TL:DR—We're holding a community-wide visioning session for the Greater Des Moines startup community on July 14. Anyone and everyone is invited and we'd appreciate an RSVP. The goal is to outline a plan for the envisioned future of our community that is public and something everyone can participate in.

Just over a year ago, StartupCity Des Moines announced they were suspending operations and held a series of town hall-style meetings with the goal of helping to determine what was needed next in our community (read the write up here). 

Taking that exercise a step-further, we're holding a community-wide visioning session on July 14 with the goal of outlining a plan for what the Greater Des Moines Startup Community (including the suburbs, Ames, Indianola, etc.) should look like in 2025 and what it will take to get there. This session is open to anyone and everyone who wants to participate. Startup founders, small business entrepreneurs, business coaches and assistance programs, service providers, internal innovators and anyone else who raises their hand—you're all invited to join in.

We all have a desire to see our startup community thrive but, as a community, we've never been united in our view of what it takes to get there or how that should happen. Our hope is that this plan—with everyone's input and publicly available to anyone—will help us move in that direction. 

Keying off Brad Feld's advice in the book Startup Communities, this plan started with the entrepreneurs as the heart of the community. Our facilitator interviewed eight local startup founders to get their thoughts on what our community needs and plan for the future session on July 14.

Joe Benesh,  a Senior Architect at Shive-Hattery and the past-President of the Des Moines Downtown Chamber, is serving as our facilitator. He has his own consulting firm, The Ingenuity Company, where he’s led strategic planning and design thinking processes for several organizations. He's a forward thinker who cares a lot about the future of the Des Moines community and, as someone not directly involved in the startup community, he's able to facilitate without any preconceived notions or bias.

Planning session founders:

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