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We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the 2015 Innovation Summit, which was organized by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. The event showcased the region’s best and brightest companies and organizations with an emphasis on innovation throughout the St. Cloud community.

I admittedly came into the event a little unprepared– I knew the basics of where I needed to be and when, but that was it. When I arrived, I was blown away by the range of everything on display. The expo floor covered the majority of the Haws room at the River’s Edge Convention Center and included robots, drones, and electric cars. It was incredible to see the amount of innovation happening in our community, and shattered any expectations I had.

The expo was followed by the presentation of the I-Awards and nine different speakers from around the community covering topics such as GREAT Theatre’s impact on the community, agriculture, the development of downtown lofts, conflict resolution, and Startup Weekend St. Cloud coach, Carter Tatge, speaking on the ‘how’ of doing things.

There are so many talented people buzzing around central Minnesota and they all congregated in downtown St. Cloud this morning. It was incredible to see over 500 members of the community come out and support innovation. Even more exciting was the fact that so many established companies supported the event and are continuing to foster innovation in the community. Startup Weekend St. Cloud sponsors DAYTA Marketing, Granite Equity Partners, eBureau, St. Cloud State, and Microbiologics all played a large part in making this event a success and are also the driving force behind Startup Weekend St. Cloud.

The Innovation Summit made us all incredibly excited for what is to come. We’re hoping to harness some of the creative energy in the coming weeks with Startup Weekend and Startup Drinks. The driving force behind these events is to create an outlet for people to innovate and connect with other innovators.

Innovation is alive and well here. Let’s keep it going.

Sam LaBine