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4th Annual WE* Conference: Customer, Customer, Customer!

  • Carlson School of Management 321 19th Avenue South 3M Auditorium Minneapolis, MN 55455 (map)

You are invited to join hundreds of women entrepreneurs for the 4th annual Women in Entrepreneurship Conference hosted by WE*. This year, it's all about the customer and how to keep them at the heart of your business throughout the value chain. The half day seminar will feature successful entrepreneurs and professionals sharing personal success stories and lessons learned related to product testing, user experience, manufacturing, retail and marketing.

The day will kickoff with DEED Commissioner and entrepreneur Shawntera Hardy, followed by multiple speakers and concluding with a special keynote from ed-tech entrepreneur Cecilia Retelle of Ranku, now part of Wiley.

From TechCruch: Ranku was acquired by Wiley in late 2016 for around $25 million. A strong exit for a startup that had only raised $650,000. The startup scored that seed round in 2014 from Mark Cuban, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Microsoft Accelerator, Archangel and Deborah Quazzo. Ranku’s story is also a testament to the power of pivots. The startup changed directions several times. The company was founded in 2013 by Kim Taylor and Cecilia Retelle Zywicki.

The networking reception following the keynote will feature table-top discussions with different funding sources.



1:00 PM OPENING KEYNOTE: Shawntera Hardy, Commissioner of Department of Employment and Economic Development for the State of Minnesota

1:45 PM and 2:45 PM BREAKOUT SESSIONS (45 mins each, 2X):

Product Testing, User Experience: How do you design and implement product testing? How are you collecting customer feedback on the user experience? Hear from women who love and understand their customer, and have specifically designed feedback loops within their product development and testing to capture what their customer truly loves about their product or service.

Sourcing Partners and Identifying Sales Channels: Now that you know what you’re creating, how do you find manufacturing and sales channels? Do you know where your customer shops? Do their values drive purchasing decisions? Hear from experts who know the ins and outs of retail, have developed new manufacturing processes and partnerships, and know how to place products on retail shelves and online.

Marketing and Digital Strategy: How are you engaging with your customer online and in person to drive sales? Do you need to be on every social platform to be effective? Bring your marketing questions to this panel where experts will tackle the changing landscape of marketing and explore real tactics to ensure that your customer is ultimately driving your marketing and digital strategy decisions.

3:45 PM CLOSING KEYNOTE: Cecilia Retelle – RankuWiley


Financing table top discussions

  • Friends and family
  • Angel
  • VC
  • SBA
  • SBIR
  • Banks


Later Event: April 20
Junk Bonanza vintage market