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Startup Foundation pilot program ends

The eight-city "Startup Foundation" pilot program aimed at developing an institutional presence dedicated to startup communities in places like Des Moines ended …

The eight-city “Startup Foundation” pilot program aimed at developing an institutional presence dedicated to startup communities in places like Des Moines ended this month. Organized by the national team behind Startup Weekend, the Startup Foundation got its initial funding from the Kansas City, Mo.-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Early this summer, Startup Weekend’s organizers approached me to lead the local version, the Des Moines Startup Foundation, and we agreed to bring management of that institution under the auspices of Silicon Prairie News.

Selfishly, I was particulary excited that Des Moines was chosen as one of the pilot cities, alongside larger counterparts Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Sao Paulo, Brazil (Las Vegas joined shortly after launch and provided their own funding) and that we had the opportunity to participate. 

The Startup Foundation was always a work in progress, iterating weekly, up until the eventual decision by the organizers to end the formal program. I want to thank them for recognizing the Silicon Prairie as one of the locations to test their model and for the opportunities to compare notes with startup community organizers around the country.

Some works of the Startup Foundation have been folded back in to Startup Weekend and you’ll see them locally and abroad in the form of “SW Next,” a program that provides additional training and insights on how to turn Startup Weekend ideas into reality, and “Startup Weekend Bootcamps,” which are designed to help Startup Weekend attendees develop their technical skills so they can jump head-first into Startup Weekend projects. One output you can access now is the ecosystem map for Des Moines at, a local index of programs and initiatives related to our entrepreneurial ecosystem.


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