2 MN Organizations Partner to Open Innovation Center

Co-working firm Coco will open a 16,000-square-foot innovation center at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, which will provide space for tech accelerator Project Skyway.

Tech accelerator Project Skyway has partnered with Coco-a co-working firm that offers alternative office space to freelance professionals, small businesses, and corporate work groups-to open an innovation center in Minneapolis.

The two organizations announced Wednesday that CoCo will take over the 16,000-square-foot trading floor of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and will provide working and meeting space for Project Skyway's twice-yearly classes of software entrepreneurs.

CoCo, which has another location in St. Paul that it opened in January 2010, will also serve independent workers, small businesses, and corporate work groups that are not associated with Project Skyway.

“The Grain Exchange is a historic location that served as the epicenter of trade for our region and helped build great Minnesota companies such as Cargill, Pillsbury, and General Mills,” Cem Erdem, founder of Project Skyway and founder and CEO of educational software company Augusoft, said in a statement. “We are now going to make it the hub for entrepreneurs to come together and exchange ideas and build the next generation of great Minnesota companies. It is time to move from the Grain Exchange to the Brain Exchange.”

Project Skyway started accepting applications in April for the first cycle of its program.

Up to 10 early-stage tech companies will be chosen to participate in the three-month program that starts in August, which will provide each with at least $6,000 in seed funding, mentorship, space, dedicated software development, other resources, and connections to area entrepreneurs, investors, and Fortune 500 executives.

Project Skyway claims to be the first tech accelerator program in Minnesota and the only one that will accept single founders and non-technical teams. Participating companies must have a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or mobile focus, and two full-time software developers will be allocated to each one.