MN Cup, the largest statewide startup competition in the United States, began accepting applications for its 2016 competition on Monday.
 
The event enters its twelfth year with nearly $400,000 in prize money, which will be awarded to the many participants in a pool of entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and small business owners. Last year, there were nearly 1,300 entrants in MN Cup.
 
Those who participate in MN Cup are given the opportunity to gain exposure, learn about business resources, be paired with MN Cup mentors, and receive seed money to accelerate the development of their business. Past participants have gone on to successfully launch businesses, raise more than $200 million in capital and create jobs in Minnesota.
 
The 2016 competition divisions include: Energy/Clean Tech/Water, Food/Agriculture/Beverage, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Social Entrepreneurship, Student (undergrad and graduate students), as well as one new category aimed at teenagers
 
“In partnership with Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, we are ecstatic to introduce a Youth division for students 18 years old or younger to give them a chance to compete in a space they haven’t had access to before,” MN Cup executive director Melissa Kjolsing said. “We’ve been so impressed by innovative business ideas coming from our college-aged student division—we can’t wait to see the ideas that result from the next generation.”
 
The winner of each division will receive a cash prize of $30,000 with runner-ups taking home $5,000 a piece. The Youth division, however, will award $20,000—half for the first place winner and the rest split between the second and third place winners and semifinalists.
 
MN Cup’s 2016 grand prize winner will receive an additional $50,000 in seed capital.
 
Last year’s winner Astropad took home total winnings of more than $80,000 for its app that turns Apple iPad and iPhone devices into a graphic tablet.
 
For more information, visit MN Cup’s website.
 
Note: Twin Cities Business partners with MN Cup to provide media coverage. You can see all of our past coverage here.

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