Global Entrepreneurship Week

What's Happening in the Rochester Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Startup Weekend, The Assistive Tech Challenge, and Global Entrepreneurship Week

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The past two weeks have witnessed a significant amount of activity in Rochester’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Beginning with Startup Weekend and ending yesterday with twenty-two different events taking place across the community, the last fifteen days have offered a wide taste of the culture and diversity of Rochester’s current innovation community.

 

Techstars Startup Weekend (Oct 26-28th) 

Startup Weekend is a fifty-four-hour event, powered by the global Techstars accelerator program. Approximately forty individuals joined in Startup Weekend this year as participants, coaches, judges, and organizers. At this event, many began the weekend on Friday evening as strangers and quickly formed strategic teams around the top ideas. Teams spent the remaining hours building out a business canvas, performing customer validation in the community, and preparing business pitches. Six teams pitched to a panel of judges on Sunday night, which included Julie Henry, Enterprise IP Contract Manager at Mayo Clinic; Xavier Frigola, Director of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator; Stephen Ekker, Director of the Mayo Clinic Office of Entrepreneurship; Sarah Miller, Owner of White Space; and Matt Smyth, President and Chief Strategist at Headland Law.

The Smarter City team, composed of Garrett Lieffring, Josef Chlachula, and Jeremiah Harbach, won third place in the competition. Smarter City helps Rochester residents and visitors wayfind and locate food, activities, lodging, and key information around the city of Rochester using Smart City QR tags. These tags could serve as catalysts to direct individuals to local resources and experiences and to facilitate self-guided city tours.   

Sajal Kherde, Anthony Kyle, and Phil Stubbs took second place at Startup Weekend with their 20 x 20 concept. 20 x 20 is an online platform for local artists to sell their oil paintings and wall hangings. The platform also provides analytics and includes a story about the art and the artist behind the creation. By Sunday evening, the team already had artists signed up to use their platform.

Team E3, composed of Grace Pesch, Jay Franson, and James Perreault, won Startup Weekend with their “What Were You Thinking?” card game. This game, based on the nine Enneagram personality categories, could function as a unique way to teach empathy, improve personal relationships, and provide team building opportunities. The team marketed their game on Facebook and had preorders by Sunday evening. 

If you missed out on the event, you can catch up with the pitches by checking out the Facebook live video on our social media. You can also visit our video of the weekend to better understand the impact an event like Startup Week has on the Rochester community.

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 The Assistive Tech Challenge (November 3rd) 

The Assistive Tech Challenge pitch event took place on Saturday November 3rd as part of the Assistive Tech Expo at the Rochester Technical and Community College Heintz Center. This business pitch competition sought solutions to eliminate employment barriers, reduce dependency on caregivers, enable richer social interactions, and elevate access to community infrastructure for people living with disabilities. The competition was facilitated by the Destination Medical Center Discovery Square Team, The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group.

Twenty-eight teams applied to compete in this inaugural competition, DMC’s very first tech pitch event, including a team from Naples, Florida. Teams competed in two divisions, an Open Competition for ideas from the community and a Professional Division, for businesses with less than $250,000 in annual revenue. First and second place in each division received $5,000 and $2,500 respectively from The Arc Minnesota.  

In the Open Division, Samantha Grover came in second place with her concept AbleKitchen. AbleKitchen is an all-in-one recipe, meal planning, and shopping application to make cooking more accessible for people with, and without, disabilities. Rochester team of Cody Schmidt and Nick Elliott won first place in the Open Division with their “Adapt-A-Cart” prototype, a device that allows for seamless attachment and detachment of a wheelchair to a grocery cart to make shopping simpler and more efficient.

In the Professional Division, Minneapolis business Mobility 4 All won second place with their “kinder, gentler ride service for senior and people with disabilities.” Vitals Aware Services, also from Minneapolis, took first place in the Professional Division. This business created technology that enables real time communication between first responders and persons with mental illness during times of crises.

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Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 5th-9th)

Rochester’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a grassroots, weeklong effort to celebrate entrepreneurship across the city. Twenty-two events took place over the course of the week, organized by multiple components of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including: Rochester Rising, Collider Coworking, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., 1 Million Cups Rochester, Community and Economic Development Associates, The Commission, Destination Medical Center, Grand Rounds Brewing Company, Gray Duck Theater, The Half Barrel, the Mayo Clinic Office of Entrepreneurship, Mayo Clinic Ventures, Mortenson, NAMI Southeast MN, Rochester Entrepreneurial Network, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, Café Steam, Taco Jed, Techweek, Winona State University, Women in Science and Engineering Research, BrandHoot, and Narrative Experiential Designs.

These events brought in over 600 participants, offering a wide taste of this city’s entrepreneurial culture. Events such as these are essential for an entrepreneur-led community. You can see all that happened by searching for the hashtags #gewroch on social media. Check back in over the next week for more in-depth stories about some of the events that took place during the 2018 Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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Global Entrepreneurship Week Kicks Off Monday as Five Day Celebration of Innovation in Rochester

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It has arrived. On Monday November 5th, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will launch in Rochester for five days, bringing twenty-one different events to the community to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation. GEW is not just for entrepreneurs. It’s for anyone interested in learning more about Rochester’s entrepreneurial culture and how to plug in. So, block some time off on your calendar and get ready to participate in “The Week of the Entrepreneur,” as proclaimed by Rochester’s Mayor Ardell Brede for the second consecutive year.

GEW Rochester will kick off at 7:30AM at the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce with a morning reception with some coffee and light refreshments to network and launch into the week. 

The celebration will be capped off on Friday with a very special presentation from Kira Blackwell, Program Executive at NASA, about the NASA iTECH Program, an innovative way for agencies like NASA to interact and work with entrepreneurs. Kira is an executive management professional with expertise in aerospace, biotechnology, and technology management. The NASA iTECH program is an initiative through NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) to discover and vet innovative technologies to solve problems both on Earth and in space exploration.  

In addition to these events, Rochester Rising will also be hosting some programs during the week. Our first is an Entrepreneurial Book Club Discussion and Happy Hour in collaboration with The Commission. This event will take place on Wednesday November 7th at 4:30 PM at Grand Rounds Brew Pub. The first hour of the event will be an open networking happy hour, similar to our “Elevating Women Happy Hour” events. The second half of the event will include a book discussion about John Carreyrou's "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” the story of Theranos. Come to discuss this riveting story of biotech fraud.

Our second hosted event of the week is a “Mental Health for Entrepreneurs Workshop with NAMI SE MN.” This event will take place on Thursday November 8th at 7:30 am at the Café Steam Broadway location. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. Join us for this timely and vital discussion about mental health issues in entrepreneurs and ways to work toward better overall health.

Our final hosted event of the week will take place at 6PM on Thursday with a Founders Talk with Sonex Health CEO Darryl Barnes. Sonex Health is a Rochester based medical device company that developed the SX-One Microknife, a device for minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery. Since Sonex Health graduated from the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, the company has continued to grow in size and impact in the community. 

Check out the Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week page for the full details and complete event listings. I challenge each of you to attend at least one event this upcoming week to learn more about our entrepreneurial culture.

Local Entrepreneurs Honored at R.A.V.E. Event

Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week lead organizer Jamie Sundsbak holding the proclamation from Mayor Brede.

Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week lead organizer Jamie Sundsbak holding the proclamation from Mayor Brede.

The fifth annual Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week officially ended last night with the R.A.V.E. (Recognizing Awarding Valuing Entrepreneurs) event. This evening was hosted by Journey to Growth, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI), and 504 Corporation.

Xavier Frigola, Director of Entrepreneurship with RAEDI, served as master of ceremonies at the event.  Frigola also runs RAEDI’s Economic Development Fund, which has invested in fifteen local companies- 82% of which are women and/or minority owned- since its inception. Frigola also serves on the executive team for the newly launched Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund and is an organizer for Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week.

On Monday, Mayor Ardell Brede officially proclaimed it Entrepreneurship Week in Rochester to kick off this week-long celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation.

“What we do matters. It matters a lot,” said Frigola.

This year, Frigola, Collider Coworking Community Manager Jamie Sundsbak, and myself have been conducting an entrepreneurial census to accurately assess the innovation climate in Rochester.

“Back in 2012, we basically did not have technology-based startups,” Frigola explained.

Little money was being raised and few jobs were being created. Now, there are over fifty new companies in Rochester that have raised over $24M of capital in 2017 alone, creating seventy jobs.

“Our goal is to turn southeast Minnesota into an entrepreneurial center,” Frigola said, which will likely be a generational effort.

“This is what we’ve done in five years. Imagine what can happen over the next five or ten years, or even twenty,” he affirmed.

Three southeast Minnesota companies were recognized for their “will, determination, and drive” as the 2017 Outstanding R.A.V.E. Honorees: Licks Pill-Free Solutions, Sonex Health, and Envirolastech.

Licks Pill-Free Solutions, a pet product manufacturing company, is led by entrepreneur Amy Paris. The company creates all-natural pet supplements, such as goo-packets and gummies, for dogs and cats. Licks products have been stocked in PetSmart stores since 2014. Paris manufactures her products in Winona and is continuing to grow and expand the Licks product line.

Sonex Health provides a simple, non-invasive solution for carpal tunnel release surgery, minimizing nerve and blood vessel damage with their SX-One Microknife. The company built their first prototype in 2014 in a garage and had the first Sonex health procedure competed in February of this year. The business aims to spread into several key markets this year. Co-founders Aaron Keenan, Darryl Barnes, and Jay Smith accepted the award on behalf of Sonex Health.

Envirolastech manufactures brick, deck board, and pallet products using thermoplastic proprietary technology, turning trash into durable building materials. The company recently opened a new manufacturing plant in St. Charles to help propel their growth. Founder Paul Schmitt and Operations Manager Geno Wente accepted their award on behalf of Envirolastech.

For the second year in a row, a Lifetime Achievement Award was given to “honor and recognize those individuals that were entrepreneurs probably before we called them that,” explained Heather Holmes, Vice President of Marketing and Project Director at Journey to Growth.

This year the award was given to Mike Tuohy of Tuohy Furniture.

“[Mike] embodies the foresight, courage, and perseverance that’s required to build and sustain a successful manufacturing business in a dynamic industry,” said Joel Young, Chatfield City Clerk.  

In addition to running a business for decades, Tuohy is also a tireless volunteer, mentor, and leader in the Chatfield community.

In 1952, Tuohy began building furniture in his father’s basement; the father and son team purchased their first building in 1954 and began manufacturing church furniture. Tuohy bought the business from his father Joe in 1972, increased his workforce, and began building office furniture as a private label manufacturer. The family business has continued to expand over the years and was passed down to Tuohy’s sons Dan and Michael upon his retirement in 2001.

“I was lucky. As a senior in high school, I sat in graduation and they said, ‘Some of you have to stay home in Chatfield and create jobs here.’ And I thought, that’s a cold day in Chatfield,” Tuohy joked. “I decided well, here I am. Let’s do what we can do.”

He said as an entrepreneur you have an idea, but that idea always changes. Goal seeking is not a straight line, it twists and turns and often hits walls. He tells his sons, however, that entrepreneurship should be fun.

Succession plans are one of the most important aspects of any business, Tuohy explained. He has confidence in his sons and the job they are doing with his creation.

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“If you plan well and you hand your business off to the people that own it, then it stays alive and it stays creating jobs,” he said.

The final award of the night was the R.A.V.E. Warrior award, recognizing individuals who “advocate, promote, and support area entrepreneurs” and bring awareness to the value of building the local economy.

I was extremely honored, shocked, and humbled to be the fourth ever recipient of this award for my work with Rochester Rising. I follow in the footsteps of some intrepid entrepreneurs including Xavier Frigola, Jamie Sundsbak, and Rachelle Oribio, Product Manager of Pilot Programs at Techstars, an accomplishment that I don’t take lightly.

Thank you to my peers who considered me worthy of this award, and especially thanks to Rachelle for creating this touching video for me.

Entrepreneurial Showcase Shines Light on Local Student Innovators

Byron High School students and entrepreneurs Maddie Harris and Maia Jorgensen.

Byron High School students and entrepreneurs Maddie Harris and Maia Jorgensen.

Last night, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Rochester Rising held the first ever Student Entrepreneurial Showcase during Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week to shed light on products and services created by southeast Minnesota students from the high school to graduate level. The event took place at Saint Mary’s Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, a reclaimed native wetland area along Cascade Creek in northwest Rochester.

Five student teams participated from around the region.

Current John Marshall student Keerthi Manikonda talking about her mobile app, Via.

Current John Marshall student Keerthi Manikonda talking about her mobile app, Via.

The event centered around an open demo, a science fair type experience where teams set up shop at their respective tables, walked through how their product worked, and refined their pitch by interacting with the attendees.

The evening also served as a qualifying round for the Junior Angler, or student, division of Walleye Tank, a biannual Minnesota business pitch competition for companies at all stages of development. To qualify for the competition, teams gave live, 120-second formal presentations to an audience and pair of judges- Julie Henry, Enterprise Contract Manager at Mayo Clinic and Christine Beech, Director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s- to move forward in the contest.

"This event helped to highlight just how many students here locally have a passion for being change makers and who see themselves as entrepreneurs. We make an investment in our collective future when we encourage this drive and create forums to showcase their talents," explained Beech.  "This next generation is going to accomplish great feats and we would be well served to come together as a community to support their efforts."

Keethri Manikonda, representing the teen entrepreneurs behind the mobile application Via, and the team of Maddie Harris and Maia Jorgensen of Byron High School won the “People’s Choice” awards for the favorite product among attendees.

Keith Kallmes of Superior Medical Editing.

Keith Kallmes of Superior Medical Editing.

Via is a mobile application created by teens, for teens to combat distracted driving. Manikonda is a current senior at John Marshall and is also participating in post-secondary coursework at the University of Minnesota-Rochester. Harris and Jorgensen are also creating a mobile application, called Volunteerium, to connect communities and link citizens with volunteer opportunities.

Two teams- Brazen and Superior Medical Editing- qualified for Walleye Tank and will participate in the final round on December 1st.

Brazen is a brain injury diagnostic tool to reduce brain trauma among football players and other contact sport athletes. This platform is being developed by Mayo Clinic student Jamie Aponte-Ortiz and Rochester resident Jeff Prussack.

Superior Medical Editing is a neuro-specific medical writing and editing service developed by Keith Kallmes, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and brother Kevin, a current law student at Duke University.

Students Matthew Mikall and Siham Abdi of Mayo High School also participated in the showcase. This intrepid pair are creating Project YOU, a digital project to amplify people’s stories and help them feel more confident speaking up and sharing their individuality.

This first Student Entrepreneurial Showcase offered just a small taste of the student entrepreneurial climate in southeastern Minnesota. The organizers hope to continue this event and gain even more traction during Global Entrepreneurship Week next year.

"The Student Entrepreneurial Showcase was yet another example that we are starting to see of entrepreneurs flourishing in Rochester,” said Jaime Sundsbak, Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week lead organizer. “I'm so proud of these students and look forward to helping them continue with their businesses."

Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week Keynote Speaker Encourages Community to "Be Weird"

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Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week keynote speaker Scott Meyer shared two disruptive ideas with the entrepreneurial community to kick off this weeklong celebration of innovation: embrace your inner weirdness and make your own permission.

Meyer played a pivotal role as a community builder and activist in Brookings, South Dakota. He helped to launch TEDxBrookings, 1 Million Cups Brookings, and Creativity Week; Meyer also served on the Brookings City Council. He was awarded The South Dakota Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Top 40 Under 40 by Prairie Business Journal, and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in South Dakota.

Meyer spent years building up the innovation community in Brookings, a town of ~24,000 people. Throughout this time, he garnered his fair share of both successes and failures. But one thing has remained constant.

“The weirdness of this world really makes me feel excited,” Meyer explained.

With the pervasiveness and accessibility of the digital world today, power has shifted from suppliers to those who are aggregating products, services, events, and knowledge into one place, Meyer said. This change has made it easier than ever before to locate niche products or connect to people with very specific interests.

Today’s world, Meyer said, allows us to be exactly ourselves. “But are we willing to take that risk?” he asked.

To be our true, vibrant selves- both as individuals and as communities- Meyer said you need to exist on the edge to attract attention in today’s crowded society. You need to be weird.

“You don’t want to be the next anything. You need to be the first something,” he affirmed. “This is the benefit of being weird. People can actually find you. If you’re in the middle of something, you’re impossible to find.”

When we as a government, community, or business have some sort of platform, no matter how small, Meyer said we need to push people out into that spotlight to share big, wild ideas and create momentum within our communities.

He helped to launched TEDxBrookings, a local version of TED Talks to spread big ideas, to get all kinds of “weird” people in that city into the same room, showcase the local culture, and produce palpable energy in the community.

By creating this stage of TEDxBrookings, Meyer could elevate others into positions of power, placing them as local thought leaders and empowering them to go out and do bigger things.

1 Million Cups Brookings was later launched to create this platform on a more frequent basis in the city.

Meyer’s second lesson: you don’t need to ask permission to create something in your community. You don’t need to be an expert at something. If you want to do something or create something, just do it. Don’t wait for anybody else to do it for you or to authorize it.

“We don’t have to take permission. We can just make permission,” he explained.

To build momentum in their own community, Brookings simply proclaimed themselves the “Creative Capital of the North”. They didn’t ask anybody if they were indeed the most imaginative or original culture of people. There was nobody to ask; they just said that was the truth. The community took $200 and built a “Before I Die” wall so people could express their life long dreams. They launched Creativity Week to celebrate creatives in the city.

“Find a parade and just start marching in front of it,” Meyer said, and people will just start falling in line.

In the case of Brookings, that’s exactly what happened. Soon, folks were journeying to the city to learn about building community from these self-proclaimed experts.

Regardless of how the momentum began, Meyer said it got people excited enough to start taking risks and things just started to happen organically.

“But I’m here to tell you that we can make permission for ourselves,” he concluded. “If we have permission, we need to build the stage and push people into it. And the people that will shine in that spotlight are the weirdos.”

Join in and be Inspired at Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017

This story is brought to you by Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017:

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Plug in and be inspired to innovate during Rochester’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the largest celebration of innovation and community in the world, which occurs in 170 countries and touches 10M people. GEW 2017 will take place November 13th through November 17th.

Rochester GEW will involve a full of week of events and programming, allowing community members to come together to celebrate the entrepreneurship and innovation that this city has to offer. Rochester GEW is an opportunity to leverage connections and engage all levels of the startup, entrepreneurial, and innovation ecosystem, from the solopreneur to the seasoned business leader.

“This is our fifth GEW celebration in Rochester.  As our entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to prosper, we need to celebrate our risk takers and inspire the next generation of local entrepreneurs,” said Jamie Sundsbak, Rochester GEW organizer.

Most importantly, GEW is a time to be inspired. It’s a platform not only for entrepreneurs to connect with each other, it’s an opportunity for all community members to explore their potential as innovators and to connect with like-minded individuals who are just looking to start something in this city.

The theme of this year’s Rochester GEW is honoring the past and embracing the future. It’s a time to explore and celebrate our entrepreneurial roots and engage in what the future of innovation could look like in our community.

GEW Rochester will include a wide range of events to engage and connect the innovation ecosystem of Rochester and the surrounding communities. Programming will include a student showcase, displaying innovations and prototypes developed by students in southeast Minnesota. The team from DoApp, a Rochester mobile application business, will also tell their story and walk through their successful acquisition last year. Events will also include a Women’s Entrepreneurial Happy Hour and a panel discussing business from the media perspective. The week will wrap up with the RAVE (Rochester Area Values Entrepreneurship) capstone event- hosted by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. and Journey to Growth- to celebrate and honor local entrepreneurs.

The Rochester GEW organizing team is still seeking potential sponsors for the week. If your organization is interested in sponsorship opportunities or could donate space for programming, please contact Jamie Sundsbak at Jamie@collider.mn.

The organizing team encourages members of the community to spread the word about this week, to invite their friends, and to attend as many events as possible to celebrate, engage with, and learn about Rochester’s startup culture.

Keep up with the latest news about GEW Rochester by subscribing to their newsletter. You can also link up by liking the GEW Rochester Facebook page and by following the Twitter hashtags #gewroch and #gew2017.

DocuMNtary Helps to Spread the Story of Innovation in Minnesota

Today is the last day of the Global Entrepreneurship Week events in Rochester. These past few days were a time to celebrate and encourage entrepreneurship. At times, I feel that people are scared off by the term entrepreneur and think that you need to have a billion-dollar idea or a get-rich-quick plan to be an entrepreneur. But really, an entrepreneur is someone who is just trying to do something new and is creating a solution to a real problem.

The events this week brought together diverse people with one thing in common: we all are trying to find a better way to do something. Some people at these events have always been entrepreneurs. But most have not. Most were nurses or scientists, government workers or former Fortune 500 executives before stepping away to just try doing something different. To me, the most important outcome of Global Entrepreneurship Week is to show that there are people right here in our community who are following their passions to help make at least one piece of our lives a little bit better.

As the week draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to think about where we are as a community and how we can become better. It’s also a time to reflect on the story of entrepreneurship as a whole in Minnesota.

Minnesotans are hardworking. And we’re also very humble. This trait can be our best quality at times, but it can also be our biggest downfall. We have an amazingly rich history of innovation in Minnesota, but we hesitate to tell our story to the rest of the world.

During Global Entrepreneurship Week here in Rochester, we had the opportunity to screen the film DocuMNtary with the producer Nick Roseth and videographer Eric Jenson. DocuMNtary, as the name suggests, is a documentary that tells the story of tech in Minnesota. The entire film was bootstrapped and shot over a one-and-a-half-year period to help to spread a different story of Minnesota.

What usually comes to mind when people think about our state? If they don’t live here, they usually just think that Minnesota’s cold. Frigid. Even unbearable. That’s the story of Minnesota that typically gets told. That it’s cold here. That the people here have funny accents. That the businesses here are too cautious. That no one ever moves to Minnesota.

This isn’t our story.

Yes, it’s cold here. I can’t deny that. But it’s all in the perspective. The temperature for a portion of the year cannot define our state. It might take a little more convincing to get people to re-locate to Minnesota, but once they do they’re probably going to stay here for a long time.

DocuMNtary helps to piece together a better story of Minnesota that we can tell. The real story. The story of Minnesota’s deep tech roots that go back to the 1960s when Minnesota was a world leader in computer manufacturing. But even then our tech expertise was hushed, largely because it grew out of classified government contracts and code breaking.

We still have deep tech expertise across the state. Many entrepreneurs and community leaders speaking on the film felt that we are right on the cusp of something big in Minnesota, a real transformation. It’s an important time for us to take note of what is happening around us, the history that we are creating right now, and embrace the experience. Innovation is moving quickly in Minnesota. Last year alone $380M was invested into our tech companies. We arguably are developing some of the best B2B software in the world here.

Not just the tech sector, but Minnesota’s entrepreneurial community as a whole is growing exponentially. But our story is flying under the radar. As was pointedly stated in DocuMNtary, Minnesota is a great place to start up or settle down. Want to work at an established business? We have a high density of Fortune 500 companies in the state. But if you want to start something new, you’ve landed in the right place.

DocuMNtary is a must see not only for people working in tech, but for anyone living in Minnesota. For anyone who thinks that Minnesotans are cautious, that nothing ever happens here, or that it’s fly over country, I challenge you to watch the film, and then of course visit us.

Yes, we have our own unique struggles in the entrepreneurial community here that we have to address and overcome. But I challenge each of us living here, myself included, to really open up our eyes, take in what’s happening around us, and then help to share a new story of Minnesota.

DocuMNtary can be viewed for free by clicking here. The film is arranged in modular units, so you can pick what is most interesting to you or watch it all. The film was narrated by Minneapolis rapper Dessa and all the instrumental was performed by the Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree, who agreed to participate after a cold email. That in itself helps to tell a different story about Minnesota.