The Cedar Rapids entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial scene is accelerating


I’m not the most qualified to write about the acceleration of the startup scene scene in Cedar Rapids, let that be clear. But dabbling on the fringe while taking an intrapreneurial approach in my day job for awhile has me excited for the growth and creativity happening here.

The acceleration was on display recently with more than 100 people playing some role in Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids. It will only gain momentum with the launch of the Iowa Startup Accelerator in August and the expansion of the Vault coworking space, both of which will call the new Geonetric building home.

It was hard not to get caught up in the emotion and excitement of Startup Weekend. It’s been more than a week now to let the high fade a bit to reflect on what’s happening here and the possibilities.

Since then, I’ve had conversations on an intrapreneurial track for EntreFest 2014 and met with startup weekend team members on Major Trading Cards. I’m currently taking in all that is SXSW Interactive, including a meetup of Iowa entrepreneurs.

Three things in particular stick out from my experiences the past two weeks that apply to both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs that speaks to the heart of the acceleration process I mentioned earlier.

Create a culture around solving a problem – Fear is a big thing to overcome in a 130-year-old media company. I see this mentality in the small team I work with everyday and it’s one of the reasons Startup Weekend was an invaluable experience for me. Solving a problem is fun and it brings people together. The question for me to help answer is how can we spread that message by example at the enterprise level.

Experiment fast and cheap – The digital world gives us access to real-time data and feedback. What more do you want? There is no more waiting six to nine months to launch something and hoping it’s perfect. Think Launch. Test. Iterate.

Celebrate success and failures – It’s that Midwest humble mentality that bites us sometimes. The more we talk about the good things (and the bad) that are happening in the startup and intrapreneurial community in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City the more it will spread and create the kind of high I came away with from Startup Weekend.

More of my thoughts on Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids

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