Casey Shultz Jul 14, 2020 10:32:00 AM 7 min read

How to Plan a Twin Cities Startup Week Session in 5 Easy Steps

Twin Cities Startup Week is made up of over 200 sessions and events that could not happen without hosts just like yourself.

This year we’re making some big changes by taking the week virtual on the platform Hopin and spreading it out over three weeks to avoid virtual event fatigue. All sessions hosted on Hopin will be recorded and hosted on the TCSW Youtube channel for distribution and sharing.

While hosting a session during the “week” may seem like a daunting task, we are here to break it down for you and show that this might just be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.


Step 1: Identify your goal

What do you hope to accomplish with your session? Are you an experienced founder who would like to help other founders avoid the common pitfalls you suffered when starting your first company? Are you excited about the thought of bringing different communities together to work on a common problem? Would you like to position yourself as a subject matter expert on machine learning? Identifying what would make your session successful for you helps you identify your target audience and type of session.
Side note: it’s totally cool if your goal is some type of business development, but if you submit an obvious sales pitch it’s not going to make it on the calendar. The best sessions inspire and add value to their attendees.

Step 2: Evaluate your resources

2020 is unique in that TCSW is going virtual first. This means that you can put together a panel of experts from all over the world, just keep in mind the timezones people may be presenting from. Also, consider your personal resources. Do you have a quiet location with high-speed Internet access where you can create a space to lead a session? Do you have a team that can help you pull together content, create presentation materials, or help coordinate a panel of speakers? Don’t forget to promote your session on social media and via email.

Step 3: Determine the type of session

What kind of session could you put on? Common sessions include diverse panels, fireside chats, presentations, networking, happy hours, demos, and workshops. With the new “Virtual First” strategy, there’s an opportunity to get creative and rethink how sessions have traditionally been presented.


Step 4: Submit your session to Twin Cities Startup Week by Friday, July 24, 2020.

There are twenty questions on the Submission Form, and over half are short answer responses. Make sure to budget enough time to fill out the application with thoughtful answers. You don’t need to know all the final details, but well-thought-out applications will be prioritized over incomplete or poorly written applications. Below are helpful application acceptance criteria to consider.

✅ Diverse representation
✅ A unique experience
✅ Well-written application
✅ Thought put into the attendee experience
✅ The session is 90, 60, 30, or 10 minutes long
✅ Flexible with the schedule
❌ Overtly sales oriented
❌ Poorly written application
❌ The session is too long
❌ Poor communication with the TCSW team
❌ No thought put into the attendee experience

Step 5: Pull the session together

We’ll notify you by Friday, July 31 if your session is accepted to the TCSW schedule. If it is we’ll send you a follow-up survey to gather the final details of your sessions to be added to the TCSW schedule. A TCSW session coordinator will work with you to teach you the ins and outs of Hopin as well as answer any questions you may have.

Responsibility of the host

As a host, you are responsible for coordinating the content of your session. This includes speakers, panel members, etc. Session participants are required to attend a 20-minute dress rehearsal to learn the virtual conference platform, Hopin, the week before their session. Finally, once your session is approved, make sure to share it on social media! Get people excited about your session. We will be posting more webinars regarding best practices for advertising your session on social media, as well as other session hosting tips, so keep an eye out for them.

We are here to help

We want to make hosting a session as simple as possible. We are happy to provide you with panelists, marketing assets and training on the Hopin platform to help your session run smoothly. Reach out to with any questions.


Quick Links

TCSW 2020 Session Submission Form
MSP Subject Matter Expert Directory
Request to be added to the MSP Subject Matter Expert Directory HERE
TCSW Blog: All the changes going to TCSW 2020
TCSW Session Organizer Information Webinar