ConnectUP! MN Summit Addresses Equitable Access to Resources, Capital And Networks For Underestimated Entrepreneurs - Lioness Magazine
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ConnectUP! MN Summit Addresses Equitable Access To Resources, Capital And Networks For Underestimated Entrepreneurs

St. PAUL, MN — Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG) proudly announces the 2020 ConnectUP! MN Summit, March 13-14 at Metro State University in St. Paul. The Summit attracts almost 200 underestimated entrepreneurs and local investors from Minnesota and beyond for culturally responsive, action-driven workshops, deep-relationship building and cross-pollination of networks that otherwise would or could not connect through traditional network-building.

ConnectUP! bridges the 180 degrees of separation between investees and local investors as well as interactive sessions to connect, learn, partner and create local investment opportunities to foster growth for inclusive and thriving entrepreneur ecosystems. 

With an emphasis on racial equity, the Summit disrupts exceptionalism and the ‘race-to-one winner’ pitch-competition model, as well as powering investing into black, indigenous, immigrants, trans and rural founders.

“For years, I’ve been hearing that investors complaining that they want to invest in underestimated founders, but there isn’t enough deal flow of viable businesses,” said SISG Chief Executive Officer Y. Elaine Rasmussen. “I called bullshit, so I decided to create a target-rich environment of investment-ready Black and Brown founders to bust that myth. I also wanted to educate investors on how they can realign their traditional investment approach–which is most often centered in institutional racism, patriarchy and models of colonization … We can’t wait to talk ConnectUP! to other cities.” 

In its third year, ConnectUP! attracts leading business and community leaders across Minnesota and nationally. This year’s confirmed featured speakers include Global Minnesota President and former Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Community Reinvestment Fund’s Director of Community Advancement Anisha Murphy, J.D., and executive director of Social Venture Circle, Valerie Red-Horse Mohl. The Summit targets underestimated entrepreneurs (women, People of Color, rural-white and non-white, Native Americans, LGBTQ+) and local investors who want to want to connect with these communities. 

ConnectUP! is pleased to have Bush Foundation as its IPO Sponsor. Other ConnectUP! Summit sponsors include The Jay and Rose Phillips Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, Allianz, Bremer Bank, and Nexus Community Partners. These sponsors have demonstrated a priority to advancing racial equity and access to capital and supporting the  ConnectUP! Summit is one example of putting mission into practice. 

SISG Director of Strategic Partnerships Stephannie Lewis says, “We are grateful to the organizations that make it possible to put on such an impactful event each year is immense. They empower us to continue to address our communities’ needs.”