Now in its eighth year, the Minnesota Cup
is ready to award $200,000 in prize money to innovative entrepreneurs, inventors, and small business owners.
Designed to award breakthrough business ideas, the competition has six main categories: bioscience and health IT, clean tech and renewable energy, general, high tech, social entrepreneur, and student. Since 2005, more than 6,000 people have participated in the competition, and finalists from the last three rounds have gone on to raise $45 million in capital.
The competition's co-founder, Scott Litman, notes that the program expands every year, which has always been one of its major goals. Also, the number of partners increases--this year, UnitedHealth Group
and Proto Labs
have signed on as partners, bringing more prize money to the competition.
In terms of trends, Litman says he's seen a good deal of energy around high tech ideas in the past few years, and he expects that this year should continue that trend.
The program's judges are expecting a last-minute rush--and that's meant literally. Litman says, "About 10 percent of our entries come in during the last hour of the competition, and some come in during the last couple minutes. It gets pretty intense, actually." Entrants have until May 18th to submit their ideas. The contest ends at 11:59 pm on that day.
That level of excitement is felt during all aspects of the Minnesota Cup, and Litman is looking forward to another lively round of competition. "We love seeing the entries, and watching people talk about the program over social media," he says. "This should be another great year."
Source: Scott Litman, Minnesota Cup
Writer: Elizabeth Millard