Minnesota is home to incredible talent leading the way in industries from technology and healthcare to food and agriculture. Twin Cities Startup Week wants to celebrate and highlight these inventive and skilled entrepreneurs. At first I was slightly intimidated by the notion of startups as the tech scene and Silicon Valley immediately come to mind. But this welcoming community made up of passionate and talented individuals want you to take part in this world of innovation. I had the opportunity to speak with Twin Cities Startup Week Founder and Director Nels Pederson to tell me more about this fantastic event.
Twin Cities Startup Week found its beginnings while Nels was running his nonprofit Beta.MN, an organization that focuses on helping startups achieve success. As Beta.MN began building a community with other startup organizations around the cities, Nels saw an opportunity when he noticed people were excited to come to their events in order to connect with resources and other entrepreneurs.
Nels recalls, “We realized, all of our events happen throughout the year. What if we got them together and we channel all the energy we are all bringing into one festival?”
This idea turned into a weeklong festival that supports and encourages startups and emerging businesses. The first year, Twin Cities Startup Week had only a handful of events that has since grown immensely to what is now a packed calendar of over 100 events.
These events are held everywhere throughout the Twin Cities to showcase different businesses, organizations, and workspaces. Twin Cities Startup Week works with over 95 companies to create an experience where people can hop from one event to another that they find interesting whether the event’s focus is tech, food, advertising, or assisting with resources and investing. Events range from panels and roundtable discussions to simply chatting over a couple drinks or even creating a startup from scratch.
“We want to make sure our events are really authentic.”
During the week they want you to connect, be excited and inspired.
Nels hopes to make Twin Cities Startup Week the next South by Southwest. He’s striving to “build the festival to be the marquee time to highlight what makes Minnesota and Minnesota businesses awesome.” He wants to not only continue to grow within the tech world but also expand and represent other industries like music and art that attract even more talent and businesses to the Twin Cities.
Nels wants people to look at Minnesota differently. It is a hub of innovative Fortune 500 companies and incredible talent just graduating from universities. He handily points out, “It’s very easy to live here. The cost of living’s really low, it’s really beautiful, and transportation is fairly easy into the city.” He hopes to entice innovators to consider moving and working in Minnesota’s startup community with the Fly-In Program. This program makes the decision easy for entrepreneurs to come check out the Minnesota scene by helping to cover costs for part of their flight and then introducing them to everything the cities have to offer.
“If you did want to do something like a startup where there’s a little bit more risk, where you might not have a steady income, you can pull it off here. And you can also pull it off as a family.”
Nels’ vision is to continue to expand the events by including more industries and adding entertainment to make Twin Cities Startup Week a festival that not only locals are excited about, but as a travel-worthy event for those on the outside looking in. There is something for everyone during Twin Cities Startup Week and the majority of events are completely free. You are sure to walk away having gained new insights and having made invaluable new connections.
The opening party to kickoff Twin Cities Startup Week begins the evening of Sunday, October 8th. Events continue through the week and wrap up Sunday, October 15th.
It’s easy to sign up for a ticket to the events. Click on this link: Twin Cities Startup Week Ticket Information.
Make sure to check out the extensive calendar of exciting events at their website: twincitiesstartupweek.com.