Written by the organizers of Twin Cities StartupWeekend EDU ( May 2nd – 4th)
On May 2nd, the Twin Cities kicks off their first-ever Startup Weekend EDU, bringing together Minnesota’s educators, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, and other business professionals through their passion about making a positive impact on education. In just 54 hours, participants share ideas, form teams, design products and launch education start-ups.
Our organizing team has had the good fortune to be involved with StartupWeekend EDU efforts across LA, Chicago, NYC and Phoenix (coming April 25th – 27th) and have been greatly impressed by the strong interest and support in the Twin Cities. This should come as no surprise as the Twin Cities offers one of the richest education innovation ecosystems in the world.
As noted in a recent post on Educelerate, the Twin Cities is home to a leading number of the country’s largest, innovative education companies, including our sponsors at ECMC, Pearson Vue and Capella University as well as other local leaders like Edmentum, Atomic Learning, JAMF Software, Scantron and Walden University. Former employees of past players like MECC and NCS have helped start some of these current champions, but, without any formal accelerator or incubator programs (even in general technology), the Twin Cities needs further efforts like StartupWeekend Education to continue to create and support new start-ups.
The local MedTech ecosystem provides an excellent blueprint as does the pioneering work in K-12 from TIES (which helped start MECC) and the local Educelerate Twin Cities, but, we hope that StartupWeekend EDU can become a recurring organizational point to draw new talent and ideas into our education markets. Indeed, while Minnesota school teacher Eric Nelson travelled to Chicago for last fall’s SWEDU to get his start-up Fantasy Geopolitics off the ground, this year he will be serving as a mentor with us in the Twin Cities.
The first step takes place the weekend of May 2nd at the Gary Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Purchase your ticket here to join a team and work with our mentors, coaches and organizational team, made up of former educators, entrepreneurs and investors, including: Steve Wellvang (co-founder of Educelerate and former general counsel at ECMC), Christopher Nyren (founder of Educated Ventures and Educelerate), Kristin Daniels (education technology consultant at TIES) and Nathan Koering (channel director at Atomic Learning). Please also consider joining us for our SWEDU Prevue and Founder’s Stories Meetup on April 16th featuring the prominent Twin Cities education entrepreneurs behind GuideK12, Atomic Learning, NAIKU and Sophia Learning.