joining this movement. Living intentionally is now more important than ever and investing in the next generation is the pursuit. Identify and leverage your strengths in reaching your true potential. Take your ability to lead people and projects to the next level and elevate your leadership in all of your projects and teams.