The Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium may be behind us, but this community stays busy hosting guests all year round. While October is a fantastic time to visit Minneapolis-Saint Paul for events like Twin Cities Startup Week, Food Ag Ideas, MANOVA Summit, and BITCON, April is a busy month as well. And in addition to global conferences like The Forum on Workplace Inclusion and can’t miss events like Minnebar, two innovation events will visit for the first time.

The International Conference on Business Incubation is a global convening of hundreds of leaders supporting entrepreneurs in their communities through business incubators, accelerators, and related programming. These ecosystem builders will convene in Minneapolis for multiple days. They’ll nearly overlap with attendees of the nearby OnRamp Insurance Conference, the leading event for insurance innovation, connecting hundreds of founders, investors, corporate innovators, and collaborators. Visitors will learn that, yes, the Startup Capital of the North can still experience cold air and snowfall in April. But what they may find more surprising is a hub of technology and startup activity that is alive with a spirit of collaboration and fueled by people who solve the world’s biggest problems by working together.

A preview of each event reveals what conference organizers learned when they began to explore our local ecosystem. Namely, that it is overflowing with talent. Consider all the local leaders that visitors will meet, just a small sample of the diverse array of innovators who call this place home. They’ll find executive leaders from companies including Fortune 500’s like Securian, 3M, and Thrivent, as well as Allianz Life, and founders from startups like Upsie, Sezzle, YouSurance, Players Health, SportsEngine, Recovree, Structural, We Sparkle, Social Impact Strategies Group, Starting 11, Monicat Data, and Team Dynamics.

They’ll discover leading organizations like MEDA that helps minority entrepreneurs succeed and AURI that helps food entrepreneurs bring new products to market. And they’ll hear from directors of local incubators & accelerators like Techstars Farm-to-Fork, Gener8tor, Lunar Startups, Clean Tech Open, University Enterprise Labs, and Midwest Pantry. And investors from funds like Rise of the Rest and Capita3. The guests will be introduced to industry associations like Medical Alley and the Minnesota High Tech Association and conveners of communities like Grow North, Connect Up! MN, One Million Cups, Minnovation Collective, and Social Enterprise Alliance.

They’ll also learn from philanthropic partners like the Bush Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and the Minnesota Initiative Foundations. And they’ll get to hear about and even tour innovative spaces and places like Osborn370, Discovery Square, Finnegan’s, James J. Hill Center, The Good Acre. and more. If you’re among those Minnesotans who are speaking at, volunteering with, or attending one of these events, be sure to share something you’re excited about in our community, whether it’s the problems we’ve already solved or the ones we’re solving next. You might find a bit of inspiration in this passport to our ecosystem.

Matt Lewis is the Director of Make It. MSP. at the GREATER MSP Partnership.

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