031: Greg Tehven, Creating Community in Fargo, N.D.

Greg Tehven is a co-founder of Emerging Prairie, an organization in Fargo, North Dakota created to celebrate and connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s had quite an impact. In August 2016, Fargo was named the 7th best U.S. city for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur Magazine, and Emerging Prairie was cited as a factor.

A fifth generation North Dakotan, Greg’s great-great grandfather was an early settler from Sweden. Greg grew up with the security of a large, close-knit family and neighbors who cared for each other, but longed to experience life in a larger city. He attended college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and then traveled the world, before coming home to rediscover the magic of Fargo.

Listen to the podcast to hear Greg discuss:

  • False humility – the ‘disease’ of his community
  • Emerging Prairie’s evolution from blog producer to event creator
  • The popular, graffiti-decorated co-working space shown below
  •  4 Principles of Emerging Prairie
    • Educate our city
    • Infuse the arts
    • Build on our bright spots
    • Be radically inclusive
  • Supporting creative products and services through financial means, not just exposure
  • Working with “The Misfits”
  • The impact of 1 Million Cups on the Fargo community
  • Other community-building projects that inspire Greg:
  • Removing barriers for entrepreneurs through Startup House
  • Taking the first steps to make a difference in your community
  • The importance of “celebrating the strange”
  • Why drones have become such a large part of the N.D. economy
  • Attending the State of the Union and getting marriage advice from politicians
  • Midnight Brunch – an amazing Thursday night event in Fargo
  • Stacking events back-to-back to create a more immersive experience for attendees
  • The greatest challenges to our world
    • Listening deficit – not enough people can share who they really are
    • Productivity culture – we worry so much about growth that we don’t rest enough

Quotes from Greg

“My inheritance isn’t wealth or resources or an art collection, it’s this incredible tribe of people that have cared about each other for generations.”

“Entrepreneurs drive the economy but artists drive culture.”

“We don’t think about advertising, we think about creating a world class experience for the people in the room.  We’re trying to delight our guests. We are trying to add so much value.  We are trying to love them so much that they can’t help but want to come back, they can’t help but to tell their friends.”

“Let’s create a community we all want to live in.  Let’s create the community we want to be part of.”

“I want to live in a city where anyone, of any background can participate.”

Contact Greg

Twitter @GregfromFargo


Greg’s Bio

Greg Tehven has spent much of his life believing he can “Create the Community You Want To Live In.” While in college, he co-founded Students Today Leaders Forever and the Pay It Forward Tour. Since 2003, it has sent out over 25,000 students who have served over 357,000 hours of service. When he returned to Fargo in 2011, he spent a year as a fellow for the Kilbourne Group under the leadership of Doug Burgum. He co-founded Emerging Prairie, an organization dedicated to connecting and celebrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Midwest.

He has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Concordia College on Social Entrepreneurship in Bangalore, India, and at the University of Minnesota in their Leadership Minor program. Greg’s current activities include co-organizing 1 Million Cups Fargo, Startup Weekend Fargo and curating TEDxFargo. He has been published on Forbes.com, Fortune, Entrepreneur Magazine, TED.com, and various other publications and given keynotes across the country. Greg is originally from West Fargo, N.D. and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He completed an Executive Education course on Social Entrepreneurship from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.