Top Apps for Entrepreneurs

By Simon Scholten

In today’s world, technology is quickly evolving, and entrepreneurs and small business owners alike need to keep up with this change in order to stay ahead. Web- and phone-based apps provide the opportunity to streamline processes, manage different priorities, and ultimately save time and money. Here is a list of apps recommended by Northfield Enterprise Center for 2016:

  1. Evernote

Evernote allows the user to create separate digital notebooks where they can store information and media related to their company. This lets you to bypass the traditional paper-based file keeping and instead store business-related documents electronically. This saves space and creates an easily accessible record-keeping system.

  1. Free Wifi Finder

Throughout the day, internet access has become a necessity in order to stay in contact with others, research competition, or manage the daily operations of a small business. Free Wi-fi Finder brings up wi-fi hotspots near you where you can work on the go. This can help save time and prevent you from using up an entire month’s worth of data in one afternoon!

  1. Venmo

This app allows users to send cash, receive payments, and split bills electronically. Through Venmo, the user can engage in transactions entirely digitally without having to bring cash with them at all times, or even run to the bank at all.

  1. HumIn

Networking is crucial in any business, but especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners. HumIn records information regarding who you met with, the time, the location, and stores it in an easily accessible format.

  1. Mint

Budgeting is a reality for both businesses and individuals. Mint offers an easy-to-use interface to track expenses, revenue, and savings plans from your phone or tablet. This can help save time and space when dealing with finances.

  1. TrackMaven

Monitoring the competition can take up a large share of time when shifting between different information sources. Through TrackMaven, entrepreneurs and small-business owners can specify what types of market information they would like to know in order to simplify the information-gathering process.

  1. Letterspace

After a productive meeting, it’s always a good idea to take notes. However, this seems to be something that people constantly forget about. Letterspace provides a free organizational app to manage, arrange, and rearrange notes, making it an easy-to-edit tool for entrepreneurs.

  1. Flippa

This app provides a marketplace for web businesses, domain names, and smartphone apps. Flippa provides an easily accessible auction listing for those interested in buying or selling online goods.

  1. Pocket

This app works as a bookmarker for websites, articles, and online material. Pocket allows the user to save and store content for reading later, and once content is saved entrepreneurs can access it when offline as well.

  1. Google Drive

Google Drive has quickly become a must-have for entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to manage multiple documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. This app allows users to access the same document from multiple devices, and sharing with others is as easy as clicking a button. Additionally, changes can be made offline and the document will be updated once you are connected to the internet again.

Resources at the City of Northfield

Check out the loan and micro-grant resources offered by the City of Northfield’s Economic Development Authority!

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Our 2013 Annual Report

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NEC Annual Report 2013

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Coworking as Business Accelerator In Northfield?

Ten years or so ago, the Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) formed the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC) to assist small businesses in Northfield. One of the original goals was to create an incubator space. I don’t know what the folks that formed the NEC thought an incubator might look like- but since the times, economy, and demographics of Northfield have changed a bit since then, the Board of the NEC and I are taking another look at the idea.

One of the ideas that is being looked at is something called a Coworking space. They are spaces for innovative thinkers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, mentors, and sometimes non-profits to gather together around the concept that together they can build more successful companies and organizations. They are designed to be the best of many things- cool workspace, coffeehouse, social club, and high-tech conference centers.

Check out this great diagram on the website of The Hub Los Angeles. It is a visual of their idea of their coworking space. See more about on their website at

There are several business models for Coworking locations…and at this point I believe the NEC is in “listening” mode. What do you think of this idea? Would you rent space to work a few times a week? How about a conference room that has all the latest high-tech bells and whistles yet looks out over the beautiful, historic downtown? What if you could grab a cup of your favorite coffee and head to a space where you meet really fun, cool, innovative people doing amazing things together? Could a space like this keep recently graduated college students from leaving town?

At this point, we have many more questions than answers. But we’d love to hear from you. We’re planning a meeting in January- in the Coworking world these kind of meetings are called “Jellies”. The NEC has hired an intern from St. Olaf for Interim to help with this process and we are very excited to hear your ideas.

So- are you up for attending a Jelly in January to talk about your perspective? Email me if you are interested in more information or if you want to receive an email notification of the meeting. Also, Like us on Facebook to keep up to date on meetings and events at the NEC.

Megan Tsui Named New Executive Director

Megan Tsui has been named the new Executive Director for the Northfield Enterprise Center. Megan grew up in Northfield and is a graduate of St. Olaf College. She has worked with small businesses for over twelve years. “I’m excited to work with businesses in Northfield. I look forward to getting to know the business owners and helping them in whatever phase their business is currently in.” Megan’s parents are Pat and David Allen. She lives in Red Wing with her husband Kent. They are renovating a 1875 Victorian home.

Dr. Scott Taylor Featured on Kare 11 at 4

Dr Scott Taylor was interviewed by Pat Evans on Wednesday’s 4:00 news. The topic was tips for small business owners.  Here’s the link:

Entrepreneur & Small Business Classes

Learn About Being an Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

Ever thought of starting your own business, but not sure what it takes or how to go about it? The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the Northfield Enterprise Center, WINGS and the Northfield Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to provide a series of classes for would be entrepreneurs and business owners. Hear first hand from local business owners and business coaches. Sessions are Feb 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd from 7-8:30pm at 105 E 4th St Suite 300. See the attached flyer for more details or go to and click on events.

Click here to view informational brochure – How to be an entrepreneur series Northfield

Northfield EDA Revolving Loans available to flooded businesses.

The Northfield EDA has made financial assistance available to businesses directly affected by the recent flood. For more information

Business Planning Workbook now available online on updated webpage

Using the Business Planning Workbook will help you gather the information you need to write your business plan. You can download the whole workbook at once or you can click the links below to learn more and work through it by sections. For more information and to access the workbook, click here.