Local innovators and members of the Minnesota entrepreneurial community gathered May 15, 2020, for a virtual Walleye Tank: COVID-19 Showcase. The event showcased how Minnesota innovators and community leaders are stepping up to conquer COVID-19 challenges. It was hosted by Mayo Clinic Office of Entrepreneurship and University of Minnesota.
The event is typically held as an in-person pitch competition. But this time, due to the pandemic, the event's organizers decided to pivot to an online format. Fifteen teams presented; five in each of three categories:
There were no winners at this showcase event. Instead, participants cast their lines for support from the local entrepreneurial community. Audience members were invited to donate directly to teams with projects of interest. In addition, teams were invited to kick off crowdfunding campaigns at the event.
"This is all about feeding forward the entrepreneur ecosystem and the innovations space because we know that getting out of COVID is not a short-term solution," said Stephen Ekker, Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Office of Entrepreneurship, in an interview with ABC 6 News. "It's going to take all of us working together but we can innovate out of it and we can make a better future out of this, not just going back to normal but making a new normal that's better."
The next Walleye Tank event is scheduled for December 11, 2020.