This week we’re running our Fall Membership Drive to help keep Rochester Rising a part of this community. Rochester Rising is an online news site that amplifies stories of entrepreneurs in Rochester, Minnesota. There are, of course, other online media platforms in town. What differentiates Rochester Rising is that we are entrepreneur-centric, focusing in on the person and how they built, and are building, their business in Rochester and the surrounding area. We produce several articles and one podcast each week and have started to dabble in some video content to tell these stories and showcase the culture and diversity of the entrepreneurial community in Rochester.
Rochester Rising was launched last July to fill a real gap in the community. We had innovation springing up all over Rochester, but no one was really talking about it.
There are multiple reasons why this is the perfect time to tell these stories. Foremost, they show that we do have risk takers in this city. Rochester is perceived as a conservative, risk-averse culture centered around one industry, with any innovation occurring in biotech or healthcare. Those of us engaged in the entrepreneurial community here know that’s not the full picture.
During the seventeen months that Rochester Rising has existed, we’ve told the stories of 110 different entrepreneurs, startups, and innovation initiatives in Rochester and the surrounding communities. Many of these stories were in biotech and healthtech. However, we’ve shared the journey of many other entrepreneurs, including those operating in retail, food and beverage, fitness, tech, and social entrepreneurship.
We feel that it’s important to tell the stories of people taking risks, taking chances with no safety net, innovating, creating, and not following the expected route. These stories are valuable tools to inspire others, showcase the creativity that is already occurring here, and build up the entrepreneurial community piece by piece.
Right now, we also have a unique opportunity in Rochester with Destination Medical Center, a $5.6B economic development initiative to make the city a global destination for health and wellness. Whatever occurs with these developments, they will cause unprecedented change to this city over the next couple decades. Right now, it’s a unique time to launch a business in this city and begin to gain the attention of talent looking to this area.
Now is the exact time for something like Rochester Rising to exist to document and begin to record the rise of entrepreneurship in Rochester. We do have a small and young entrepreneurial community, but it’s growing daily. We feel that it’s essential to tell this story.
Rochester Rising has had steady impact in the community. The articles, podcasts, and videos that we generate allow people to see the faces and hear the voices of our local creators.
Over the past year, we’ve held events to connect and engage the entrepreneurial community, including our first birthday party in July and several women-focused business events. We have also begun to produce educational materials to help people understand and connect to the community. This includes our “Roadmap to the Rochester Entrepreneurial Community”, which will be updated every year. In October, we self-published our first ever print magazine to share these stories in a different way.
This whole process has involved an immense amount of learning, failing, and growing.
Last November we launched a sustaining membership drive to do exactly that, help to make Rochester Rising a lasting part of the community to continue to tell these stories. Our sustaining memberships are run through the crowdfunding platform Patreon. This method is a little bit different than crowdfunding through Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Patreon campaigns are on-going, where patrons give a monthly contribution to fuel a creative project.
Through Patreon, our sustaining members can give anything from $1 to $25 each month and receive a mix of online-only and tangible rewards, like tote bags and mugs. If you’re not ready or interested in a monthly contribution, one time donations are also highly appreciated.
Why should you care? Why do we need to run a crowdfunding campaign?
Foremost, you get some cool rewards for contributing to this campaign. There is no other way to score a Rochester Rising mug. We also offer some heavily discounted advertising to sustaining members. If you read the stories regularly, watch the videos, and listen in to the podcasts, hopefully you see the value in having something like this continue in the city.
As many of you probably know, Rochester Rising is one person, myself. This is my main job. I do all the writing, recording, producing, social media management, business development, sales, and event management. Many of you readers are solo entrepreneurs and know this struggle first hand. Sustaining memberships have been essential to allow me more time to create content, events, and community. They also reduce our dependency on advertising and sponsorship on this website and podcast.
If you think Rochester Rising is something that should continue to exist in this community, please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more information on our Patreon page.