TEDWomen 2013: Invented Here

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Burt Chojnowski

Burt Chojnowski

TEDxFairfieldWomen, Organizer

Burt Chojnowski is a rural renaissance man. He is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He is an award winning filmmaker and serial entrepreneur for forty years. His documentary Kora, about the most sacred mountain the Himalayas, won awards for Best Documentary and Best Music at the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival in Des Moines recently. Kora was also a nominee for Best Iowa Film.

In his recent article, Turning Fairfield, Iowa into a Rural Renaissance City, Burt has created worldwide attention on Fairfield and Iowa since its publication in the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Journal last month. He is the editor of the 2011 Fairfield Edge magazine that profiles over 40 companies and organizations and describes the competitive advantages of market changing companies in rural Iowa.

Burt has hosted the National Rural Entrepreneurial Gathering, now called the FRED conference, a showcase for entrepreneurial development system practice in Fairfield and is a national expert and presenter on grassroots, bootstrapping economic development strategies involving asset quilting and economic gardening. He is manager of the Linked-in Economic Gardening Group and was one of the original members of Linked-in, the fast growing network for professionals in the world. Burt has helped raise over $80 for Fairfield-based companies and helped establish IowaMicroloan.org, a $50 million venture capital fund targeted at rural Iowa companies and an equity fund for food-entrepreneurs in Southeast Iowa. He also organizes an annual Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs and has focused on the arts, food and digital media.

When he was nineteen, Burt started the first natural food restaurant in the Midwest and was on the team that created Maharishi International University and moved it to Iowa in 1974. One of his great accomplishments may have been when he won a ribbon at the 2010 Iowa State during the cow-chip toss.