October 6, 2022

Angel Activation Campaign to Expand with Federal Support

Investing in early-stage startup companies can be a mysterious, intimidating process for the most experienced of investors. Most don’t know where to start. To achieve our goal of increasing the number of companies raising early-stage capital in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, we also need to make it easier for some new investors to get engaged.

Over the past year, the Forge North Angel Activation Campaign has taken a collaborative approach to recruit angel investors across Minnesota. Led by Forge North Fellow Mickayla Rosard of Groove Investment Group, the campaign is taking a multi-pronged approach:

• A comprehensive new digital education hub is under construction. The hub will launch this winter with articles, videos, links, and other key information for potential angels
• Events like Angel Fest are providing key moments for prospective and emerging angels to dive deeper and connect with the region’s most experienced investors
• Intensive cohort-based experiences enable emerging angels to build their skills and their networks by engaging in educational programming in an intimate, peer-to-peer format

Early traction indicated this effort was long overdue in Minnesota. We also learned much more was possible. Now, thanks to new support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the campaign will be able to access $300,000 in new resources to intentionally expand outreach and engagement across the region, leveraging hundreds of thousands of private dollars in the process.

“We’re grateful to the EDA for recognizing the work that Forge North coalition members are doing together to grow the MSP startup ecosystem,” said Morris Goodwin, Jr., Forge North Managing Director at GREATER MSP. “This is one of several Forge North coalition projects designed to transform our region.”

The EDA “Build to Scale” program provides grants to U.S. regions that “aim to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital.” The Forge North coalition’s award will enable the Forge North coalition to:

• Create a content hub as Minnesota’s front door for angel investing with robust educational information that engages 1,000 accredited investors
• Expand events like Angel Fest as a signature Midwest angel convening to bring interested investors into the fold
• Expand cohort-based experiences for 50 Black, Brown, and Women angels through the Catalyst program in partnership with TechTown Detroit
• Accelerate awareness of the campaign with key stakeholders, from business groups to media

Over the next 3 years, partners will help recruit and train 200 new angels into Minnesota’s ecosystem, including an emphasis on reaching Black, Brown and Women angels. This will unlock millions of new investment dollars for scores of our region’s early-stage growth companies.

"The Angel Activation Campaign is a movement,’ said Mickayla Rosard. “We are changing the conversations, perceptions, and local culture around angel investing. In doing so, we are breaking down barriers, expanding who participates, and equipping individuals to be more savvy investors. Whether you are a current angel, interested community member, entrepreneurial support organization, or founder, everyone has their own role to play in this movement."

Watch for additional announcements this winter.