CIO Corner 10/10 - 11/26
IT Talent Hard To Find In The Twin Cities

MN Biz Scene 10/10 - 11/26

Minnesota Still A Player In Biotech - October 7

Depending on your definition Minnesota is in the biotech game according to this Business Journal article. From the article:

Sure, state spending on biotech initiatives lags big states (and even small neighbors like Wisconsin). But local biotech advocates say Minnesota has plenty of biotech muscle outside the areas that most people consider "biotech" -- genetic research and biological pharmaceuticals.

Instead, the state's biggest biotech opportunities could come from strong existing industries such as agribusiness, energy and medical technology.

The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota is working on an assessment of the states capabilities in biotech. Also mentioned in the article is the new incubator, University Enterprise Laboratories.

Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, Border Battle - October 15

For those around the country not familiar with the rivalry between the two states let me help you. A Vikings vs. Packers game for a few hours splits families and marriages. The sports rivalry between universities is high. Football and hockey games actually use the phrase “Border Battle”

So this article from the Pioneer Press, coincidentally the same day of the Gophers vs. Badgers football game, about each state and its business groups crossing the border and trying to recruit back to their state.

Bill Gates Attends Schulze School Gala - October 17

Bill Gates accepted an invitation form Richard Schulze, CEO of Best Buy, to the inauguration of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. This article from the Star Tribune has a good biography on Richard Schulze.

Bill Gates mentioned that he does not shy away from hiring someone who has run a failed business. He also spoke about how leadership and leaders are built during a crisis situation.

Richard Schulze and Bill Gates also did a Q&A moderated by Ann Winblad, CEO of Winblad Venture Capital. Ann is a St. Thomas grad.

Minneapolis, U of M, And Five Local Companies Rank High For Commuting - October 20

Best Work Places for Commuters, sponsored in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation, is a new public-private sector voluntary program advocating employer-provided commuter benefit has high marks for our area.

Minneapolis ranked with the number of and incentives for car pools, the number of bike racks and lockers, and one of the “…most comprehensive bicycle lane systems in the country.”

The University of Minnesota is cited for its many programs to reduce traffic. With some 80,000 people going to or through campus on any given day the area is the third largest traffic generator in the state.

The five local companies listed are Best Buy, CenterPoint Energy, Ecolab, Guidant, and Xerox.

Business Journal lists its 2005 Fastest Growing Private Companies - October 21

Business Journal is out with the 50 fastest growing privately held companies, based on revenue growth over the previous three years.

The Growth 50 list includes manufacturers, bankers, retailers, high-tech and med-tech companies, security professionals and restaurant management firms. Together, these 50 Twin Cities companies had more than $1.7 billion in revenue and averaged 141 percent growth.

Twin Cities Hits Venture Capital Low Water Mark - October 25, 2005

OK, so I just said in a previous post that venture capital, more like too much of it, is not a good thing. But not having enough also is a negative because good ideas cannot be developed and then brought to market.

The 3rd quarter MoneyTree Survey reports that the number of deals is the lowest since 1995 and dollars raised was the lowest in two years.

The survey as whole, all states, showed more deals and dollars than the same time year ago.

More Investment Dollars For Minnesota Health Care Start-Ups - October 28

The bad news is the dollar amount could and should be larger than it is. The good news is that the health care companies are gaining share of the dollars, particularly in Minnesota. For more information click on this press release from BioEnterprise.

The State Of Venture Capital In The Twin Cities - November 3

St. Paul Pioneer Press has a great article regarding venture capital investing in the Twin Cities. After the 3rd quarter MoneyTree Survey there was much concern regarding the state of investing in local companies. This also coincides with the 19th Annual Minnesota Venture Finance Conference that was held November 2 & 3.

Our area is fortunate to have quite a few seasoned VC firms. The issue is not mid to late stage funding but the seed stage. $50,000 is hard to come by in our area and this article does a good job talking about the issues.

Tekne Awards Announced - November 10

Star Tribune and Business Journal both had write-ups following the Tekne Awards, which are sponsored by the Minnesota High Tech Association and Minnesota Technology. More than 1,000 people attended the gala.

10 Minnesota Companies Make The 2005 DeloitteTechnology Fast 500 - November 10

Congratulations to the following companies for making the list: Mulitband, Alebra Technologies, MGI Pharma, MakeMusic!, Shavlik Technologies, Digital River, Enpath Medical, Convey Compliance Systems, Vascular Solutions, and Possis Medical.

Minnesota Companies Rank Among Most Charitable - November 14

There are many reasons to like doing business in Minnesota but this is my favorite one, corporate responsibility. Forbes reports on The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which conducts an annual survey of cash and product donations by U.S. companies.

Hats off to Target Corporation of Minneapolis for donating the most cash as a percentage of earnings. Other Minnesota companies to make the list are 3M, Best Buy, Honeywell, Supervalu, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.

Fortune’s 2005 Blue Ribbon Companies - November 14

Every year Fortune does seven or so lists of top companies with varying criteria. In order to achieve “Blue-Ribbon” status a company must appear on at least four. Minnesota is well represented. It’s worth noting that many of these companies also appear on the previously mentioned charitable list.

Those HQ’d here:

Best Buy, General Mills, 3M, Honeywell (well sort of HQ’d here), Medtronic, and Target.

Those with a significant presence in the state are:

Microsoft, Abbott Laboratories, IBM, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Hartford Financial Services, International Paper, McKesson, Northrop Grumman, Time Warner, and Wells Fargo. There are others with a presence here but I just went through the list fairly quickly.

NASA To Work With Four Local Companies - November 21

Business Journal reports that NASA has or will be signing contracts with NVE, T3 Scientific, SVT, and SIFT.


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