Winneshiek Idea House

Winneshiek Idea House Logo

Event Info & Schedule

Location: Decorah Elks Lodge, 105 River St Decorah, IA 52101
Date: Saturday, March 24, 2018

5:00 pm: Happy Hour
5:30 pm: Idea Fair & Share
6:30 pm: Munch & Mingle
7:00 pm: Showtime… Trout Tank!

What to Expect

This event is intended to be a meeting of the minds and a space for local entrepreneurs to share their needs with a supportive community. We hope you’ll meet people you ought to know and reconnect with folks you may not have talked to in a while.

The first part of the evening is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and “investors” to network, share ideas, and receive/provide feedback using an adaptation of the World Café method. Sponsors will also be on hand to share resources for local entrepreneurs.

During the Trout Tank, five entrepreneurs will present their ideas and needs to the community. After each five-minute presentation, attendees (you!) will be able to ask clarifying questions. Then we share out loud how we’re willing to support each entrepreneur. Community members may “invest” loans or gifts of money, use of space/facility, expertise, neighborliness, and more to support their favorite local enterprises. Think of it as crowdfunding in real time!

At this event, everyone is an “investor.” We are investing in the resilience and sustainability of our local economy and community. And we’re showing entrepreneurs they’re not alone.

Throughout the event, you may contribute to a “Needs and Offers Wall” by sharing what you have to offer (e.g. pro bono legal advice, babysitting, or free advertising) and what you need (e.g. marketing consulting, office space, or stress relief). We hope many great connections and opportunities for barter will happen this way.

To get an idea of what this might look like, watch this video from Totnes, UK, the home of the first local entrepreneur forum:


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The Entreprenuers

Cody Whittle

Trent Orth

Hannah Breckbill

Joey Clarine





These five entrepreneurs will present their ideas and share what they need from the community to take their businesses to the next level. Come prepared to support these exciting local ventures!

Caite Palmer


Local pride and a desire to design and create quality products lie at the center of Cody's idea to create a Patagonia-inspired line of apparel and accompanying website.

With a passion for producing craft beverages such as mead, vodka, and bourbon, Trent Orth dreams of opening Valhalla Spirits in Decorah. Keeping with the Norwegian Culture rich in Decorah, Trent says “I plan to create spirits popular in the homelands such as Aquavit as well as Rum, Vodka, and my favorite, Bourbon!”

Hannah Breckbill and Emily Fagan own and operate Humble Hands Harvest, an organic market vegetable farm north of Decorah. They seek to pioneer a new way of connection to land by incorporating livestock, perennial agriculture, and community-to-farm connections this year and need your help!

Caite and Jim Palmer own and operate Prairie’s Edge Farm, a beef farm that has been in the family for several generations. Their business is at an exciting time of expansion as they work to reach new markets and prepare for a new member of the family business: a new baby!

Joey’s passion for crafting a memorable drink with the freshest ingredients sprouted a vision of creating Shaking Tails, a cocktail lounge and piano bar that will source fresh, local products for an inventive cocktail menu, feature local artists, and offer small plates of farm to table fare.

Full Entrepreneurs Bios


RSVP and purchase your ticket online:

Can you find yourself below? You’re just who we need at Idea House!

  • You’re curious about this first-time event in our community and just want to see what it is!
  • You are an entrepreneur who would like some informal feedback about your idea from local people who want to see you succeed.
  • You might be interested in ‘investing’–whether it’s time, expertise, or money–in one or more of our 5 featured entrepreneurs during the Trout Tank.
  • You’re excited that someone you know is one of the featured entrepreneurs for the Trout Tank (a 5-minute pitch after which you can pledge support of any kind, practical or financial).
  • You’d like to learn about some of the local people and organizations who are here to support local businesses.

When you register, you’ll have a chance to indicate if you have a business idea that you’d like to tell about in a very small and informal group conversation. Not thinking of hatching new business? Great. The aspiring entrepreneurs need you there to listen to their ideas and give feedback.

Contact Us

If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact Tabita Green (563-387-7663), Liz Rog (563-382-8013), or Kristin Eggen (608-306-1246).

Collaborators & Sponsors

Winneshiek County Development, Inc. logoAmerica's SBDC Iowa logo

Open Decorah logoAnundsen LogoDecorah Bank & Trust Logo