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Accelerator Programs

Businesses in Minnesota have access to several long-standing not-for-profit and other organizations that use a network of experienced investors and business developers to help emerging companies successfully commercialize their innovation. Programs provides training, professional connections, annual competitions for financial prizes and a supportive environment.

MN Energy Alley was developed to increase Minnesota’s market competitiveness at a time of unprecedented global investment in emerging energy and clean technologies. This initiative is a public-private collaboration providing multiple programs and services to energy entrepreneurs and startups to support their growth with the potential for Minnesota partnership and global impact. MN Energy Alley is a partnership of CEEM, Grid Catalyst and the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Grid Catalyst works with energy innovators and startups to help them on the path to commercialization. Grid Catalyst was founded in 2021 by partners with decades of experience in clean energy development, integrating renewables and innovation into utility and energy systems, launching and supporting energy businesses across the sector.

The Minnesota Cup is coordinated by the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. The program supports emerging entrepreneurs from across the state through events, educational programming, and an annual new venture competition that provides tools, resources and support to launch and accelerate the development of your new venture. The Minnesota Cup is the largest statewide venture competition in the country.

Cleantech Open Midwest hosts the regional operations within the national Cleantech Open. The Midwest organization covers 13 states and is aligned with the national organization to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that have led to businesses in the seven fields: Energy Generation; Distribution & Storage; Energy Efficiency; Chemicals & Advanced Materials; Information & Communications Technologies; Green Building; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Waste. The Midwest program has worked with over 90 start-up companies that have gone on to raise over $20 million in external capital. Cleantech Open Midwest headquarters is located at the University of St. Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship in St Paul.

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