Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: St. Paul, MN

St.Paul, MN

Home to the Minnesota’s government, St. Paul is both a political and financial hub for the American Midwest.

St. Paul, MN is the state’s capital and second-most populous city, behind only fellow Twin City Minneapolis. Home to the state’s government, St. Paul is both a political and financial hub for the American Midwest. Together, the Twin Cities are the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the country and are home to a number of major companies as well as a thriving entrepreneurship scene.

Both of the Twin Cities appeared on WalletHub’s 2019 rankings of the best large cities to start a business: Minneapolis at 40 and St. Paul at 75. Together, the cities appeared at ninth on the same site’s list of the best metropolitan areas for STEM professionals. Business.org also ranked the pair of cities well on two 2018 lists: sixth on the list of best cities for women to start a business and third on the list of the best cities for entrepreneurship in general.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up St. Paul’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The Minnesota Entrepreneurs networking group hosts a number of regular meetings and other events to support the local entrepreneurship scene.

By holding events every few months, the Minnesota Tech Startups & Entrepreneurs group aims to support technology startups in the Twin Cities.

Entrepreneurs in St. Paul and Minneapolis can attend regular roundtable networking events to meet one another and make connections that will help them grow their businesses.

By hosting networking meetings every Tuesday, the New Hope for your Business networking group supports area entrepreneurs and their startups.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The St. Paul branch of 1 Million Cups hosts weekly events in which entrepreneurs can network with one another and present their startups.

The IMPACT Conference, held annually in St. Paul, is an event based around sustainable entrepreneurship and business.

The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a number of events designed to support small business and entrepreneurship.

Every year, a number of entrepreneurship events, workshops and conferences take place in the Twin Cities over a five-day period known as Twin Cities Startup Week.

 

Startup Competitions:

Organized by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, the MN Cup is a statewide entrepreneurship competition.

The finals of the Meda Million Dollar Challenge, a nationwide Shark Tank-style competition for minority entrepreneurs, takes place during Twin Cities Startup Week.

Students at the University of St. Thomas can compete in the university’s business plan competition for a grand prize of $10,000 cash.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Evolve Workplace offers traditional co-working space as well as private offices and conference rooms for rent.

With one location in St. Paul and several more in Minneapolis, Fueled Collective offers a number of membership levels and amenities.

In addition to offering a wide variety of membership plans, Wellworth also hosts regular events to help with its members personal and professional growth.

Work it is a co-working space in St. Paul that offers active workspaces that allow its members to work at a desk while remaining active.

 

Makerspaces:

The St. Paul Public Library offers the area access to its Innovation Lab, a makerspace with small-scale manufacturing equipment and software.

The Minnesota Tool Library has locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis that allow members to check out over 2,400 tools and access their workshops.

The Nordeast Makers makerspace offers members 24/7 access to their tools and equipment as well as access to free 1-on-1 training.

 

Incubators:

Gia Kitchen is a community of food entrepreneurs and kitchen incubator that works to help St. Paul-based food startups grow and develop.

Impact Hub Minneapolis-St. Paul is a co-working space that also provides support and other resources to startups.

Based in St. Paul, the Neighborhood Development Center runs a number of business incubator programs across the Twin Cities.

Located between St. Paul and Minnesota, UEL is an incubator for early-stage technology companies, especially life sciences, healthcare, and agriculture.

 

Accelerators:

A program of the nationally-ranked gener8tor accelerator, the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator is a Twin Cities-based program for innovative insurance startups.

Among the accelerator programs organized by Techstars is the Farm to Fork Accelerator, an agriculture program based in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.

TinySeed, which claims to be the first accelerator designed for “bootstrappers,” is a year-long remote program for early-stage software startups.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Metropolitan State University offers students both a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Across the city border in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota’s Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship boasts a variety of entrepreneurship opportunities for its students.

The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business organizes a wide variety of entrepreneurial resources for its students.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Brightstone Venture Capital invests in early-stage startups, placing a particular focus on those in the technology and life sciences sectors.

Based in Minneapolis, Gopher Angels is a group that aims to invest primarily in startups based around the state.

Matchstick Ventures is a venture capital company with offices in the Twin Cities and Boulder that invest primarily in those locations as well as nationally.

The goal of the Twin Cities Angels is to grow the local entrepreneurship scene, which they do by investing in technology startups within 300 miles of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Finance & Commerce’s Morning Memo is an email newsletter sent out every weekday covering business and entrepreneurship in the Twin Cities.

The Twin Cities’ Business Journal offers a number of email newsletters covering varying facets of business and entrepreneurship in the area.

Twin Cities Business Magazine offers a wide variety of newsletters focusing on different aspects of the business scene in St. Paul and Minneapolis

Are you familiar with the entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in St. Paul not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI, Detroit, MI


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.