Creating a Social Benefit Product and Marketing Campaign: An Interview with The Minnesota Beatle Project and Fast Horse, Inc.

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Minneapolis, MN:  The Twin Cities Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA-TC) will be hosting an event featuring Mark Gerhing, founder of Vega Productions, and Dave Fransen, Senior Director of Fast Horse, Inc.


Andrea Swensson of 89.3 The Current will facilitate an interview highlighting the creation of Vega’s social benefit product, The Minnesota Beatle Project and the accompanying marketing campaign by Fast Horse that aided in its success. The event is free to SEA members, $10 for the public and will take place at Joule in Minneapolis on Thursday, August 14th from 4:00-7:00 PM. Registration is required, visit to reserve your ticket.


The Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) is the leading membership organization in North America for social enterprises, service providers, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and venture capitalists that is actively building the field of social enterprise through networking opportunities, educational forums, strategic partnerships, and impact legislation.  A social enterprise is an organization that sells products or services in order to achieve a social purpose. The social needs addressed by social enterprises and the business models they use are as diverse as human ingenuity. Social enterprises build a more just, sustainable world by applying market-based strategies to today’s social problems. Andrea Swensson will interview Mark Gerhing and Dave Fransen about how they started The Minnesota Beatle Project, a social enterprise that generated earned income to further their social purpose. They will also discuss the marketing campaign created by Fast Horse that was integral in the success of their enterprise.


Mark Gerhing formed Vega Productions to advocate for, support and provide children and youth with equal access to quality music and art education. Since its inception in 2005, Vega Productions has provided more than 30,000 students with the opportunity to participate in music and art programs across Minnesota, raised over $250,000 and generated more than 6,000 instrument donations.


With world-class marketing expertise from local marketing agency, Fast Horse, Vega Productions launched its highest-profile endeavor to date. The Minnesota Beatle Project was launched in 2009 with its partner and presenting sponsor 89.3 The Current. For the past five years Vega Productions has produced a compilation album featuring covers of Beatles songs by local Minnesota artists from our vibrant music scene. One hundred percent of the proceeds support music education in Minnesota. Gehring’s work with The Minnesota Beatle Project has resulted in partnerships with a number of nationally known bands such as Soul Asylum, Mason Jennings, Meat Puppets, Solid Gold, and Cloud Cult. Local partnerships include popular bands such as Trampled by Turtles, The New Standards, and Jeremy Messersmith.


In 2012 Vega Productions began work on an ambitious social enterprise, Instruments in the Cloud, a cloud-based program that increases student access to musical instruments and organizes inventories of instrument donations for music programs in public schools districts. Launched in 2014, this revolutionary program creates an inter-connected community of schools, music instructors and individual instrument donors working collaboratively to provide the opportunity for every student to participate in music education. With development planned to serve every school throughout the United States, it contains a feature where the general public can donate their instruments directly to schools in need through the website creating a powerful community connection. Mark Gehring believes that music makes a difference in the lives of us all. His creative and transformative work strengthens our community and enriches the lives of all Minnesotans.


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