Scenes from Silicon North Stars inaugural Minnesota Demo Day
Over 100 joined last week on August 3rd at CoCo in downtown Minneapolis to mix and mingle with the next generation of Minnesota techies. Sixteen Minneapolis/St.Paul high school students formed four teams to address a social issue using technology for the annual Silicon North Stars Demo Day.
This year though, something was different; rather than head out west to Silicon Valley as they had prior, organizers opted to stay local for the demo day portion to keep students closer to family, friends, and their own tech community.
They still got their Silicon Valley fix, spending a week out there only to return home for the finale at CoCo.
This year’s executive decision was just about being rational, “…we wanted to give them the opportunity to share their startup ideas with their own communities,” said Steve Grove, Silicon North Stars co-creator. “It’s particularly relevant since the challenge we give students every year is related to something happening in the Twin Cities, so the startups they create in response to that challenge will be very relevant for a Minnesota crowd.”
“It was fantastic to see so many parents and guardians come out to support the students” Program Manager Garrio Harrison adds — making the key connection around family, and the role it plays in development and direction of a child’s life decisions.
“The experience of the students being encouraged and supported by familiar faces wouldn’t have been possible if we weren’t doing it here in the city.”
The winning team, “Cultural Reality”, offered an idea for local communities to embrace virtual reality as a means of creating empathy for others, specifically immigrants.
Moving forward, Silicon North Stars plans to continue to replicate the Silicon Valley Demo Day locally while continuing to connect participants with the Minnesota’ tech community through guest speakers, office tours and mentorship.