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Launch Minnesota: Come Help Us Grow Minnesota’s Startup Ecosystem

6/18/2019 6:30:15 AM

One of the most exciting outcomes of the 2019 Legislative session for DEED was the creation of a new program called Launch Minnesota. Designed to nurture technology startups and entrepreneurs across the state, Launch Minnesota will work with private industry to create financial incentives and programming to demonstrate that Minnesota is committed to fostering an innovation ecosystem that draws global attention.

The program concept grew out of a collaboration between DEED and the Minnesota Legislature – with legislators on both sides of the aisle making meaningful contributions. It is a joint initiative with private businesses and nonprofit organizations statewide.

“Entrepreneurs are the future of Minnesota’s innovation economy,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We need to play an active role in helping make this state a great place to foster new technologies and ideas so that maybe the next Google or Apple could come from Minnesota.”

Launch Minnesota will provide financial incentives, training, and grants to people starting companies in technology sectors such as aerospace, agricultural processing, nanotechnology and medical devices. The program has an annual budget of $2.5 million.

A key goal of Launch Minnesota is to make the risks related to leaving a steady job to start a high technology company a little more manageable for entrepreneurs through:

  • Grants to assist in attracting federal research and development funding
  • Business liquidity grants to help entrepreneurs with capital constraints
  • Child care and housing assistance
  • Training in areas such as understanding equity capital, building toward scalability, and pitching venture capitalists

Launch Minnesota is set up to provide special consideration and social capital connectivity for startups and small businesses in Greater Minnesota as well as businesses started by women, veterans and people of color.

How you can participate

As DEED works to bring Launch Minnesota to fruition, we are going to need your help. The first step for this new program is to put together a team and an advisory board to guide the effort.

“We’re excited to get Launch Minnesota off the ground,” said Commissioner Grove. “Please join us in this effort and help build a team that can make state government a meaningful contributor to Minnesota’s startup ecosystem.”

DEED is looking for an Executive Director to run Launch Minnesota. We are seeking an organized and effective leader, who has the heart of a community builder and the mind of a business leader. Comfortable mentoring entrepreneurs one-on-one or giving talks to large groups, this leader will be a nimble manager, who thrives on purpose-driven work and has a passion for entrepreneurship. This position is an opportunity to create a lasting impact on Minnesota’s startup ecosystem and make state government a collaborative partner in its growth. Ideal candidates will have a track record of successfully growing an organization, working with various types of stakeholders, and executing across multiple priorities.

If you are interested in applying, or know someone who sounds like they would be a great fit, please go to State Program Admin Manager Senior – 33428. Applications are due by Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

As part of Launch Minnesota, DEED is also forming an advisory board of technology leaders from across the state to provide direction and support for the new program. The board will include representatives from the private sector, higher education, and government in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area.

The board will advise on the activities and strategies of Launch Minnesota and make recommendations to DEED on applications from entrepreneurs and small businesses for financial assistance to spur growth in the innovation sector.

We encourage applicants to submit materials by Thursday, August 1, 2019. For more information or to apply, go to Launch Minnesota in the Boards & Commissions section of the Minnesota Secretary of State Office website.

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