Distinction Awards

2nd Annual Entrepreneur Fund

Celebrating Regional Business Excellence




Paulucci Hall - Duluth, MN
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Behind-the-Business Sessions

Navigate through an engaging and interactive segment where our honorees share their entrepreneurial journey - the highs, the lows, and the lessons learned. Each story offers an intimate glimpse into the drive and dedication that goes into building a successful enterprise. 2024 honorees will be announced later this summer.

Regional Flavors Showcase

Delight in a curated selection of regional food and beverages crafted with passion by local entrepreneurs who are dedicated not only to building businesses, but also shaping a vibrant regional culture through their culinary creations.


Connect with our distinguished award winners and other visionary business leaders throughout the evening. Engage in enlightening conversations and forge meaningful connections with the best and brightest in the industry from our region.

Award Ceremony & Celebration

Come together to recognize the achievements of these exceptional entrepreneurs. Join us in celebrating their contributions to our regional economy, and toast to a brighter and more prosperous future. Conclude the evening with live music and continued conversation.

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What a fun evening! The moment we stepped into the hall we knew it wasn't going to be a typical "sit at a table, eat chicken, visit with the stranger next to you" type of night. Being in a room full of other risk takers was refreshing, motivating and totally inspirational. The award winners were awesome and a reminder that we're all just regular people doing the hard work. We loved it and look forward to whatever the EFund plans for next year!

Lyndsey Johnson

The Atrium - Solon Springs, WI

The Distinction Awards was a meaningful event that honored those who collaborated with and were supported by EFund in making their visions come true. This night was a great opportunity to not only celebrate those who were awarded with honors, but more importantly gave the opportunity to learn from these successful entrepreneurs and to network with all in attendance. It was a meaningful night and worth attending!

Andrea Altmann

Aluminum Cabinet Co. - Hermantown, MN

The Entrepreneur Fund’s inaugural Distinction Awards was an opportunity to showcase the best and brightest small business owners in our region. The courage, dedication, and passion these leaders have for their businesses, families, workers, and communities was on full display. Their stories left our attendees feeling inspired and optimistic about the future of entrepreneurism in the Northland.

Arik Forsman

Entrepreneur Fund Board of Directors Vice Chair

It was so inspiring to see and hear the stories of our entrepreneurs’ journey. One of our honorees shared stories of people who have grown with him over twenty years, to not only become leaders in business, but leaders in the community.

Dustin Goslin

Entrepreneur Fund Board Member

The Distinction Awards are a purposeful mix of education, socialization, and celebration. There is no better showcase of the thriving businesses in the region and event where the collective energy ignites a fresh passion for business growth in our area.

Brady Erickson

Titanium Partners - Duluth, MN

Past Distinction Awards

A food vendor serves food onto an attendee's plate.
Attendees sample food and beverages from a wide variety of vendors.
Two business owners and Distinction Award honorees pose with for a photo with Entrepreneur Fund CEO Shawn Wellnitz after accepting their award from him.
A moderator and a business owner have a conversation while a small group of event attendees listen and ask questions.
Eleven Distinction Award honorees pose for a photo before accepting their awards.
An overview of the 2023 Distinction Awards at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
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