Update 3/5: We’ve posted the 2013 Google For Entrepreneurs at CoCo event calendar. Caveat: it’s not pretty (working on that!), and we’ll do a proper post about the events themselves in the next day or so…
Big ups to our friends and members for offering some great ideas for how we can use the Google for Entrepreneurs program to help boost the number and success rates of local startups. Below are most* of the ideas that have submitted as potential events that could be included in the Google for Entrepreneurs program at CoCo. We’re still taking contributions, so feel free to chip in!
“Have a failure fest event. My clients have always learned more from other startup stories of failure (what not to do ) than success! Have folks of all industries discuss failures and what they learned. “
“A weekend long event to help small businesses and organizations to onto and innovate within mobile.”
The Language of Programming
“Host an event that explores how dynamic this workforce development tool can be. Connect with High Schools and Colleges and administration to re-brand the language of programming. That it is an actual language and will prepare you for so many opportunities.”
“Educate our angel investors or wannabe angel investors on what it takes to be successful investing in consumer web companies. ALSO, I want our big companies like Best Buy, Target, General Mills, Wells Fargo, etc. to help the ecosystem with investments in startups, and to help themselves innovate.
The biggest wall to the tech startup ecosystem in Minnesota is our Scandinavian DNA. An incredible risk aversion wrapped into nice time capsule and buried by the dotcom bust back in 2000. Those with means in Minnesota made it via med-tech, working for a corporation, or a mom & pop lifestyle business. This is slowly changing, but even our angel groups still require a 40 page business plan, and the first questions to entrepreneurs will be how we arrived at our five year projections.
I want these angel investors to know what makes a consumer web company successful. Just as importantly, I want them to know and build confidence in the PROCESS of building a tech startup ala Steve Blank as adopted by the Valley is a search for a business model. Lastly, I want them to understand that over zealous deal terms hurt the prospects of success and follow on financing just as much if not more than any weakness in the business plan. They don’t understand the financing series.
Moreover, companies in Silicon Valley actively seek out startups to help them innovate. And while there are exceptions, most understand that nurturing a startup and potentially buying them out once they have found a model is infinitely more valuable than stealing the idea for themselves and executing on it poorly. So, I want to bring big Minnesota companies in to the mix as well.”
Service design day
“Innovation in service design if often missed as a big area of need and opportunity. Many of Minnesota’s most interesting companies and startups often have more to do with service design innovation than product design – Optum health or W3i.com for example.”
“I really enjoyed the idea of having a conference exclusively focused on failing in startups. Failure, while regularly discussed in silicon valley is not often discussed in Minnesota. I believe part of this has to being ‘MN nice,’ making a lot of people refrain from discussing their hardships.
Startups fail all the time in MN, it should be discussed so it is no longer stigmatized and we learn. As well as empower people to not be afraid of failure.”
Using Google tools for working in the Cloud
“My business helps people to use the tools that Google provides to work in the Cloud. Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, etc. I’d be happy to share about how to use Google Apps to work in the cloud.”
Entrepreneurs & Hackers
“I think there should be weekly meetups focused on hacking and having these entreprenuers see how developers work. There needs to be more intermingling of developers and entreprenuers with ideas!”
Ruby on Rails
“I want to teach people Ruby on Rails and build a strong community of technologists that can support our budding entrepreneurial ecosystem build awesome businesses. There is a trend of technologists in Minneapolis being strong in technologies like Java and .NET but not a lot of talent in web development. From what I understand, entrepreneurs in Minneapolis have been contracting out web development to talent outside of the cities and this is unfortunate. I would like to host meetups, bootcamps, etc in order to teach, mentor and build a community of Ruby on Rails developers that can support our budding entrepreneurial ecosystem. I’ve already started with some partners (www.rails.mn), but support from both CoCo and others would be more than beneficial.“
How not to LOVE your startup
“Over the past couple years of my career I have owned, consulted, mentored, and advise small business and startups. I have seen business leaders succeed, stumble, and fail.
Infatuated with why startups and small business stumble and fail I started to look for the patterns. Finding the relevance that most startups and small business owners are drunk love with their business. So drunk love that they are unable to hear, see, and listen to mentors, facts, and results. Sometimes the best thing for a startup business owner to do is to realize that they are not married to their business but they are working for it.
Take a session to explain what successful patterns of a smart startup culture looks like. Review successful patterns of owners that hold them accountable to their goals and company standards they have set. Show the importance developing and building your health structure in your startup. Show how not falling in love and remaining in fatuated made be the best thing you can do for success.”
Entrepreneurship & economic development for the rest of MN
“Reach out to those of us outside of the metro area that are working with entrepreneurs or are helping to create a culture of entrepreneurship. Oh, that might be another good one- how in the world can we help those leaders that are still tied to “traditional’ economic development tools understand how entrepreneurship is way better.”
Best of Community Innovation Tools - A Continuing Series Highlighting Entrepreneurial Tools
“In order to boost entrepreneurship in Minnesota by leveraging technology and startups, I think we should have a resource highlighting the ‘best of innovation tools.’
REASON: Short-Term and Long-Term Sustainability of Community Entrepreneurship/Innovation. In order to ensure that Minnesota is able to develop the short-term and long-term capacity of our communities for innovation, use of technologies, and start-up growth, we need to support creative thinkers and doers to become impactful innovation leaders. We must do this through peer-mentoring, coaching, networking, facilitating problem-solving and resource sharing, educational opportunities (e.g. seminars, workshops, conferences, courses), plus celebrating successes. We must be a community for innovation that is made up of 1) new creative thinkers and doers with passion for change; 2) coaches (i.e. successful entrepreneurs/innovators with demonstrated passion and action for change); 3) educational providers (e.g. personal and professional development, universities, colleges, high schools); 4) community institutions (e.g. educational, civic, commercial, entrepreneurial, public policy); and, 5) the community at large. We need opportunities to support and learn from each other through peer-mentoring; support and learn from successful entrepreneurs/innovators through coaching; address our problems by gaining awareness and receiving support from others in our community (e.g. potential partners/collaborators; vendors/solution providers; angels and venture capitalists; public policy makers; clients/customers; etc.); plus learn about best practices, emerging trends, and personal/professional development from educational providers.”
Creative content collaborative
“Content marketing is an effective way to build an audience around any cause, from startup companies to non-profit initiatives. It is also challenging, time consumer, and often times requires a lot of resources.
Let’s get together and share ideas on how to create cool engaging content that builds an audience. More importantly, we would actually collaborate on creating the content. I propose that this group meet once a quarter to set the agenda, share outcomes, and organize small groups around individual needs, industries, topics, type of content, etc. These small groups would then create their own plans on how they want to work together and collaborate on creating content.
The goal would be to share resources with each other and assist in the actual creation of cool content like videos, guest blog posts, presentations, webinars, podcasts, etc. Each person involved would finish the quarter with something either created, started, or planned.”
How and when to pivot
“Once a business gets moving the number of voices with input on what you should be doing as a business explode. It can become difficult to filter through the noise, correctly understand your own business, and be able to understand the opportunities infront of you.
To pivot or not to pivot is a heavy question with substancial consequences. It might mean declining a substancial opportunity or revenue stream, or it could mean throwing away 6+ months of work. Yet nearly every startup will pivot multiple times before gaining traction their sweet spot.”
UX, SEO, and Design Integration Best Practice Workshops:
“Since the Penguin and Panda updates have created a stir in the development and marketing of websites, the three concepts are more interconnected than ever. Help individual entrepreneurs and web development and marketing firms create integrated development plans. Create dialog to break down barriers between the UX/IA Designers, SEO Specialists and Copywriters, Front End Web Developers, and Marketing Departments through integrated strategies involving Holistic and Design Thinking.”
More ideas are welcome and will be added to this page.
*Some submissions were either indecipherable or outright solicitations.
Cover photo Credit: anieto2k via Compfightcc