Madeline Koch, 651-259-7236
ST. PAUL – Minnesota entrepreneurs and inventors are encouraged to submit their innovative business ideas for the Minnesota Cup contest beginning today. Participants in the 10th annual event will be competing for $300,000 in prize money in seven divisions.
Preceptis Medical Inc., a Plymouth-based med-tech startup that is developing surgical tools to reduce pain and surgical time during ear-tube procedures, was last year’s grand prize winner, collecting $65,000 in prize money.
This 2014 Minnesota Cup features a new category – food, agriculture and beverage – joining the contest’s six other divisions: energy/clean tech/water, general, high tech, life science/health IT, social entrepreneur and student.
The contest, considered the largest statewide new-venture competition in the country, has attracted more than 8,000 participants from Minnesota since it was launched in 2005.
“Minnesotans have a long tradition of developing innovative ideas and turning them into business opportunities,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). “The Minnesota Cup celebrates that tradition and is a catalyst for business development and job growth in the state.”
Each division winner in this year’s contest will be awarded $30,000, with the exception of the student division ($20,000) and social entrepreneur division ($20,000). A grand prize winner chosen from the seven division winners will collect an additional $50,000, and the runners-up in each division will each receive $5,000. In addition, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is providing $25,000 in seed funding to the top entry from that region of the state.
“When we started the Minnesota Cup 10 years ago, our hope was to have the competition be the first step in launching a business in Minnesota,” said Scott Litman, co-founder, Minnesota Cup. “To date, the Minnesota Cup has helped thousands of entrepreneurs build better business plans and work towards achieving business success. We are always continuing our work to grow the Minnesota Cup and further establish it as a permanent feature of our state’s business landscape.”
The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 9. Submissions must contain a description of the product or service, explanation of the market size or opportunity, sales and marketing overview, brief operating plan, and high level financial projections and assumptions.
Judging criteria and other details about the contest are available on the Minnesota Cup website at www.breakthroughideas.org .
The contest will conclude at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 10, when division winners will present to a review board and the grand prize winner will be announced.
Along with DEED, sponsors of the Minnesota Cup include Wells Fargo & Co., the University of Minnesota, Carlson, General Mills, UnitedHealth Group, Digital River and other supporters.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at http://mn.gov/deed/. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/mndeed.
Upon request, this information can be made available in alternate formats for people with disabilities by contacting the DEED Communications Office at 651-259-7161.