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Cohort-based executive education for growth-oriented business owners

CEO Now is a group-learning opportunity for established, growth-minded business owners and founders with employees to build and strengthen systems to keep growing.

Participants will join a cohort of up to 20 peer business owners and founders for seven months of focused business instruction and peer learning. 

Launched as part of Hennepin County's Elevate HennepinTM initiative, CEO Now is a regional collaboration between Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. 

Read what Heidi Mueller, founder of Excelsior Candle Company, has to say about her experience with CEO Now here.

Technical know-how for sustainable growth

This action-oriented program will help owners and founders of growing businesses learn the strategic and technical foundations of running their businesses more efficiently through:

  • Development of a three-year strategic growth plan tailored to their business
  • Hands-on curriculum that combines business expertise and management know-how 
  • Professional peer group of other founders and owners
  • Access to experienced instructors and local business advisors
  • Preparing owners to access growth capital and outside investment

Owners will spend up to 100 hours working on their business. This includes 40 hours of in-class time exploring topics like business and strategic assessments, finances, finding key personnel, and marketing and sales processes. Participants will also dedicate 12 hours to working with peer groups, which meet throughout the program to supplement in-class learning with real-world experience. This peer group will define essential discussion and working topics and will become a trusted advisory board over time.


The program is available to eligible entrepreneurs thanks to ongoing investments in the business community from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.

To be eligible, business owners must:

  • Be incorporated or operating in Hennepin County 
  • Employ at least one person other than the owner 
  • Have two years of operating history  
  • Report between $250,000 and $2 million in revenue 
  • Have a demonstrated desire to grow the business 
  • Be receptive to coaching, mentorship and collaborating with peers
  • Prepare to commit up to 10 hours each month through the 7-month program 

About the facilitation team

CEO Now is facilitated by Interise. Interise is a nationally recognized nonprofit committed to delivering inclusive programs for established small businesses; and national partnerships that create impact at local, regional, and state-wide levels.

CEO Now builds on Interise’s award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’ education, which has been effective in helping businesses lay the groundwork for growth, economic development, and job creation.


The application period for the next CEO Now group has closed. 

 To express interest in this program, sign up here. Subscribe to the Hennepin County economic development newsletter below to get notified about future CEO Now and other opportunities from Elevate Hennepin. 

Related links and materials



Zack Avre