Rep. Tim Walz tours tech startup BrandHoot during visit to Rochester
Walz and BrandHoot founder Nate Nordstrom spoke for nearly an hour about the benefits of increasing entrepreneurial opportunities and expanding the city’s middle class economy through workforce development and STEM education.
“For a country to be prosperous, you’ve got to make things here,” said Walz, a Democrat representing Minnesota's 1st District.
During the discussion with Nordstrom, he stressed the idea that small businesses have the power to cause a positive and lasting influence on the local economy.
“Even at the time of the deepest part of the recession, southern Minnesota didn’t go nearly as deep as the rest of the nation, and I think it’s because we have a very diversified economy: from agriculture, to Mayo, to manufacturing, and our tech startups.”
Walz and Nordstrom discussed ways to stimulate entrepreneurship in young people, including the promotion of STEM education.
STEM is a curriculum based around the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Research has found that this type of education is vital to the growth of the U.S. economy and to keeping the country competitive on an international level.
“I applaud his efforts to hear directly from businesses about our needs, including workforce development and STEM education, in order to train and retain a highly skilled workforce," said Nordstrom.
Walz also briefly visited the offices of GoRout and the Med City Beat to acknowledge the businesses for their entrepreneurial work.
“This idea that we’re just going to naturally lose our youth and our best and brightest to larger areas . . . I think this [visit] puts that to rest.”
About Sydney Flottum: Sydney is a double major in graphic design and English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She enjoys being back in Rochester for the summer and spending time reading, drawing, and catching up with friends and family. Currently, she’s attempting to teach herself how to play the accordion but is overwhelmed by all the buttons.
(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)