To engage a larger pool of Minnesota's creative community, the organizers of Twin Cities Startup Week added events in the arts, fashion and music, along with pop-up shops where entrepreneurs can showcase and sell consumer-related products.
The week began Friday and continues through Sept. 24.
"Our arts and culture focus and track was a manifestation of trying to do a better job at celebrating all innovators, all creative entrepreneurs and to be more inclusive of who is truly an innovator and who is an entrepreneur," said Kelly Schultze, managing director of Beta, the nonprofit organization behind Startup Week.
There will also be a music festival at First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.
"I think it will take Startup Week to the next level and get a whole new audience engaged in the week that we haven't had in the past," Schultze said.
There will also be a discussion with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter on ways to bring their respective cities forward into the future, and an event highlighting the resiliency of local restaurants during the pandemic.
Last year, about 8,000 people registered for Twin Cities Startup Week, which was done virtually due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In 2019, about 15,000 people attended the event, which first began in 2014.
Twin Cities Startup Week is the second-largest startup week series in the U.S. behind Denver. Its growth has much to do with the amount of Fortune 500 companies invested in its continuation, Casey Shultz, Beta's executive director, said. This year's edition is largely financially supported by Target Corp., 3M Co. and JPMorgan Chase.
"If you're interested in health care, or food and ag, or education, we have content and thought leaders from every industry in the world," Shultz said.
A recent report by StartupBlink, an Israel-based innovation research center, in partnership with San Francisco private company data firm Crunchbase, ranks the Twin Cities as the 43rd-best startup ecosystem on the planet, and 15th in the U.S. The ranking is based on the number of startups, co-working spaces and accelerators in a given metro, the quality of those startups, how many are employed by startups, how much investment capital they've raised and overall business environment.
In 2020, Minneapolis was No. 50 on that list.