Entrepreneurs seek mentorship and networking during Startup Week in the Twin Cities
Each year, Beta hosts Twin Cities Startup Week, an annual week-long series of seminars, discussions, demos and networking events designed to further grow the region’s startup ecosystem.
This week, thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and corporate executives will attend events around the Twin Cities designed to help them grow, fund their businesses, change their work culture, or simply improve the metro technology and innovation industry.
We asked some of our attendees what they hope to learn this week, and why they’re participating in Startup Week. Read or listen to their answers below.
Derek RuckerSaint Paul
Chief Technical Officer, StoryForge; angel investor
“I’m a tech guy, a data guy. I feel more comfortable in the code and the stack side of things, but my startup requires marketing and PR in a huge way. We need creatives and demand community development. I don’t know how to do these things, and so does my daughter who is CEO.” So, while we can create a platform for creative people to improve their production and improve their craft, I can’t get the message across, not on my own. I need to find people who can help me and are willing to help me.”
Tyler HitzmanSaint Paul
“I’m interested now. I’m interested in grants, loans and other government stuff, but it’s all very vague and confusing to me. There are two sessions on that and two more sessions on how to do it for a junior founder and how that differs from project-led companies. The project elements are so loud and noisy, and I need To a little bit of information on how to do it the way I want to do it.”
Charlotte ClarkKansas City, Mo.
Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Foresight
“I just hope to meet more startups and like-minded people. People who want to help founders and want to make a difference. I hope to bring some of that knowledge about how to build and thrive (in) a startup ecosystem in Minneapolis and bring some of that to the city of Kansas City. Really open to just meeting a lot of new people and just making connections.”
Founder and CEO of Axon Athletics
“I have this vision to protect and preserve the sporting experience of young athletes and I also know that our young athletes cannot afford or will not pay for these types of services. For me, it depends on the leaders in these sports that organizations are willing to step up and help in some way or form. That, I also understand that there are barriers for them as well,[being]between a rock and a hard place. So it’s trying to figure out how we’re representing business in a way that benefits student-athletes, schools, and also mental health professionals who work with our athletes as well.”
Lisa C. SmithSaint Paul
Founder and CEO of Smith Co.
“As a startup and as an entrepreneur, I have the ability in the Twin Cities to have a platform, especially as a women-led organization, to talk about what I’m doing and try to spread my message as a business to get new business. I’m also here to connect to the entrepreneurship ecosystem in cities, which has been so much bigger than what I’ve been up to. I’ve ever been envisioning it. It’s so amazing…I’m looking for more innovation and a better understanding of how to connect so it can reach potential investors in the future if I want to expand. I’m really interested in understanding that better, but because I’m not a technology focused company I’m looking forward to To entrepreneurship from a service perspective, I hope I can contact other individuals who are interested in that as well.”
Vice President, Co-Founder, Bridgemakers
“I am 20 years old and starting a foundation and what I have come to realize is that the company culture is huge. I have done the logistics. I have done fundraising. I have done all these things and I have come to realize that some of the simplest things are actually the biggest and most important thing in your entire company. Being a better leader, sharing power and creating a winning culture and one that is comfortable, fun, exciting and reflects our values is something I’m really looking for this week.”