Business pitch competitions are essential to grow and foster innovation and fuel entrepreneurial growth, an important part of the strategy for Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square in downtown Rochester, Minnesota.
Twenty-five biomedical companies will compete in the sixth annual Walleye Tank pitch competition on Friday, December 7, 2018 in Rochester at the Mayo Clinic Medical Science Building in Mann Hall. Ranging from concepts in the idea stage to established companies raising seed financing, these life science businesses are all pushing the boundaries of innovation by tackling unmet medical needs.
Ranked as one of the Top Ten Cities for Entrepreneurs by Livability in 2018, Rochester is not a stranger to innovation. Spark DJ is a Rochester-based music streaming service co-founded by John Boss and James Jones. The duo utilizes artificial intelligence to power their Spark DJ mobile application and deliver personalized music directly to smartphones nationwide, offering users a musical experience tailored specifically to their preferences. Spark DJ was recently selected as one of only ten startups to participate in the 2018 Techstars Music Class.
DMC recently connected with co-founder John Boss to find out more about the business and why Rochester is a great place to launch a startup of your own.
Funding has long been considered the fuel that propels a startup from the idea phase to becoming an income-generating enterprise. But for participants in the MN Cup startup competition, the mentorship and business advice can be just as valuable.
As the largest statewide startup competition in the country, MN Cup supports emerging entrepreneurs from across the state through events, educational programming, and it’s widely-recognized annual competition, now in its 14th year. The Cup is a program of the Holmes Center at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Last year, more than 1,300 teams and individuals applied to the competition in hopes of tapping into the tools, resources, and support the organization provides to help launch and accelerate these new ventures.
Well-told stories are one of the most powerful communication tools we can use in business. They help others better understand us, our work, and our purpose. They allow us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. And, for entrepreneurs, they give us a platform to share our successes and failures – and learn from one another.
Amanda Leightner is the founder of Rochester Rising, a website dedicated to telling the stories of the rise of entrepreneurship in Rochester. DMC spent some time with Amanda recently to learn more about her passion for sharing the stories of innovators and what advice she would give to someone considering a future in America’s City for Health.
A global destination for health and wellness, Rochester is home to many innovative healthcare entrepreneurs.
Brothers Scott and Eric Snyder launched their personalized medicine business, Geneticure, in Minnetonka in 2014. But four years later, the Rochester-born siblings recognized the mounting opportunity in their hometown as a result of Destination Medical Center and expanded the business to Rochester. The group originally occupied space in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator but recently moved to their own location now operating out of the offices above Grand Rounds Brewing Company in downtown Rochester.
DMC sat down with Scott Snyder, Geneticure’s CEO, to learn more about the company and its decision to return to its Rochester roots.
As we transition into another year, it is a prime opportunity to examine the state of the Rochester entrepreneurial community, take stock of our achievements over the past year, examine our losses, and assess the future direction of this city’s innovation sector.
2017 brought several significant ongoing programs to Rochester. February saw the launch of 1 Million Cups Rochester, a monthly educational program for entrepreneurs that takes place in 163 communities across the United States. This event gave fourteen different Rochester startups the opportunity to share their story and gain input from the community on pressing business issues.
Ranked as the 16th Best College Town in America by Business Insider, southeastern Minnesota’s reputation for talent development is recognized nationally. But what’s not as widely known is the unique collaboration taking place between higher education and the business community to help address the area’s growing workforce needs.
Now, with construction for DMC’s signature Discovery Square building officially underway, working together to ensure Rochester has the skilled workforce to meet the needs of the region is becoming increasingly important.
DMC is partnering with Winona State University-Rochester to conduct research into the gaps that currently exist in the local educational offerings and how to be intentional about filling those gaps as we develop future programming, specifically related to entrepreneurialism.
From coffees to keynotes, there have been an array of activities throughout the week of November 13-17 to fit everyone’s interests and schedules. “This year’s events really continued to grow what we started five years ago,” says Jamie Sundsbak, community manager of Collider Coworking and GEW Roch organizer. “We’ve provided networking, educational events, and inspiring speakers to celebrate entrepreneurs throughout the region.”
One such event was hosted by DMC on Monday, November 13. “Doing Business Globally: A Cultural Perspective” featured Dr. Peter J. Stark, an expert in international business strategies. Stark helped attendees navigate the unfamiliar terrain often encountered when conducting business abroad. “Doing business internationally is about more than understanding the cultural norms,” Chris Schad, DMC’s Senior Strategy Consultant, explains. “Dr. Stark provided insight on a variety of issues to consider when engaging in business with other countries.”
To help these complementary efforts succeed, RAEDI recently launched the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, which was spearheaded by J2G back in 2015 when the group recognized that one of the primary barriers for startups was the lack of local angel financing.