Photo by Bailey Berg, news editor
On Tuesday evening, students from a myriad of Midwestern universities shuffled into the Midland Building in downtown Des Moines for a startup businesses job crawl aimed at students looking for internships and post-graduation jobs.
Of the 45 students who registered for the Silicon Prairie News job crawl, 27 were Drake students.
Though senior Olivia Young already has an internship she attended the event to meet prospective employers and to get her name out there.
“I mainly signed up to network with local businesses and form potential job contacts, as well as learn about the startups in the area,” Young said. “I think the startup culture in Des Moines is really unique — I’ve seen so many businesses grow here since I first came to Drake three years ago.”
Silicon Prairie News started in Omaha and has since expanded to Des Moines and Kansas City. It champions local start-up businesses by highlighting and supporting new entrepreneurs. In addition to once-a-semester job crawls, Silicon Prairie produces regional meet-ups, and the Big Omaha and Thinc Iowa conferences for young professionals interested in getting involved with startup businesses.
“The idea was started by a bunch of people who were excited about where they lived,” Silicon Prairie News Chief Operating Officer Geoff Wood. “A lot of people were moving to places like California and New York to work for big companies and didn’t realize there were options for them here.”
Wood said he hopes job crawls like this one will not only allow students to stay in the area if they want, but give them the connections they need for post-graduation.
Though Young isn’t sure if she will stay in Des Moines after she graduates in May, she said she will be following up with some of the businesses she talked to.
For senior Katie Weiler this is her second job crawl with Silicon Prairie. After attending the event its inaugural year, Weiler got involved with Dwolla, a website that provides an online payment system and mobile payment network.
Though she is looking for internships and post-graduation jobs, she too cited networking as a primary reason for attending the job crawl.
“I like that it gives me the ability to make more connections,” Weiler said. “These connections are going to help me in the future.”
During the job crawl, Weiler left her business cards with social media consulting group Lava Row, mobile expert company Bit Method and Torsion Mobile, among others.
Weiler said she is mostly “looking to gain more experience.”
For fellow veteran Silicon Prairie job crawler, senior Erika Owen is already well versed in turning her job crawl interactions into a job.
After going to the job crawl last year she started working at Locusic, a company that streams music, much like Pandora, but deals exclusively with local music.
“I do a lot of marketing stuff, like inviting bands to join the site,” Owen said.
Owen said that the job she started after doing the job crawl helped her develop the skills that eventually landed her a job with GQ Magazine.
“In my interview for GQ I talked about having to reach out to bands, which helped with my interviewing skills,” Owen said. “It helped me make connections.”