Mankato, MN to Host 12 Events in 5 Days during GEW 2021
Photo Credit: Mankato, MN
The local GEW campaign has grown to include 15 organizers and a community that rallies behind them.
26 Aug 2021

Global Entrepreneurship Week USA (GEW USA) is just around the corner (November 8-14, 2021) and plans are coming to life in hundreds of communities across all 50 states. In the weeks leading up to GEW, GEN USA is shining a spotlight on State Coordinators and Community Organizers to find out how entrepreneurs will be empowered and celebrated in their region. 

This week, we spoke with Yvonne Cariveau, Community Organizer for GEW in Mankato, MN. Cariveau is a long-time entrepreneur, the former director for the Minnesota State University Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and is the lead facilitator for Launch Minnesota Southwest 2021. Read our interview to hear how Yvonne and her community are coming together during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021. 

GEN: How is your community coming together to celebrate GEW?

Cariveau: We have fifteen organizations involved in planning GEW 2021 from in and around Mankato. These organizations include Minnesota State University, Greater Mankato Growth, the cities of North Mankato and Waseca, the Better Business Bureau of MN/ND and the South Central Small Business Development Center. We meet weekly to plan events and discuss our campaign.

GEN: What activities are taking place in your community during GEW?

Cariveau: There will be lots happening in Mankato during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The "Big Ideas Challenge Kick-Off" opens applications for a business venture competition sponsored by Minnesota State University in Mankato. It is always a highlight for college students in the area and for many, it is their introduction to the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.

1 Million Cups Mankato will be celebrating its fourth anniversary. The Small Business Development Center will do a Small Business Awards event and several workshops. Mogwai Collaborative, a co-working space, is planning an event for entrepreneurs about getting through tough times.

The Regional Development Commission will host a presentation about revolving loan funds, and Profinium Bank will do a presentation about angel and venture capital investment. The Women's Center and Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship are planning a women's entrepreneurship event, and the Greater Mankato Diversity Council is planning an event to spotlight and celebrate entrepreneurs of color in the area.

GEN: What is new and different for GEW in your community this year? 

Cariveau: Over the last few years we have developed a strong team that trusts each other and this year's collaboration will be easier because of that. We are struggling a bit with in-person vs. hybrid vs. online events. Everyone wants more in-person interactions, but circumstances may not allow that, so it is challenging to plan. We hope to have several hybrid events this year, for the first time.

GEN: What trends, if any, are you noticing in your local startup community? 

Cariveau: We've noticed more collaboration, for sure. Over the last few years, we have built trust that is now bearing fruit as more organizations are willing to work together to host and promote events. Plus, each year, we learn about more new businesses. The community is growing!

GEN: What are your community's goals for GEW 2021? 

Cariveau: To have 12 events in 5 days that serve a wide spectrum of the community with education and illuminating the great stuff going on here.


To get involved with Global Entrepreneurship Week USA, please visit us at

Ellen Erickson

Director for U.S. Ecosystems | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Ellen is the Director for U.S. Ecosystems with the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Her primary responsibilities include supporting the… More