On Tuesday, September 17, around 130 people gathered at Queen City Bakery for the inaugural Startup Social.
Hosted by Startup Sioux Falls, the event was a social mixer for the entrepreneurial community.
“I wanted to gather the community and highlight all of the great resources that are available to small business owners and startup founders in our community,” said Startup Sioux Falls founder, Matt Paulson. “Lots of people want to start something, but they don’t know other entrepreneurs and they don’t know what’s out there to help them.”
The event began at 4 p.m with appetizers and drinks, and attendees were encouraged to mingle and meet new people.
Around 5 p.m., Paulson thanked Startup Sioux Falls’ sponsors, Tiger29, MSH Architects, Craig Computer Service, Susan CPA, and Eide Bailly. He then introduced several speakers who gave brief presentations about their organizations.
These included Jaime Wood of the Small Business Administration, Keith Deibert of South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutions, Tim Weelborg of the Enterprise Institute, Brienne Maner of the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, and Peter Shaw of SCORE.
Each spoke for several minutes about the opportunities and resources available for small businesses and startups, from assistance with business plans to networking and access to capital. All of the featured organizations have offices within the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, and they encourage people to reach out or even stop by in person.
Following the presentations, many attendees continued to network and meet fellow entrepreneurs.
The event was promoted widely on social media and received an impressive response. Attendees included students, entrepreneurs, and active members of the business community.
“It was great seeing so many likeminded people with similar passions and pursuits in one place,” said Emilie Nettinga, founder of Earmark Evaluations. “I’m working my way into getting more comfortable in large mixer environments, but I always find some really great, welcoming folks.”
Many attendees, like Nettinga, were fairly new to the networking scene and enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow business owners.
“We were thrilled with the turnout and how the event went,” said Maureen Ohm, Events Manager for Startup Sioux Falls. “Many people told us it was the first startup event that they attended.”
Based on the turnout and the momentum Startup Sioux Falls has seen, more events are in the works for the future.
“Our goal is to do some kind of startup event every other month. We are having the Innovation Expo conference next month and Hey Sioux Falls in November,” Ohm said. “In January, we’ll be doing a new event called Failure Fest, and we’ll probably do another Startup Social next March.”
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Check out photos from the event below, courtesy of Miranda Ochocki from Beyond Social.