In every corner of the Twin Cities Metro Area there is a hacker, maker, artist and entrepreneur whose efforts power the future economic vitality of this great state. Twin Cities Startup Week(TCSW) is an opportunity for startups to be on display and to attend events that help learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
It all began as just a handful of community groups looking to host events throughout the year to help startups. “One day, we came together and said why not put it together in one week?” says founder Nels Pederson. So in 2014, Twin Cities Startup Week commenced. They began creating a marketing brand around it and with so much cool stuff happening with this vibrant community, it rapidly has grown bigger and bigger each year.
What makes Twin Cities Startup Week unique?
Pederson says, “We solve big problems, which I think is interesting. You don’t see a lot of businesses that are successful that are building solutions that don’t stick around forever. We go out and find things that can change the world and that’s what we build a solution around. The types of businesses are around here are making an impact on whatever industry their touching. We might not have the next Candy Crush, but we have the next pacemaker. Or we have the next solution that revolutionizes digital IT. TCSW brings out people that are genuinely passionate that really care about what they’re doing. They know the impact that they are going to create is going to be huge, which is cool. It’s interesting to see local service providers, like Flagship, get to highlight some of the people that they work with and it’s really interesting you can see service providers in a very authentic light. They serve and help startups almost every single day and you can get an understanding of how they do that and what makes it successful.”
Speaking on who the key demographic of this week is, Pederson states, “We started in the world of technology because that was the organizers backgrounds but throughout our evolution we have opened it up to everyone who are just excited to learn in different industries. Anyone who is excited about what is shaping and changing the world of business and in many cases those that are excited about technology, those are the folks that will love startup week. It’s all ages, we have tons of students and there’s people that are retired that participate as well.”
So, what can people expect during the week?
A crazy amount of opportunity! There are over 200 events that are all high quality and have great speakers. People are encouraged to go to as many events as they can and want to and understand that it’s inevitable you’ll most likely miss out on some other great events because there are so many to choose from. “You can’t go wrong with which events you choose to go to. I tell people, expect really great content and understand that for you to be successful during the week do what you can to prepare, finding the right session for you.” Pederson says. Some of his other advice to make your week successful is do your research on the company or speakers that are hosting the session. Before you walk into a session think about “what kind of questions can I ask?” or “what should I expect to learn from this?”
Want to make the most out of your week? Have an understanding of what is really interesting to you and don’t be afraid to push your boundaries. For example, if you’re a healthcare person but want to go check out a food and agriculture event, go for it! There’s a really unique chance to learn from people you might not normally interact with. And on top of there being really good speakers, there’s an obscene amount of opportunities for collisions with other attendees there so be open to who you could meet or the relationships you can make!
The variety of events to attend are endless!
There are different tracks that are industry focused: Everything from learning about fundraising to learning about legal, learning about product, development, and marketing. There are a variety of events for learning and networking such as Flagship Bank’s panel on raising capital and the challenges that arise when getting started to the unique opportunities to help keep up with work in between events. “We work with almost every single co-working space in town, so if you’re in between events and want to send out emails you can post up in a co-working space for free. We have a few fitness classes throughout the week as well, they are all local startups.” Pederson states. Join in the TCSW kickoff event to start your week off right and end the week with the closing event in which startups get highlighted for all great work they do throughout the year.