Minnesota tech entrepreneurs invited to explore cross-sector disruptive opportunities

On Wednesday October 20th, TiE Minnesota will be hosting a special event, “Twins-of-Change: SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY – Disruptive Opportunities for Minnesota Leadership”, specifically for Minnesota’s technology entrepreneurs and community stakeholders.

Held at the Northern Star Council’s new urban “Base Camp” on Fort Snelling, dialogue will revolve around one question:

Can we come together and align – educators, business owners and leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs, and dedicated citizens to realize potential for Minnesota leadership as science and technology present disruptive opportunities?

As an affiliate of TiE Global, the Minnesota chapter of TiE fosters Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship within the IT, education, health, energy and clean technology sectors. Founded in 1992 by a group of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals, the organization is currently working to foster entrepreneurship globally through education, networking and mentoring.

The event will feature two keynotes, followed by a four member panel which will lead an interactive discussion amongst the keynote speakers, panel members and all attendees.

Keynote #1 – Dr. M. James Bensen retired as President of Bemidji State in 2001, formerly, he served as President of the Dunwoody College of Technology and as Dean of the College of Technology Engineering & Management at UW-Stout.  Jim chairs Bemidji Leads!, a nationally recognized initiative in the re-invention of community.  This robust initiative involved companies, colleges & universities in the state, research centers, and state government. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Minnesota Technology, Inc., (now Enterprise Minnesota), which provides technology assistance and research to thousands of Minnesota companies.

Keynote #2 – Professor Massoud Amin holds the Honeywell/H.W. Sweatt Chair in Technological Leadership, directs the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota. He is an expert in and teaches graduate courses on smart grids, critical infrastructure security, pivotal technologies, IP valuation and strategy, S&T Policy, and leads the Minnesota Smart Grid Coalition.


Jeff Tollefson is President and co-founder of Genesys Works Minnesota, a successful social venture program helping disadvantaged H.S. youth to receive life and work experience in the IT field. Prior to beginning Genesys Works, Jeff was co-founder and general partner of Crescendo Ventures, a global venture capital investment management firm with more than $1.1 billion under management and offices in Minneapolis, Palo Alto and London, working in the communications, information technology and medical device fields.

Gopal Khanna became the first CIO of Minnesota in 2005. Prior to this position, he held several United States senior policy positions including CIO and CFO of the Peace Corps and CFO of the Executive Office of the President/Office of Administration. His service in Federal and State government, which began in 2002, was preceeded by work in the private sector where he held several corporate executive positions.

Dr. Fred Zimmerman is retired Professor of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and International Management at the University of St. Thomas. He has taught at the University of Minnesota, Universidad Catolica in Montevideo, Uruguay and at the Czech Management Center in Celovice, Czech Republic. Dr. Zimmerman spent over 25 years in industry as an engineer, manager, vice president and president primarily with IBM, National Computer Systems and an NCS affiliate company CAMAX.

Cem Erdem is CEO of Augusoft, a software company he founded in Minneapolis upon immigrating to Minnesota from his native country Turkey 15 years ago. A leader in non-credit education Software as a Service (SaaS), Augusoft develops and maintains Lumens for the unique needs of continuing, community, corporate education and workforce development programs in the US and Canada. Cem recently unveiled his vision for Project Skyway — an “Innovation Center” to be launched in July of 2011.

“Entrepreneurs have the ability to see the challenge in disruptive technologies and view it as an opportunity.  If we nurture our entrepreneurs by serving them with resources, policies and practices that are helpful and if we guide them with careful voices of experience, they will lead us into a stronger Minnesota economy. TiE Minnesota’s dedication to Entrepreneurs and the critical importance for their participation in the discussion on Wednesday night, October 20th is evidenced in having created a “Start-up – pre-revenue” category for discounted registration for the event!” -TiE Minnesota

The doors will open at 6:00pm, allowing time to see the dynamic Base Camp facility, followed by a desert buffet and coffee at 6:30; the program will commence at 7pm and conclude at 9pm.  Startups are encouraged to register at the discounted registration price of $25 and early-bird tickets ($40) are still available through Friday, October 15th.