Minneapolis-based EarthClean Corporation was named the grand-prize winner of this year's Minnesota Cup competition, a statewide contest that rewards the newest and most innovative business ideas.
EarthClean, which was recognized at a Monday night awards event at the University of Minnesota's McNamara Alumni Center, received a $20,000 grand-prize. Its team includes Doug Ruth, Mark Stump, Rick Masloski, and Nyle Zikmund.
The company is commercializing an environmentally safe liquid that is exponentially more effective than water, Class-A foams, and toxic retardants at stopping fires. Firefighters can pump the liquid, called TetraKO, through existing hoses to make water better adhere to surfaces. It was designed to assist firefighters and developed over a period of 11 years by a team of scientific, engineering, and firefighting experts to meet the needs of urban, rural, and wildland firefighters.
This year's contest was intense, with more than 1,000 participants vying for the Minnesota Cup. On September 1, the competition named six division winners, including EarthClean-each of whom were then awarded $20,000 in seed capital, with the exception of the student winner, who got $5,000.
EarthClean competed in the clean tech and renewable energy category. The other categories are biosciences, general, high tech, social entrepreneurship, and student.
The Minnesota Cup was founded by Scott Litman and Dan Mallin, who also co-founded Minneapolis-based Magnet360, an agency network of marketing, branding, design, and technology companies that provide integrated marketing solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. Over the past six years, the free contest has helped more than 5,000 entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of launching and growing their own companies.