Running a startup is stressful. Even if you have a great team, being responsible for so many moving parts, not knowing exactly what to focus your energy into at this very moment, constantly networking and not knowing if the connections you’re making are going to lead to something productive — it can be exhausting. We recently talked with two members of the latest Fueled Collective cohort, and they explained how the experience has eased their minds and given them more confidence in their business.
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Empowerment is often defined as, “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.” For young girls in our culture, it is sometimes difficult to find the empowerment to embrace their more technical side. But it is getting easier, and this is in big part to the work done by Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC).
Organized in 2013, and run through the MN State IT Center of Excellence, MNAiC and its adjacent programs have empowered hundreds of young ladies to embrace their love of tech and pursue schooling and employment in our state’s growing tech industry. They do this through the teaching of in-demand tech skills, providing mentorship and peer support, and connecting students to internship and job-shadow opportunities.
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With drive and determination, you can accomplish a whole lot in five years. Since the first Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW) in 2014, BETA has accomplished some incredible feats. Helping over 100 startups come to life through their incubator program, and accelerating TCSW to become the 2nd largest startup week in the world are just two vectors. One of the secrets to BETA’s overall success is co-founder and current Executive Director, Reed Robinson. He has been a major force for good for founders throughout Minnesota, and has worked diligently for the last year and a half, readying BETA to a stable state where it can be passed on to a new leader who can take it and grow even further; And that time is now.
Robinson will be voluntarily stepping back into a Board of Directors position, and BETA will be hiring their next Executive Director to take things to a new level. This will most likely be a lengthy process, and Robinson knows that going in. He will continue to fulfill the ED duties until the right person is found for the position, ensuring that no gaps in services or programming occur.
BETA is just coming off of an incredibly successful startup week, and Robinson hopes to be able to leverage that energy to really identify the people who are passionate about the startup community. “The next Executive Director is going to be someone who is passionate about the startup space, obviously, but they also need to uphold the values of the people we serve — the founders.” Robinson explained that having a deep understanding of the needs and issues that founders face is critical in making sure the programming at BETA is fulfilling and meaningful to the future founders who will come to their programs for assistance. Robinson is confident that the organization is in a good position to be handed off, and that this is a great opportunity for the right person to come in and accept the challenge.
The BETA Board of Directors is considering both internal and external candidates for this role, and are seeking an individual who can double the number of startups served, as well as identify new sources of funding over the next 3-5 years, all while growing and managing a staff to facilitate that growth. Robinson is confident that they will be able to find the right person, and that BETA will continue to successfully serve new founders and the startup community into the future. Anyone interested should read through their job posting, and follow the specific instructions to apply.
The final numbers and metrics from this year’s TCSW are now coming together, and TECHdotMN will be highlighting some of the major takeaways in weeks to come. We want to thank Reed Robinson for his incredible contributions as Executive Director, wish BETA much continued growth and prosperity, and look forward to our continued partnership in community-building.
Working in a nonprofit usually means finding alternative ways to make things happen. Employees typically wear multiple hats, and projects are pulled together on a shoestring budget. What normally isn’t lacking are passion and dedication. Tech Impact Day, coordinated by Hands-on Twin Cities, brings together nonprofits that need some kind of technical problem solved, and pro bono technologists willing to help them find a solution. This combination results in techies getting to do what they do best, and nonprofits getting the tools they need, so they can focus on helping more on their mission. Win-win.
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November 2, Graveti: MN will be hosting their 2nd annual Graveti Summit. If you’re unfamiliar with the group, it was started by Alex Rodriguez, with a mission to expose underrepresented groups to the tech and startup scene in the Twin Cities. Rodriguez started the group while he was serving as the 2016 Google Entrepreneur in Residence for Minneapolis. Focused primarily on people of color, Rodriguez and his team host monthly meetups which introduce successful entrepreneurs to the larger community, provide pitch event opportunities for members, and give them a chance to regularly connect and network with each other.
The stats on women in tech continue to look discouraging in 2019 with only 25 percent of computing jobs held by women, and turnover among those women more than twice as high as it was for men, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Technovation[MN] wants to change those stats by giving girls hands-on, entrepreneurial experience, and they’ve selected Lisa Schlosser to help them from her new Executive Director role.