Twin Cities Startup Week is in full session. The opening night party on Sunday evening kicked off the more than 200 startup-related events taking place around the metro area this week (Oct. 8 through Oct. 14). With roughly double the number of events as last year, the annual week of festivities is expected to draw more than 12,000 attendees.
Fueling the increase in events this year are three new conferences: Food Ag Ideas Week, Blacks in Technology Conference, and the MANOVA Summit, which will focus on health care innovations. All three were intentionally scheduled during Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW) to fuel interest and raise awareness, says Nels Pedersen, co-founder and director of TCSW. “We’re all trying to work together so we can all be successful.”
Now in its fifth year, TCSW consists of a series of workshops, demonstrations, panel discussions, and networking events hosted by local nonprofits, businesses, and entrepreneurs. The week is designed to celebrate, inspire, and showcase innovative startups and entrepreneurs in Minnesota who are disrupting industries with new products and services.
When TCSW was founded in 2014, it offered 15 technology-focused events that attracted a few thousand people. Today, several industry tracks are featured throughout the week, including health care, sales and marketing, and food and agriculture. (Beta.MN, MN Cup, Minnestar, TECHdotMN, and Fueled Collective are the five founding partners.)
To help attendees navigate the growing event, TCSW launched a mobile app this year. The app makes it easier to access your personalized scheduled and keep track of when and where the events you are interested in attending are being held. Also new this year is a Lyft bus that will shuttle people to select TCSW events. The bus will service St. Paul and Minneapolis and be offered in the evenings for TCSW’s signature events, which are labeled on its website.
“We wanted to make it easier for people to get to events and give people from both cities a chance to hop on the bus,” says Pederson.
TCSW is also bringing back its fly-in program. Thanks to a few sponsors, including Make It. MSP and Branch Messenger, non-Minnesota residents who are looking for jobs at Minnesota-based startups can apply for a free flight to the Twin Cities to attend TCSW. Once visitors arrive, a buddy is assigned to each person to help guide them through the week.
“There are a ton of great companies that are hiring and need talent,” says Pedersen. “By flying people in during startup week they get to see the energy of the [startup] ecosystem.”
For a list of events, check out TCSW’s website.