Another graduate of the University of St. Thomas FastTrac entrepreneurship program has been honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Jennifer Alstad, president of the downtown Minneapolis B-Swing Inc., received the SBA’s 2000 Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the SBA’s annual recognition luncheon May 19.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that FastTrac graduates have won state honors . Two winners of the Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year Award — MindWare president Jeanne Voight in 1997 and Office Plan president Susan McCloskey in 1998 –are FastTrac graduates. Restaurant owner Stephanie Shimp, another FastTrac grad, received the 1999 Minnesota SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Alstad, 29, and three friends created B-Swing in 1997 to create internet-based Web sites for clients in the fields of financial services, manufacturing, education and entertainment. The company now has 15 employees and revenues have increased from $165,000 in 1997 to $1.2 million in 1999.
Alstad was born in Korea and grew up on a farm in southwestern Minnesota. She began college at age 16 and her honors program at the University of Minnesota included studies in political science, Asian studies and Chinese language. She was president of the Minnesota Student Association, and after graduation became a research fellow with the Kettering Foundation and a program officer at the Institute for National Policy Research in Taiwan.
The St. Thomas FastTrac program, which itself has won a number of national awards, is part of the university’s Morrison Center for Entrepreneurship. The program offers a range of programs for those who want to start or expand a business.