Minnesota small business wins "Hey, We're Building a Brand" contest


It’s one of those things people don’t really talk about... until now.

Elyse Ash and her husband were struggling with infertility and the stress of feeling isolated. As their anxiety rose, they discovered they weren’t alone, that 1 in 8 couples have trouble trying to conceive.

So, why wasn’t anybody talking to each other about it?

Elyse and her husband, Brad, launched “Fruitful Fertility,” (link: fruitfulfertility.org) a mentorship service where those beginning their journey can be matched with a fertility mentor, someone who’s been there before.

Related: Watch the full episode of "Hey, We're Building a Brand"

This morning, on “Hey, It’s Cory Hepola” on WCCO Radio, Ash’s business received a huge boost, scoring a $35-thousand dollar prize package through the debut series “Hey, We’re Building A Brand.” Ash and “Fruitful Fertility” impressed the business experts - Brandon Sawalich, CEO of Starkey Hearing and Kristi Piehl, CEO of Media Minefield - to beat out three other finalists to win this small business award.

The concept for the small business competition spawned from Cory Hepola’s own personal connection, coming from rural Perham, Minnesota in Otter Tail County.

“My parents are small business owners and I have such a deep admiration for their passion, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. They’ve weathered the up’s and down’s that come along with being a small business owner and I think that takes a special kind of person,” said Hepola. “I came up with this concept out of my love for them.”

Both Sawalich and Piehl agree with the Mission, and they took it a step further surprising the other 3 finalists - Cheesecake Funk, Fox Den Salon, and Revel & Flourish - with a cash and consulting prize.

“We wanted to use our platform here at WCCO for a purpose. To directly help our community. I call it ‘Mission Media. And, I can’t wait for Season 2,” Hepola said.