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CEO Next

Advanced research and CEO resources for established businesses

CEO Next Business Institute is a regional county partnership program that provides practical tools and techniques for CEO's, and is designed specifically for growing regional second stage businesses. The program offers three lines of service:

  • System for Integrated Growth: 40–60 hours per participating CEO of intensive, advanced research
  • CEO round table sessions: eight half-day sessions for the CEOs of selected core companies
  • CEO forum events: eight sessions for participating CEOs and other second stage companies


The application period for Hennepin County businesses is closed for 2020-2021 year. However, we would be happy to discuss the program and how it can support your business’ growth any time.

Mary Matze

Who can participate

Participants can include private businesses in Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, and Scott counties.

  • Privately held businesses
  • 10–99 employees
  • Revenue between $1M and $50M
  • Ready to transition from small to large — past start-up stage but not yet mature
  • Appetite and aptitude for growth

No-cost participation

Scholarships from the regional county partnership cover the full cost of your participation in the program.

Community impact

Since 2012, the program has worked with nearly 100 businesses, and created or retained over 2,000 jobs in Hennepin County. 

Related links and materials



"Here's an analogy of my experience, when kids play baseball on the street or in the backyard it increases efficiency to have a backstop to catch the balls the catcher or batter misses. That's what this program is. It’s a backstop to catch the things that leaders need to pay attention to so we can get back to play sooner. Research provided through the program helped us to understand the magic language of the supply, distribution, sales and marketing chains. We didn't have this before the program."
-- Jeff Sommers, CEO and Co-Owner, Izzy’s Ice Cream

“There’s nothing else like System for Integrated Growth out there. You might have advisers who can tell you about different market opportunities, but to have a team of people that are dedicated and laser-focused on helping you with whatever goal or objective you put in front of them is invaluable.”
-- Andy Kim, Vice President, EVS Engineering, Surveying, Energy Inc.

Read a case study on EVS (PDF).

“The SIG program was completely different than other types of assistance our company has had — and it was a real turning point for me as a business owner,” Gage said. “The SIG team was able to identify not only solutions, but what the real problem was. They opened my eyes to why I’ve felt so overwhelmed the past two years.”
-- Greg Gage, Co-Founder Backyard Brains

Read a case study on Backyard Brains (PDF).


Mary Matze