Monday, September 14, 2020

Twin Cities Startup “Week” in a Pandemic

Last week marked the beginning of Twin Cities Startup Week 2020, our annual celebration of local startups, founders and everyone who supports the Twin Cities entrepreneurial ecosystem. Usually, attendees can expect a jam-packed week of lunches, happy hours and networking events, interspersed with panel discussions, workshops and other events. This year, of course, is proceeding somewhat differently, with events spread out between September 7 and September 25, and being hosted all online. I guess it’s appropriate that in our COVID-19 universe a week lasts 18 days (at least many weeks feel like they last 18 days).  Get your tickets here!

As always, however, there are far too many events for even the most dedicated scheduler to possibly attend, even on an expanded timeline. Below, I’ve curated events that I’d recommend to one of my clients. Note: I’ve stayed away from specific technology areas — if you are working in AI, Edtech, Food & Ag, Healthcare or VR, take a look at the TCSW schedule here, where there are plenty of exciting opportunities. Instead, I’ve tried to focus on areas where any entrepreneur has the chance to get something valuable.

1.   Scaling and its challenges: One of the things my clients struggle with consistently is growing their organization and processes to match the growth of their company. From making your first hire to growing those “back office” functions like customer support, these panels cover critical issues and bring together founders with fascinating backgrounds (including — full disclosure — several of my clients). 

2.   Fundraising: The most common times I work with my entrepreneurial clients are in preparing for and negotiating a financing. Financing your startup is never just as simple as taking a check — and even that can be complicated enough! Learn from these panelists the key legal, business and relational actions you need to take to build your business with other peoples’ money.

3.   Leadership and Personal Development: I’ve heard a lot that the unique strictures that COVID-19 have placed on our lives make it a great time to look inward, focus on ourselves and our personal and emotional development. Personally, I haven’t found the time. But succeed where I’ve failed with these panels on understanding your strengths and weaknesses, leading with compassion and authenticity, and interrogating your unconscious biases.

If you see me on Zoom at any of these events, don’t hesitate to reach out. Hope to see you all there!

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