ST. CLOUD – Movers and shakers in the St. Cloud business and technology communities had an audience with Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer Friday.

The round table discussion, held at Capital One in downtown St. Cloud, was sponsored by new startup accelerator program gBETA Greater Minnesota/St. Cloud. The idea, says gBETA Director Precious Drew, was to share ideas and brainstorm ways to cultivate a vibrant entrepreneurial environment in St. Cloud.

 “We’re here to talk about entrepreneurship and technology and community, and ways we can help foster it,” said Drew. “And, not only what we can do here at a local level, but what role government can play.”

Drew recently led a cohort of five early-stage start-up companies though the first seven-week gBETA accelerator program. The program ended in December with a “Pitch Night," giving participants the chance to market their ideas to would-be investors.

“We have some of the members of our first gBETA cohort here today to share about their startups, Drew said. “They’ll give the congressman an idea of some of the innovation taking place in the area.”

Right now, Drew says she’s in “full recruitment mode” in advance of St. Cloud’s inaugural gALPHA program, a four-week venture creation workshop beginning on March 10.

The next gBETA session begins in July. To learn more about gBETA Greater Minnesota St. Cloud, visit their website.