Midwest Startup Focus: Minneapolis, Omaha

Kavita Kumar reported last week at the Minneapolis Star Tribune Online that, “Within the past year, the accelerator scene in the Twin Cities has taken off.

“There are now at least three boot-camp programs for early-stage firms up and running around town aimed at helping them overcome the odds and succeed in a market in which most start-ups fail. Meanwhile, others such as San Francisco-based Hax have started bringing their classes of start-ups here on field trips to make pitches.

“The draw?

In many cases, it’s because start-ups are looking to partner with major retailers such as Minneapolis-based Target Corp. and Richfield-based Best Buy to have them either carry their products or integrate their tech services. It also comes at a time when the number of start-ups has been exploding amid the growth in Internet of Things-related gadgets and shows like ‘Shark Tank’ that inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs.”

The Star Tribune article noted that, “There are many different kinds of accelerators. The traditional model is one in which investors offer deep mentorship and guidance through 10- to 13-week-long boot camps in which they help companies fine-tune their strategies and focus. The goal for start-ups is often to strengthen their business models and to secure more funding.”

Meanwhile, Steve Jordon reported this week at the Omaha World-Herald Online that, “Ideas, capital and hardworking, talented people.

Those ingredients are starting to turn Omaha into a fertile home for new businesses, according to three entrepreneurs recently named to one-year fellowships with Pipeline, a program with seminars, mentors and advisers to help startups succeed.”

Mr. Jordon explained that, “But all three said Omaha’s emerging startup environment is helping turn their ideas into profit-making, job-creating businesses that could reach national and even international markets.”

The article added that, “The Midwest and Nebraska got a late start in the tech startup arena, said Dr. Rod Markin, executive director of UneTech, a joint business incubator effort by the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“‘But we’re getting there,’ Markin said. ‘A lot of people are interested in seeing Nebraska develop as a tech space for this part of the country.'”

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