Holmes Center's John Stavig interviewed by Finance & Commerce.

By Mark Anderson

John Stavig brings a simple lesson to his job as professional director of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management: Nobody said starting a business was going to be easy.

Stavig works day in and day out with budding entrepreneurs and students. He has witnessed their frustration as economic uncertainty frightened investors away from new businesses and clouded their entrepreneurial futures.

Even so, Stavig sees reasons to be confident about the prospects for Minnesota business. He points to the growing investment infrastructure supporting the kinds of early stage businesses he coaches - including Minnesota's new angel tax credit and the development of the Minnesota Angel Network. There is also the strength of his school, which enrolled 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students in entrepreneurship classes during the last school year.

And there is the popularity of the Minnesota Cup, the annual competition among entrepreneurs sponsored by the center. The Minnesota Cup has given the center a chance to coach and judge 5,000 young entrepreneurs since it started six years ago.

Stavig shared some of his opinions about current entrepreneurial conditions in Minnesota in an interview with Finance & Commerce.