Fundraisers seem to be a part of Minnesota culture; from schools to extracurricular clubs to volunteer firefighters, the tradition is a necessary part of funding models for many nonprofit organizations.

Entrepreneur Tom Smude, who created Smude Oil, thought that Minnesota-made products may be intriguing to consumers. “We thought people would appreciate that

it was made in Minnesota, and it was the healthy side of things, too,” says Smude, who is the owner of Smude’s Sunflower Oil.

“We met so many [other entrepreneurs] at all the shows we’ve done, and everyone has the same story—how do you get people to know about your product?” Smude thought this would be a good opportunity for those small businesses, and contacted each of those he had met. In addition, the focus is on dry products so organizations don’t have to worry about keeping products cold. The fundraiser now includes a variety of products, from food and lotions to fishing lures and notecards.

Breaking into the fundraising market can be a challenging one as there are several“big fish” that have a corner on the market, but Smude is relying on the strength of a unique product that resonates with people who like to have their money stay in the state. He has had his first clients this fall, which included Boy Scouts and FFA chapters, and he has heard positive reviews. One customer told him: “That’s so neat; the money stays within the state.”

Learn more at mnfundraiser.com.