Silicon Valley and Silicon Prairie are ready to meet.
On Wednesday, February 20, coworking and collaborative space CoCo
hosted a major kickoff with new partner Google for Entrepreneurs, announcing a two-year schedule of events, conferences, and social mixers at CoCo's Minneapolis office.
Focusing on technology and startups, the events are aimed at boosting entrepreneurship in the state, and draw on Google's extensive history of innovation and development. The company's Google for Entrepreneurs
initiative was created to support entrepreneurs worldwide, and boasts an array of successful programs already, including Campus London, Women on the Web, and The New Orleans Community Leaders Program. The company even provides guidance and training for child entrepreneurs with Lemonade Day, a nonprofit that teaches children how to start and operate their own businesses.
John Lyman, Entrepreneurship Manager at Google, remarked in a release that the company believes entrepreneurship drives innovation and economic growth. "We see that happening in Minnesota and particularly at CoCo," he noted.
An announcement about the local partnership was made during an all-day conference at CoCo that began with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak talking about innovation and entrepreneurship. The jam-packed event was free, but filled up quickly, as tech leaders and aspiring business owners jockeyed for a spot at one of the afternoon's sessions with visiting Google employees.
A full 2013 event schedule is still being finalized, and will be released soon, but CoCo did give a glimpse of what's to come. The event series will include affinity and user groups, including Google Developers Group Twin Cities, Android Users Group of Minnesota, and House of Cards, as well as one-day and multi-day conferences. Social and networking events will also play a large role in the partnership, with a particular focus on connecting startup founders with mentors.
Also slated are classes and educational sessions, including online-only instruction geared toward appealing to entrepreneurs across Minnesota who may be far flung from CoCo's office space.
The event series will rely on Google technology, including Google+ Hangouts
, a video conferencing app that allows users to connect directly to multiple participants, or to broadcast an event through Google+, a YouTube channel, and a website. The app also lets users record the broadcast so that it can be shared later.
In a release, CoCo founding partner Kyle Coolbroth noted, "This partnership with Google will allow us to continue to expand our mission of creating a robust community of individuals pursuing the work of their dreams."
Writer: Elizabeth Millard