Each year, the nonprofit PETA hosts Startup Week in the Twin Cities, a series of seminars, discussions, demonstrations, and networking events designed to build the startup ecosystem in the region.
This week, thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, academics and corporate executives attended events across the Twin Cities designed to help them grow and 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 and why they’re participating in Startup Week.
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 is very demanding on marketing and PR. We need creatives and demand community development. I don’t know how to do these things, and neither 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 to send the message, not myself. I need to find people who are able to 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 very noisy and noisy; I need To a little bit of info 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 on how to build and thrive. [in a] The startup ecosystem in Minneapolis and brought some of that to 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 do and try to spread my message as a business to get new business. I am also here to connect to the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the cities, which has been much bigger than I could have ever imagined. It’s so amazing…. I’m looking for more innovation and a better understanding of how to communicate to 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 am looking at entrepreneurship from a service perspective, I hope they can connect with other individuals who are interested in that as well.”
Vice President, Co-Founder, Bridgemakers
“I’m 20, starting a foundation. And what I’ve come to realize is that the company culture is huge. I’ve done the logistics. I’ve done fundraising. I’ve done all that stuff, and I’ve come to realize that some of the simplest things are actually the biggest and most important thing in your entire company. You help me The company culture of being a better leader, sharing power, creating a winning culture and a culture that’s comfortable, fun, exciting and reflects our values is something I’m really looking for.”