“‘I can’t believe all of this is happening in Minneapolis.’ When people found out I was apart of the “Fly-In” program and asked me what I thought so far, I often said, ‘I’m speechless. I had no idea the startup scene was like this.’” – Alicia (Read the blog post about her Fly-In experience.)
A couple weeks ago MSP’s largest and most successful Twin Cities Startup Week took the region by storm. Nearly 100 events and 10,000 participants buzzed around the city for a full week of pitches, demos, and seminars as well as copious amounts of craft beer, networking, and other shenanigans. Startup week was about more than just nerding out to all the cool companies and tech in our city though, it was about community and showing off how great our startup scene really is!
During this exciting week, I had the privilege to help out with the Fly-In Program that was all about showing off our amazing community to people who don’t live here. As a leader in the Make It. MSP initiative through Young Professionals of Minneapolis and as a recruiter and talent solutions provider, this opportunity was exciting to me on many levels. Through the partnership with Make It. MSP. we were able to fly in 14 people from around the country to experience and immerse themselves in our vibrant community. It was so exciting to help open the eyes of people from around the country to what was going on.
Every time I met with one of the Fly-In participants I heard a similar narrative to the quote at the beginning of this article. “I had no idea Minneapolis had this to offer,” came from both natives and people visiting for their first time’s alike. Nathan from San Francisco talked about his experience to me while we drove to one of the final events of the week, a small party hosted at a local brewery. “Twin Cities Startup Week was an absolute blast, the wide array of fun and professional events really helped me get involved with the Twin Cities tech community. All the event attendees and hosts were extremely welcoming and I immediately felt right at home. The Twin Cities are now on my map and I’m hoping to come back as soon as possible!”
Another participant exclaimed that, “Startup week was a fun fast week with great companies. You get an amazing sense of the tech community within the Twin Cities and the amazing things to look out for in the future. It definitely cemented my desire to find a position with a startup in Minnesota!” Since leaving she did find a position here in Minneapolis and is currently working on relocating her and her family here.
We have a huge opportunity to get the word out about our region. Often times we, as humble Minnesotans, take for granted what an amazing place this is to work, live, and play. Hearing outsiders and newcomers talk about it with such surprise and awe gives me a sense of pride for what we have going and incredible excitement for what we will do next. While humility is a great strength for us, it can also hinder the growth and success of our region. I challenge you to open up about how amazing Minneapolis – St. Paul is. Radically welcome a newcomer to make them feel a part of our community. Get involved with a local organization that is creating inclusive communities and helping elevate the people in our community.
To blossom into our full potential we need to attract the best, brightest, and most creative minds from around the world. This year’s Fly-In Program was one of the many ways we can do that and I can’t wait to see what we do next year!