2024 Distinction Awards: A Night to Celebrate & Elevate Your Business

Samantha Erkkila, Digital Media Specialist

June 25, 2024

“After years of watching these wonderful people pour hard work and dedication into their businesses it was invigorating to see them honored for their efforts,” said Rachel Graf, 2023 Distinction Award attendee and Cohasset, MN, business owner.

It’s rare for a small business owner to stop and reflect on all they’ve achieved to get to a certain point. It’s even rarer for them to be celebrated and recognized on a regional scale for their successes and impact on their communities. That’s why we created the Distinction Awards.

Last year, we celebrated 10 incredible small businesses at our inaugural event in Duluth. This year, we're celebrating more inspiring businesses Wednesday, October 16th at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center’s Paulucci Hall.

This unique event is designed to inspire, educate, connect, and, of course, celebrate the entrepreneurs who are a driving force behind our region's economic growth and success.

If that sounds like a room you want to be in, reserve your spot at efund.org/awards.

If you need a bit more convincing, here are some takeaways and highlights from last year’s attendees.

2023 Entrepreneur Fund Distinction Award honoree Steve Potter, CEO of Arctic Compressor in Superior, WI, speaks to a packed room during a Behind-the-Business session.

Learn Directly from the Honorees

Get a front-row seat during our Behind-the-Business sessions to the experiences of our event honorees, some of the region's most accomplished business owners. Hear their unique paths to success, from overcoming challenges to achieving remarkable growth. Learn some best practices and strategies you can directly apply to your own business.

Honorees will be announced later this summer. Stay tuned!

“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," said Dustin Goslin, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures & Entrepreneur Fund Board Member.

2023 Distinction Award attendees connect in between Behind-the-Business sessions.

Network with Industry Leaders

Connect with a dynamic network of growth-minded entrepreneurs, potential partners, and business leaders throughout the evening. The Distinction Awards provides a vibrant platform to build meaningful relationships that can foster collaboration and accelerate your business growth.

“This night was a great opportunity to not only celebrate those who were awarded 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," said Andrea Altmann, Aluminum Cabinet Co. in Hermantown, MN.

The 2023 Distinction Awards featured over 20 regional food and beverage vendors.

Sample Delectable Regional Flavors

A sit-down dinner, this is not. Following the Behind-the-Business sessions, wander through the Regional Flavors Showcase and indulge in a curated selection of regional food and beverages. This is a unique opportunity to experience the culinary diversity and talent that thrives in our region.

“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," said Lyndsey Johnson, The Atrium in Solon Springs, WI.

In a touching moment at the 2023 Distinction Awards, honoree Mike Hudyma, CEO of SCS Interiors in Duluth, MN, recognized his father for his legacy and contributions to the company.

Celebrate Regional Business Excellence

To conclude the evening, gather and be inspired by the achievements of fellow local business owners during the awards ceremony. Witness the positive impact locally owned businesses have on our communities and our regional economy. Toast to the honorees and gain a renewed sense of purpose and motivation.

“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

See You October 16 in Duluth!

The knowledge, connections, and inspiration you’ll gain from attending the 2024 Distinction Awards are invaluable assets for any business owner. Don't miss this opportunity to elevate your business and connect with the region's best!

Secure your spot in the room today at efund.org/awards.

No items found.