Our annual new venture competition – free to participate – boasts several benefits and resources including seed money (awarding $1.6 million since 2005), business planning support, mentorship, exposure, feedback from investors, access to exclusive events and professional connections. Past participants continuously say that this program furthers your idea and connects you with talented people who want to help you succeed.


All entrants:

  • An opportunity to learn about resources available to entrepreneurs.
  • Network with MN Cup partners, investors and other entrepreneurs.
  • A chance to improve the entrepreneur’s pitch and business plan.

All semifinalists:

  • An invitation to attend a semifinalist reception at the Carlson School of Management, where they can meet other semifinalists, members of the review board, and MN Cup partners.
  • The opportunity to be paired with a mentor with extensive entrepreneurial experience.
  • Enjoy a free one-month PRO membership to Cafe Inc's new proworking environment in Edina, MN.  

All finalists:

  • Featured in December issue supplement of Twin Cities Business.
  • Division Finalist Training - "Winning Investment Presentations" by Spoken Impact.
  • Detailed feedback of their final written entry and oral presentation.
  • Opportunity to present their plan to prominent business leaders and investors.

Division Runners-Up:

  • $5,000 in seed capital.

Division Winners:

  • $30,000 in seed capital.

MN Cup Grand Prize Winner:

  • Additional $50,000 in seed capital.
  • The MN Cup, presented by David and Carolyn Cleveland.
  • Business services from Maslon LLP.
  • An invitation to present to Gopher Angels
  • Media Package from Media Minefield

Dedicated Prizes:

  • Carlson Family Foundation will award $25,000 for the top woman-led business
  • Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation will provide $25,000 in seed funding to the top entry from that region of the state
  • Meda will award $10,000 to the minority entrepreneur with the most innovative business concept
  • Securian Financial Group will award $10,000 for an innovation that shapes the future of financial services or life insurance through technology
  • Capella will award $10,000 to the most innovative education technology that promotes learning solutions or builds 21st century skills
  • AARP will award a $5,000 prize for an innovation that improves the lives of seniors

Division Specific Prizes: Click here.