January 31, 2020

New MSP Startup Compass Helps Entrepreneurs Navigate 500+ Local Resources

Starting and scaling a venture can be both rewarding and fun. But it certainly isn’t easy. Fortunately, founders and their teams don’t have to go it alone here in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. There are more than 500 formal resources available in our community, from accelerator programs, to funds and competitions, events and trainings, mentor networks and so much more.

However, it turns out these resources can feel a bit scattered. Every startup’s journey is unique, and entrepreneurs can spend far too long discovering a resource that was here waiting for them all along. Partners in the Forge North coalition wanted to help reduce that friction and make the search for solutions a bit easier and a lot more transparent.

Consider the founder and their team. Depending on the solutions their venture provides, the industry they are in, the stage they are at, the next big hurdle they are facing, and countless other factors, they don’t need just any resource. They need the right ones at the right times.

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul startup ecosystem is changing every day. With so many new resources, it can be hard to keep up – even for the professionals who lead many of these programs, funds, events, co-working spaces, and more. These leaders share some of the same pain points when referring startup teams to other resources besides their own.

As it turns out, the team at Startup Space was thinking through the same problems. Through One Million Cups and the network of the Kauffman Foundation, Forge North team members met entrepreneur David Ponraj. David, Lily Shaw, and the entire Startup Space team have been working tirelessly to help thousands of entrepreneurs make better, quicker connections across 150 cities and 60 countries.

Working together, we’ve been busy customizing and populating this tool for our own community, with 537 unique local resources listed. We have already made improvements based on the first thousand users testing the experience. Now, we’re excited to officially launch and promote this expanded MSP Startup Compass.

Our commitment is to continually improve this community resource while making it free and available to all. Users can not only search for a local resource, but also find events, follow news, and use the tool to ask questions. It’s available through your browser or via an app.

In addition to helping entrepreneurs make quicker connections, we’re also aiming to help local leaders throughout the ecosystem by enabling them to more easily share their latest offerings and even embed the Compass within their own websites. (Special thanks to the Social Enterprise Alliance, Small Business Administration, Social Impact Strategies Group, and EdNorth for helping pilot the tool within their own websites and networks.) And additional thanks to the Bush Foundation for investing in this ecosystem building work.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get connecting.