Minnesota Cup Commences Ninth Annual Competition

Entrepreneurs seeking exposure and a share of $200,000 in start-up capital have until May 17 to submit their proposals.

The Minnesota Cup is calling aspiring entrepreneurs to action for their chance at $200,000 in prize money as the ninth annual competition begins its search for this year’s most innovative new business idea.
The Minnesota Cup is the largest statewide new venture competition in the country, and has drawn more than 7,000 participants since its inception in 2005. Entrepreneurs have until May 17 to submit their entries for this year’s competition. The contest is free and the submission process is detailed here.
The competition is divided into six divisions: high-tech, life science and health IT, general, clean tech and energy, social entrepreneur, and student. Participants who advance to later rounds of the competition will have the opportunity to present their business ideas to industry leaders, be paired with knowledgeable and experienced mentors, and learn about unique resources for emerging businesses.
The contest serves as an ideal launching point for ambitious Minnesota entrepreneurs.
“Finalists from just the last four years have gone on to raise more than $60 million in capital to support the development of their ideas, create jobs, and broker numerous business partnerships, collaborations, and distribution agreements,” said Scott Litman, co-founder of the Minnesota Cup.
Last year’s high-tech category and grand prize winner, PreciouStatus, has raised more than $1.5 million in capital to progress its health care interface technology, which allows people to stay in touch with their loved ones in daycares, elder care facilities, and hospitals through progress updates, online photo and video albums, and daily calendars.
“The whole competition—the connections I made, the advice I received—was unlike anything else I have experienced in my career,” PreciouStatus CEO Julie Gilbert Newrai said in a statement. “I was paired with an outstanding business mentor who helped me think through all facets of my company, and helped develop a solid pitch presentation for potential investors. And that mentor is now chairwoman of my PreciouStatus board of advisors.”
Judges will select between eight and 10 semi-finalists from each division, who will receive mentorship from an experienced entrepreneur. Those semi-finalists will then submit a 10-page business plan and an investor presentation.

Those who make it to the finalist round will give oral presentations of their plans to a panel of executives, investors, and entrepreneurs, who will name division winners.
Each division winner will receive $25,000, excluding the student division winner, who will receive $10,000, and the social division winner, who will receive $20,000. The six division winners will then compete for a $40,000 grand prize. Runner-ups in each division will receive $5,000.
The six division winners will be honored and the grand-prize winner will be announced at an awards event on September 11 at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. Division winners will present live pitches to attendees at that event, and the audience will vote on its favorite, awarding an additional $1,000 prize.
The winners of the 2013 Minnesota Cup will be profiled in Twin Cities Business magazine later this year. Click here to read about last year's winners.