Laura Beier Jun 15, 2021 11:56:35 AM 6 min read

TCSW 2021 DEI Goals and Commitments

For Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW) this year, we want to make sure everyone in our entrepreneurial ecosystem is represented and celebrated. 

That’s why we’re announcing our DEI goals and initiatives for TCSW 2021 — to make the weeklong festival as inclusive and diverse as possible, and create a way for us to be held accountable to do so.

2021 DEI Goals:

  • Scholarships for BBIPOC speakers: In partnership with SPS Commerce, we are offering scholarships for BBIPOC speakers at TCSW 2021, with a focus on Black and Indigenous speakers. We are excited to make it easier than ever for BBIPOC speakers to take time off work to share their thought leadership at TCSW. 


  • Diverse speaker requirements: Just like last year, events or sessions that include three or more speakers are required to have at least one member that reflects gender/race diversity. Session leaders can find speakers for their events on our MN Diverse Speaker Directory.


  • Striving for attendees to be representative: One of our DEI goals for the next five years for both BETA and TCSW is to have our event attendance be reflective of the Twin Cities population. The Twin Cities metro is approximately 60 percent white, 20 percent Black, 7 percent Asian, 8 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent multiracial — last year at TCSW 2020, we had 75 percent white attendees, 6 percent Black attendees, and under 5 percent multiracial, Asian, or Hispanic. In the coming years, we are aiming to reflect the community through our attendees and make the event as representative of our diverse population as possible. 


  • Diverse Speaker Directory: In tandem with our efforts to diversify sessions and events at TCSW, we created a directory of historically underrepresented thought leaders, in all industries, for hosts to find speakers to provide commentary from all backgrounds. If you want to be included, fill out this form.


  • Sessions in languages other than English: Last year, we hosted a session in Spanish at TCSW 2020. This year, we’re aiming to have even more sessions in other languages, including Somali and Hmong, to represent our diverse immigrant community and make all feel welcome at TCSW 2021. If you are interested in hosting one of these sessions, apply here!


  • Priority access to the TCSW Fly-in program for BBIPOC attendees: The TCSW Fly-In Program brings in participants from all over the U.S. and even the world to come check out what the Twin Cities has to offer. Through programming, networking, activities and more, we showcase why Minnesota is a great place to work, live, and play. This year, we’re prioritizing BBIPOC attendees for this program — stay tuned for what this year’s program will entail. 


  • Community Hub events: TCSW community hubs — one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis — will serve as base camps for the week and feature local art, community sessions, and networking. This year, we’re focused on featuring BBIPOC and women founders at our Minneapolis community hub, with speakers, programming, and art created by and/or for those communities.


  • Consultation from Digital for DEI strategy and partnerships: We’re so excited to be partnering with Eri O’Diah of Digital, who will lead all of our DEI efforts at TCSW 2021 including partnerships, sourcing speakers from all backgrounds, and overall strategy. Learn more about her digital marketing agency here!