Guest Post: Answering Scott Case’s challenge to the Silicon Prairie
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Christian Renaud, Andy Stoll and Amanda Styron.
Andy Stoll is a social entrepreneur, media producer and founding partner at Seed Here, a social good startup working to grow the grassroots entrepreneurial and creative communities in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City region. Andy attended the Startup America Partnership Regional Leaders Summit in Nashville in October, as a representative of the Silicon Prairie.
Amanda Styron is a community-builder and founding partner at Seed Here, and she attended the the Startup America Partnership Regional Leaders Summit in Nashville in October, as a representative of the Silicon Prairie.
(Photos courtesy of Renaud, Stoll and Styron)
At Thinc Iowa in Des Moines last month, Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership and founding CTO of Priceline.com, described the mission of the Startup America Partnership. Initiated by the White House but operating as an independent, private-sector entity, the Startup America Partnership is dedicated to growing more resources for entrepreneurs in the areas of expertise, support services, talent, customers and capital.
Case talked briefly about Startup America’s efforts currently underway in states like Connecticut, Illinois and Tennessee to strengthen their entrepreneurial communities and grow the resources available for startups. These regions aren’t often noted when most think of traditional hotbeds of domestic startup activity like Austin, Boston, Boulder and the San Francisco Bay Area. Like the Silicon Prairie, these regions are experiencing a surge in entrepreneurial activity; are gaining prominence on the national startup scene; and are seeing mounting collaborative efforts to build out their entrepreneurial ecosystems.
In less than four years, since Silicon Prairie News began covering our entrepreneurial community, we've seen similar growth across the Prairie. We've seen deep connections made at Startup Drinks and TechBrews; new startups emerging at events like Pitch & Grows and Startup Weekends; and the exponential growth of annual flagship events like Thinc Iowa, Big Omaha and Think Big Kansas City.
Through the work of many, we are just now beginning to get the recognition and buzz we deserve as a region. We’ve seen traditionally-coastal venture firms begin to take notice of the growing startup scene in our region, and we’ve increasingly seen national publications feature Silicon Prairie-based startups, like Mindmixer, Hudl, Dwolla and Zaarly.
But there is still much work to be done…
With that in mind, we are calling the entire Prairie to action. A number of entrepreneurial advocates for our region have begun the process to get our states connected with The Startup America Partnership, to unlock more tools, resources and national recognition for entrepreneurs and startups in our region. A small group of dedicated entrepreneurs in Iowa are laying the ground work for Startup Iowa, and we’re encouraging our peers in other states to do the same.
As a first step, we’d like to answer the Scott Case Challenge: Register more Silicon Prairie startups with The Startup America Partnership than are registered in California. The current score is:
- Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas: 40 startups
- California: 194 startups
Startups can be at any stage of development, and the registration process not only unlocks resources intended to help entrepreneurs but also may result in more national and international exposure for your company.
The Startup America Partnership outlines three outcomes for participating startups. Screenshot from startupamericapartnership.com
Learn more about Startup America by watching the video (above) of Scott Case laying out his challenge to the Silicon Prairie at Thinc Iowa in Des Moines.