Minneapolis and St. Paul’s long history of innovation has lead us to today’s thriving entrepreneur community. With so many fresh new ideas flowing through the startup and small business community today, it can be easy to overlook some of the early inventions that came from the area. Below are some well-known products and innovations that were founded in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
Walter H. Deubner patented the shopping bag in 1912, in St. Paul, MN. Deubner ran a grocery store and invented the bag to encourage shoppers to buy more items. The first shopping bags were paper bags with handles. For strength, a cord ran through the bag. Within three years Deubner was selling over a million shopping bags a year.
Minneapolis’ Bruce Johnson invented the Breathe Right Nasal Strips in 1991. Johnson had a deviated septum and created the strips to help him breathe easier.
St. Paul’s Ed Lowe created “Kitty Litter” in 1948. It was one of the first cat litters to be available commercially.
St. Paul’s Richard Drew invented adhesive tape in 1925 while he was employed at 3M. When Drew first started at 3M they were a sandpaper manufacturer. The first tape Drew created had adhesive along the edges, but not in the middle. In 1930, Drew invented the Scotch Brand cellulose tape.
Reyn Guyer of St. Paul invented the Nerf ball in 1969. By 1970, it was being marketed by Parker Brothers as the “world’s first official indoor ball”. In 1967 Guyer invented another fun indoor game, Twister.
Looking for a place to create the next great Minneapolis/St. Paul invention? Schedule a tour of Assemble today.
Vanessa Martinson is the new community manager at Assemble’s Minneapolis coworking space. We’re excited to have her as part of the team! We asked Vanessa a few questions to help you get to know her a little better.
I have always wanted a career that allows me to be social and involved in marketing and events. This position is the best of all three! After seeing the space and meeting the people I knew it was where I wanted to work every day and I have loved it ever since.
I was raised in Minnetonka, MN and now live in Uptown Minneapolis.
I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching Netflix, exploring new places and trying new food (and eating a lot of it).
I have many years of experience in the service industry that allows me to be very accommodating, working in recruiting allowed me to know all kinds of positions and companies as well as gain contacts in the Minneapolis area. I worked at a large event center previously as a marketing assistant as well assisting with all kinds of event planning from concerts and sporting events to expos and wedding receptions.
That’s a tough one! As I mentioned, I love food and am always trying new places. But my “go to” restaurants I get most frequently are probably Lake & Irving and Wakame (I LOVE sushi) both in Uptown.
Last Thursday Assemble Minneapolis member WeCo held an event for their grand opening at Assemble and a public awareness event in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is this month. Here are some photos from the event.
Tired of the stressful drive to work each morning? Is the “L” or light rail too crowded? Biking to work provides many benefits to your physical health, mental health and efficiency. Below are five reasons why biking to work may be your best way to commute.
With the exception of the cost of your actual bike, riding it to work each day is free. You’ll save a surprising amount of money when you don’t need to pay for public transportation or parking every day.
Members of Assemble’s Chicago and Minneapolis shared office spaces enjoy free bike storage as well. And if you don’t own your own bike, our members receive exclusive discounts on Divvy shared bikes.
Being stuck in traffic or crammed in a train car can be stressful first thing in the morning. It might not be the best way to start your day. Riding your bike allows you freedom during your commute. You can ride past car congestion or take an alternate route to avoid construction.
Your bike is a gym on wheels. You’ll burn calories and get your blood flowing before your work day starts. Biking is a great cardiovascular workout. It’s also a great way to start working out if you haven’t done so in a while because it isn’t as taxing on your body as running or other fitness exercises.
Whether you work at one of Assemble’s two Chicago coworking spaces or at our Minneapolis space, you’re in a city that is pretty bike friendly. Minneapolis has consistently ranked at or near the top of lists of the most bike-friendly cities in the world (Star Tribune). Chicago is consistently named in the top ten biking city in the US by Bicycling Magazine (Minneapolis is #1 this year).
Since 2012, you can get up to $20/month in tax-free reimbursements for biking to work. You just need to bike at least three days/week. The reimbursement covers bike repairs, storage costs and other expenses (More info).
The startup and entrepreneur community in Minneapolis/St. Paul is thriving. Thankfully, there are some great groups and organizations available to help startups and small business owners network and stay on top of trends. Below are some popular groups and organizations that are active in the Minneapolis community.
Photo courtesy of Beta.MN
Beta.MN is an excellent resource for Minneapolis/St. Paul startups. They connect entrepreneurs with resources, like future users, investors, employees and advisers. Their focus is on informal events that are quite popular. Between their events they provide support to alumni and members.
Learn more about Beta.MN and their events at www.beta.mn.
Started in 2002, the Minnesota Web Designer Meetup is a popular group for those involved in web and application development. The group includes over 1,000 Minnesota web designers and developers. They hold regular meetups focused on helping web designers stay on top of the latest technology and trends.
Learn more about the Minnesota Web Designer Meetup and view a list of their upcoming events at http://www.meetup.com/mn-web-design/.
WeMN is an organization focused on providing mentorship and educational programming to women entrepreneurs. Founded in 2007, WeMN provides a mentorship program, networking events and educational meetings. They hold regular events, including their “Ignite Your Story” learning summit on October 28, 2016.
Learn more about WeMN, membership and upcoming events at wemn.org.
An informal group intended on bringing together entrepreneurs in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Innovators and Entrepreneurs of MSP hosts monthly meet ups on a variety of topics. Upcoming topics include crowdfunding, real estate and product design.
Learn more about Innovators and Entrepreneurs of MSP and join the group at www.meetup.com/Innovators-and-Entrepreneurs-of-MSP/.
If you’re a Minneapolis entrepreneur, we invite you to take a tour of Assemble’s Minneapolis location to learn more about the resources and benefits we provide.
Assemble is pleased to be a sponsor of MNCAR’s 13th Ever Golf Tournament on June 21, 2016. MNCAR (Minnesota Commercial Association of Real Estate/Realtors) donates a majority of the proceeds from the event to charity.
The popular event attracts 144 Minnesota commercial real estate brokers. It includes a lunch, 18 holes of golf, silent auction, and a dinner/program in the evening.
The event will take place at Legends Club, 8670 Credit River Blvd., Prior Lake, MN. Learn more at www.mncar.org/forms/golf-tournament-sponsorship/.
It can be difficult for those who are running their own small businesses to stay on top of what other companies are doing. While focusing on your own success is important, knowing about achievements and changes at other companies in Minneapolis/St. Paul can be quite helpful. You may find out about new opportunities for your business or allow you to learn from the advancements of others.
Below are some web sites that provide regular updates on happenings in the Minneapolis small business and tech fields.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal web site posts articles on local business news multiple times every day. From larger corporations with a Minneapolis/St. Paul presence to startups, their coverage is diverse and informative. The site also includes some articles that provide helpful tips for professionals, including a recent article entitled “3 keys to influencing people during your presentation”. Their “People on the Move” section highlights local business professionals who have recently taken new jobs.
Visit the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal web site at www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/
TECHdotMN has become the source for tech news and events in Minneapolis. They post new articles daily (sometimes multiple articles per day) that focus on the achievements of local Minneapolis/St. Paul tech companies. You can browse their news articles by category and subscribe to an email digest so you receive their news articles daily by email.
TECHdotMN also features an extensive job board for the Minneapolis/St. Paul tech industry, as well as information on upcoming tech events and a database of local tech companies.
Visit the TECHdotMN web site at Tech.mn (Note: Assemble is a sponsor of TECHdotMN).
Twin Cities Business is a magazine focused on local Minneapolis/St. Paul companies. Their comprehensive web site includes daily news articles, lists of local businesses in a variety of categories, information about local events, and much more.
Twin Cities Business is an active monthly print magazine. Information on subscribing to the print edition can be found on their web site as well.
Visit the Twin Cities Business web site at tcbmag.com.
Are you a local Minneapolis/St. Paul small business? Schedule a tour of Assemble today to find out how our short-term private offices and coworking space can help your business succeed.
Here are some photos of Assemble’s new Minneapolis coworking space. The space retains the aesthetic of our popular Chicago locations, with floor-to-ceiling windows and barn wood accents throughout.
For many of us, coffee is the fuel that keeps us productive. At Assemble, we provide members of all our locations with complimentary coffee from a high quality local roaster. We’re pleased to announce that Driven Coffee will be providing members of our new Minneapolis coworking space with their caffeine fix.
Driven Coffee is comprised of a small team of artisans from the Midwest. They came together in Minneapolis thanks to a common passion for coffee. They focus on responsibly-sourcing and craft-roasting their coffee it to ensure the best taste possible.
Driven roasts their coffee on a vintage German Gothot Roaster. It is manually controlled during all stages of the roasting process. This manual process allows them to better control the consistence and nuances of their beans.
Aside from their exceptional coffee, Driven is also focused on helping those in need. A portion of all sales are donated to various organizations in Minneapolis and throughout the world.
Learn more about Driven Coffee at their web site, www.drivencoffee.com.
Photo by Euan Kerr/MPR News.
Assemble’s new Minneapolis coworking space and shared office is located in the 15 Building at 15 S 5th Street. The building has become well known recently thanks to the completion of a Bob Dylan mural on it. The mural was completed late last summer. Below are five facts about the mural, which takes up the entire wall facing the corner of 5th and Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.
The mural’s official name is “The Times They Are A-Changin”, a reference to the famous Dylan song.
Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra painted the mural with his team. Kobra’s murals are known for their eye-catching kaleidoscopic designs that overlay images. The Bob Dylan mural is no exception. The mural includes three different Bob Dylan images from various points of his career.
Work began on the mural on August 26 of last year. It was completed in two weeks, on September 11. Kobra and his team, which included two Minnesota artists, worked 12 hours days to complete the project.
The mural is 160 feet wide and five stories tall. When they started painting, Kobra and his team were surprised to find that they had an extra 280 square feet of space to cover. They seemed to manage just fine.
The 15 Building was built in 1916. The new owners, R2 and AIMS Real Estate, want to help revitalize the building and the neighborhood. The mural is part of a renovation project that includes interior renovations to the building.
Here’s a time-lapse video of the mural being painted: