Happy Startup Day! Startup Day began in 2013, when Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) 
and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) launched the first annual Startup Day Across America as part of a bipartisan, bicameral effort to connect local entrepreneurs with their representatives. The goal was to create a day to celebrate the intellectual and economic impact startups can have across the country.

On Startup Day, Members of Congress are encouraged to meet the entrepreneurs building the futures of their owns states and learn about the challenges they face when starting a new company. Last year, more than 70 members of Congress participated in Startup Day.

From Startup Day website: “We encourage you to visit at least one startup company in your district or state. Your visit will raise awareness of startup activity and job creation and help catalyze support for your local entrepreneurial community. It will also allow you to discuss the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation to the American economy.”

Today is the fourth annual Startup Day Across America, and we have a lot to celebrate here in North Dakota. The 2016 Kauffman Index for Growth Entrepreneurship found that there were 245 new business startups for every 100,000 North Dakota residents in 2015– more business startups per capita than any other state.

Last year, Congressman Kevin Cramer came to the Prairie Den, Fargo’s coworking space, and met with local entrepreneurs on National Startup Day. It was there that he declared North Dakota as “the rectangular stage in the nation’s spotlight.”

Recently this year, Senator Heitkamp came to the Prairie Den as well and sat at the same table to hear from local entrepreneurs. National Startup Day, Heitkamp said, is a great way to celebrate the entrepreneurial energy in North Dakota.

“North Dakota is blessed with a wealth of creative thinkers and motivated entrepreneurs who are quickly shaking up the nation’s ideas about just where innovation comes from in this country,” Heitkamp said. “As we celebrate Startup Day across the nation, I’m excited to showcase the great work that’s being generated not in New York or Silicon Valley – but right here in North Dakota.
Heitkamp also pointed to her recent SEED Act as a way she is bringing support for entrepreneurs to the Senate. The bill would allocate $1.2 million in federal dollars to rural startup communities across the country.
For this National Startup Day, Heitkamp asked the Prairie Den to take over her Instagram account to highlight the startup activity.

“By having Fargo’s own Prairie Den take over my Instagram today, folks across the country will get to glimpse the truly amazing work our state’s startup community is cooking up every day in the heartland,” she said.

Follow @senatorheitkamp to keep up with the action. And be sure to wish your neighbor a Happy National Startup Day!

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Katie Beedy