Google and CoCo are cohosting a day-long event today on entrepreneurship and innovation in Minneapolis, including speakers, workshops, and panels -- and I'm hanging out here right on through to the closing
happy-hour reception. It's just past lunchtime now, and I thought I'd punch out a post. The afternoon sessions will be split into two tracks: one for businesspeople, marketers, and creatives, and a second for developers and those interested in technology. (I'll be sitting in on the former.)
"Google for Entrepreneurs" is the specific group CoCo partnered with for this event. But, as of today, we know this partnership is going well beyond just today's activities. If you follow the Minnov8 site, where I also blog occasionally, you may have seen my story this morning: "CoCo Ties Up with Google." Big news for our town.
To understand what the GFE program is all about, Mary Grove, who heads it up, explains on this YouTube video. Essentially, it includes Programs, Events (today's not listed - haha, even Google can't keep its own pages updated!), Resources -- and you can guess that means tools and online resources like Apps, Adwords, G+ for Business, dev tools, Groups, free websites, consumer surveys, Google cloud platform, etc.
In this glowing Forbes article from September 2012, "Google Launches Global Entrepreneurs Initiative,"
the writer goes on to note what GFE isn't: "Google Entrepreneurs is not an incubator, an accelerator or a venture fund. It’s merely a connection to all of these things." I was particularly interested today in finding out what any connection might be to Google Ventures, the company's very own VC fund. (There is very little connection, it turns out, though they seem to fit under the same box on the org chart.) By the way, you may think you know Google Ventures, but get this -- it was recently ranked as the third most active VC firm in a study by CB Insights: "Google Grows Into a Venture Capital Power."
An interesting initiative you can find on the Google Ventures site is called Startup Lab. Not sure how that fits on with the "Google For Entrepreneurs" initiative, if at all, but there sure seems to be some overlap the way it's described. Note the web page says "we’re just getting started." Well, um, yes -- but their last blog post was July 2012. Hmmm. But they do have a current schedule of events, including several this month, all saying "at Startup Lab," which presumably means Mountain View (it doesn't say).
But Google marketing initiatives aside (which is essentially what GFE is), I'm hungering for some insight into other, related and developing Google news, How about you? Like this:
"To get products into more hands, Google will open its own stores by the end of the year" (9to5 Google)
"Report: Google to open retail stores in major US cities by yearend" (HuffingtonPost)
Could the big GOOG be planning a store in Minneapolis? As in downtown? Inquiring bloggers want to know…
I'd also like to ask Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak (who spoke at today's event) what he thinks about Mayor Bloomberg's announcement a couple days ago of a "We Are Made in NY" campaign to promote his city's startups: "NY mayor launches bid to help tech startups." I'm betting R.T.'s city probably doesn't have budget for digital billboards and bus ads hyping our "Made in Minneapolis" ventures. But then, we're a little smaller than NYC... and Bloomberg throws millions around like chump change.
In Minnesota, we don't do big, pushy campaigns about ourselves. We just talk about such stuff over coffee and cookies. Oh, and in blogs that no one in New York has probably ever seen or heard of.